When my husband and I first started hosting, the thought of having other people’s kids in our everyday, 24-hour life seemed strange. How would this look with our family dynamic and how would our kids transition to having extra kiddos stay with us?

After years of hosting kids in our house, I can say that God takes care of answering all the questions and uncertainties. And it is amazing how fast they become part of the family!

It is crazy to me how fast I start to love these kids. Not only do I love them, I have developed a special place in my heart for mothers who need this help due to some sort of life crisis. They have to let go of their kids for a short period of time to a complete stranger. As a mom, that breaks my heart.

I am SO incredibly thankful for a program like Together for Good that promotes keeping families together and that keeps children out of foster care. As I have been reflecting on this experience, God has placed on my heart a sensitivity towards these beautiful mothers who just need some extra love and support.

Here is what God has been teaching me and leading me to respond to the mothers in these situations.

1. Stay Humble

We can get in the trap of judging other moms or thinking we have a better approach to parenting, but we need to be very prayerful about when or if we should be speaking our opinions to moms in a time of crisis. There may be a time for encouragement or truth to be spoken, but for the most part, we as moms are all trying our best to parent our children. I once heard it said,

“Until someone invites us into a relationship with them, the only opinion we should have is that they are worthy of Jesus dying on the cross for them.”

Unless these moms share their lives with us and invite us into a relationship with them, we should keep our opinions to ourselves and simply pray. It is hard for any of us to accept criticism on our parenting. So why would someone who we barely know welcome our thoughts? We are here to love and serve, not judge and criticize.

“Do not judge, or you too will be judged. For in the same way you judge others, you will be judged, and with the measure you use, it will be measured to you. “Why do you look at the speck of sawdust in your brother’s eye and pay no attention to the plank in your own eye? How can you say to your brother, ‘Let me take the speck out of your eye,’ when all the time there is a plank in your own eye? You hypocrite, first take the plank out of your own eye, and then you will see clearly to remove the speck from your brother’s eye.” Matthew 7:1-7

2. Pray for understanding

Every mom has a different need and different story. Go before the Lord to ask what your purpose might be in her life. For some, it might simply be just connecting with the kiddos and for others they might need your friendship. I find that exciting! Who doesn’t need a support person in their life?

You might be the person that walks them through a crisis and that shows them what Jesus looks like in real life. I believe love is an action. We can show love by caring for kids, taking them into your house, doing life with them, and doing it with no reward or payment. What a beautiful thing!

You may have opinions of how she should be living or choices she makes that you don’t agree with, but choose to try to understand her and her life story instead of letting your thoughts become louder. I have learned that I cannot expect someone who is not a Christian to think or act like I do. When we aren’t drawing from the same source for wisdom, our lives will look different. I cannot expect someone who grew up differently than I do to think or act like I do.

Seek to understand her and meet her where she is, not wait for her to get where you think she should be. You will only miss out on doing what Jesus would have done by loving her just as she is.

Always stay mindful that this is God’s child and because He loves her, we are called to as well.

-Courtney Eastlund, Isanti County Coordinator

Watch for Part 2 next week …

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