Friday, May 11, 2007

A Dream Come True

There is a coloured thread that runs through each of our lives. The colour is distinctively ours alone – it is the theme that characterizes our life purpose.
Though we may go through much of our life unaware of the thread, God does give us glimpses of it occasionally as it weaves in and through our lives. Often the glimpse comes as a desire, as a dream we dare to dream but not realistically hope that it come to pass.

I got an e-mail today from a dear friend.
Betty got the first glimpse of the colour of her thread when she was four years old.
One night she had a dream. She dreamed that there was a knock on the front door of her home and when she opened the door…there was a baby on the doorstep.
She knew from that moment on that she was going to take care of babies.

She grew up, married and had three boys of her own. As her youngest son neared his second birthday, she realized her last baby was growing up and her God-given desire to nurture babies again rose up in her heart. She and her husband decided that they would become foster parents.
And they did.
Over the years she took care of over 50 babies/children, most of them born with fetal alcohol syndrome. Some of her babies she cared for as long as five years.
My friend, Betty, was a rare kind of foster mom. Each baby that was placed in her arms claimed her heart as securely as one born to her. She loved them and gave them the best care. She often had 3-5 babies at a time, but it was with grace and a supernatural calm that she kept everything in order. Whenever you saw her… either in her home or out of it… the children looked like they were on their way to a photo shoot. Betty herself always looked like she stepped out a fashion magazine. I was in awe of her. Her joyful attitude of service ruled over a spotless home and well behaved children.

One thing was without question. She was true to her ‘thread’ of purpose.
Each child was prayed over and taught to pray. Her desire for each one was that when they were taken from her care that they would go with a deposit of God-consciousness in their hearts that would keep them under the shelter of God’s love.

When you step foot into Betty’s home one of the first things that catches your eye is a shelf built specifically for the purpose of displaying framed pictures of all her children. She knows every one of them by name and still prays for them.

Betty’s years of being a foster mom were far from easy. Working with the child-welfare authorities was often an exercise in frustration…the more so because the ones who suffered were the little ones who had no defence. Betty was their advocate but often her hands were tied.
Over the years I walked the path with her, sharing her joys, her tears, her frustrations, her justified anger and stood as a prayer partner to hold her needs up to God.
Often Betty would wonder if she was making a lasting difference in her childrens’ lives.
I remember one particularly discouraging time… and we prayed that God would give Betty some hope, some indication that her efforts were not in vain.
At the time she had a little blonde, blue-eyed, three year old boy that Betty and her husband wanted to adopt. But it was not to be.
The little boy was only16% native but he was made the test case in the court battle that decided that native children could not be placed for adoption in white homes – never mind that he did not look native, and that he was over 80% white.
I don’t have to describe to you the pain and agony Betty suffered over having to let this child go so he could be adopted into a native home.
She did not know how much, if anything, this child had absorbed of her gentle teaching about Jesus. He spoke very little.
One day she was sitting on some bleachers with this little boy, watching her sons play baseball. She was feeling despondent and worrying about what would become of this beloved child sitting beside her. Suddenly, without any fanfare he did something he had never done before. He stood up and began to sing Jesus loves Me.
Betty had her sign from God.

Betty had a dream. She wanted to take care of black babies… always hoping that the next baby placed in her arms would be a little black girl.
We prayed…we asked…but it never happened.
She had another dream… go to Africa! I remember times we would talk about it , but it always seemed a very unrealistic dream. There was just too much that stood in the way – not the least of which was the financial cost.
I remember praying asking God for a miracle so that Betty could have her dream come true. She had given so selflessly of herself for sooo many years… was having this dream come true so much to ask?

A few years ago I began to see a restlessness, a discontent that I had never seen in Betty before. She began to call me talking about how the mounting frustrations with the ministry had taken away her joy in being a foster mom.
I sensed that perhaps God was saying her years as a foster mom were completed. But understandably, Betty was reluctant to acknowledge that – it was what she had done for so many years – and it had been her joyful fulfillment. She tried switching to older children, but it just wasn’t the same anymore.
Finally, she and her husband made the decision. They were resigning their contract with the ministry.
Their sons were marrying and grandchildren were on the horizon. Timing was perfect.
God led Betty in other directions and she is content.
She is now able to devote herself more fully to her family than she would have ever been able to do if she was still a foster mom. The babies she holds in her arms now, no one will ever take away. They are her own grandchildren.

I got an e-mail from her today.
Her life-long dream of going to Africa is going to happen!!
Years ago, God gave her the glimpse and ignited the dream…. Then filed it under future!
The timing couldn’t be more perfect!!
She is going for three weeks this fall, with her best friend and an outreach team from her church.
She will be spending 7-10 days in an orphanage!! She can hold black babies to her heart’s content!! (If she comes home with one hidden in her suitcase, I won't be surprised!)
She will also experience the excitement of a safari and relaxing time on the beach.

I had forgotten her dream, it has been years since we even talked about it… and I’m sure she had tucked it away as well….but God had not forgotten!!
This is her well deserved reward! I am sooo thrilled for her.

How wonderfully God is involved in our lives…orchestrating all things to work together for our good! And delighting to give us above and beyond our wildest dreams.

I share Betty's story with you as a well deserved tribute to her but also as an encouragement to you.
If you have a dream that has deep roots in your heart, one you have ‘forgotten’ because it seemed impossible that it could ever come true – take heart and know that God does not forget and His timing is perfect.
Keep faith, watch and wait! If the dream was a glimpse of God’s ‘thread’ of purpose in your life….it will come to pass!


Lovella said...

Julie, what a blessing to know a woman that has that capacity to love children. I can just imagine that you gleaned such wisdom from her.
What a beautiful tribute to her and I wish her immense joy with her fullfilled dream of Africa.

Cherie said...

Hey Aunt Julie,

How exciting for Betty - this really is a dream come true for her - if I was her I would for sure try to come home with a little "someone".

I will see you this afternoon!!!

Carolanne said...

What an amazing story!

My good friends A & G have also fostered over 50 kids into their home and still have 2 they call their own even though they weren't able to adopt them.

Your post was a great encouragement to us all. Thank you.