Thursday, March 13, 2008

The One Who Waits

It was one of the hardest aspects of the job. It had to be done, so I did it but I hated it. Every Wed. morning I would get to the office early, go in and grab a car seat, and head out to pick up a little 2 1/2 year old. He was always excited to see me. I would pick him up and transport him back to the office for a visit with his mom.

You see, I spent several years working in foster care. It's a high stress job with little pay. But most people do it because they believe that some of the most vulnerable in our society need protecting.

Supervising parent-child visits came with the territory. Hence, the early morning trek to pick up this little guy. On good days, we would arrive back at the office and I would watch him and his mom interact for two hours (awkward but necessary) and provide helpful direction (typically ill received) when needed.

But the bad days came more often than the good days. We would arrive back at the office and settle in the waiting room to wait for mom. More often than not, she didn't show. After 30 -40 minutes, I would help him back into his coat and return him -- sobbing -- back to the sitter. It always broke my heart. How could she not come? She only got 2 hours a week with her son.

The foster parents actually had to reroute to avoid driving by the office. As sure as he would see the building his hope of seeing his mom would rise and then plummet when they didn't stop. He would begin to wail.

I confronted the mom (and the many others like her) on missing the visits. She was flippant. He was little. What did he know? And then came the excuses: missed the bus, got up late, forgot, just couldn't make it and couldn't bother to call. With permission, I finally instituted a policy for her and other parents that routinely missed visits. If the visit was at 8:45 AM, she had to be there before I left to pick him up. It meant she spent half an hour waiting, but it spared that little boy the sheer disappointment he felt when she didn't appear.

I've been thinking a lot about those foster care days. When ever I have a recurring thought, I think it is God's way of reminding me of something. In this case, I am reminded of how eagerly God awaits our time with Him. He doesn't miss. There aren't any no shows on His end.

And when I miss, I think He has all the disappointment (maybe even more) of that little guy.

And I am convicted that though I know the importance of regular time with my heavenly Father, I take it too lightly. There is an errand to run or someone to call. I wake up late and have to rush to get out the door. I always promise -- tonight I'll make time. But then the evening comes . . . . It's so easy to over look it in the business of life.

Here is to a renewed commitment of daily time with Him. He's always waiting for me and you.


Lelia Chealey said...

Oh this is what my heart needed to hear today and I can relate with the foster care missed visits because I've been on the other end doing respite care.
So glad you're joining the blog Bible study!! I look forward to your input.

Joyful said...

This is great Amy. I get up every morning at 6am with my husband as he heads off to work and start my day in God's Word. On holidays, when I don't want to set the alarm and wake my husband, I ask the Lord to wake me - and He always does - often at 5am - so we spend an extra long time together. Thanks for the visual you painted in words of God waiting to spend time with us.
Have a great day,

Ann said...

Great post. How heartbreaking for the little boy...and makes me want to be more faithful in my time with God!

Anonymous said...

What a great comparison. We do a devotion with our kids almost every night and we missed it tonight. I'm going to have my son read this post. Thank you.