It has taken me a week to contemplate how we begin to talk about what happened in a family home in Perth last week. Three little girls murdered by their own dad. Their mum hours later when she returned home from work and their Grandma the next day when she come over to visit. But then the family lay there for a whole week. Nobody filed a missing person report. Nobody popped over. The police may never fully understand what happened in that week. Personally, I don’t want to know any more details then I already do. The ache and horror is too much to bear and my heart hurts for those Police that walked into a massacre, and those who have to unravel the truth.
Rick and I have had the incredible privilege to speak into the space about opening your home to vulnerable children. A little bit of a running joke with the Executive Manager of our fostering agency about who can get the most media time 🙂
But a few weeks ago when Eternity News wrote a piece on foster care I was a little struck that the headline again was about a Christian family showing ‘incredibly love’ to foster kids. For those who know the Incredible love of Christ, shouldn’t showing that incredible love be normal? My reason for accepting opportunities to speak on behalf of foster carers and those in need has always been to highlight the need for the church to open their eyes to the mess that is around them and Step In.
The mess doesn’t mean run a program. It doesn’t mean build your volunteer base or leadership team. It doesn’t mean make the music better or the Sermon more exciting.
It means knowing your neighbours. Eating meals with those a little different to you. Listening to their stories. Encouraging and Challenging those you know to be the best versions of themselves, the versions God knows they can be. It means being disappointed when people stop showing up. It means saying hello to people when the walk into your doors. It is inconvenient and not 9-5. And while there are some Churches that understand what this means, and many Godly people out there showing ‘incredible love’, overall, we AREN’T getting it right and it is time to change the story.
Let us be outraged that another baby came into care yesterday – left at a hospital with no suitable caregiver because his mum has become overwhelmed by the world of drugs. The Meth epidemic in this state is ruining lives – whole families and a generation of kids are growing up in unsafe families. While we need to rescue these little ones, we also need to address the problem of why people turn to drugs and figure out how the Church can become their first option.
Let us be outraged that government bodies are allowing children to be ‘swapped’ from house to house, from secure attachment to strangers, without accountability.
Let us be outraged that grandparents are being beaten into poverty while they take care of their grandchildren without support from others.
Let us be outraged that three little girls died at the hands of the one who is meant to keep them safe,
Let us get down on our knees and pray for reform of our foster care system, our judicial system and let’s stop letting our government be the first place people look to for welfare support.
When I have the opportunity again to speak out, I will be wiser to ask that the headline and the story be not about what ‘my’ family is doing but about the actions that each family can take. It is the small, everyday connection that can make the biggest impact.
Mother Theresa said it best,
Let’s change the story.
The story of how we show love.
The story of what Church is really about.
And let’s be a part of changing the story for hurting families in our community.