One of my college professors spoke these profound words: “Joy is Peace dancing and Peace is Joy at rest”. I think these words resonate with what it means to be a child care worker. Joy can come from the hugs and kisses that children love giving and receiving. It can come from the bedtime requests of ”Will you come pray with me”? With eleven boys in the house, it stays noisy most of the time. There are days when the sound of eleven children, all demanding my immediate and full attention, all at once, is overwhelming. There are also days when hearing my sweet boys playing kindly with one another and sharing their toys simply blesses my soul!
Many people say to me, “It takes a special person to do what you do”. That can’t be further from the truth. It simply takes a story. Some of my coworkers have a wonderful story about Godly parents who raised them to love and serve the Lord. Others of us have painful stories of abuse. As a small child, I was physically abused by my step-dad and later as a teenager, I was sexually abused by a man whom I thought I could trust. Although I have learned to forgive both men, those past hurts have influenced who I have become. They don’t define me; they simply challenge me to teach my children about a loving Heavenly Father who will love them unconditionally and His love does not hurt. It’s not always easy to listen to the stories our children tell us. It’s hard to hear a young boy talk about watching his father hurt his sister, while hiding the pain of what happened to him. It is hard to hide the look of shock as a young girl describes what happened to her on the summer visits with her dad. It’s frightening to awaken a child in the middle of a nightmare because he is reliving past abuse in his dreams.
Another pain child care workers experience comes from the difficulty of letting our children go. Some will return home to a family member, while others join their forever families through adoption. Some children will keep in touch through phone calls or on Facebook. Other children leave our home and we never see or hear from them again. They come into our lives for brief moments, and while they are with us, they become a part of our family. We laugh together. We cry together. We play together. In the brief moments we have, we want our children to not only know Jesus as their personal Savior, but also learn that they can trust Him. In this way, our Peace is turned to Joy and we can be at rest!
“Weeping may last for a night, but joy comes in the morning.” Psalm 30:5