The text was short and to the point.
“Call me…Safe Family.”
I stepped out of my afternoon meeting to the rapid-fire voice of my wife regurgitating the sketchy details of an emergency situation. Two year old boy. Homeless shelter. Mom starting a 60 day prison sentence. Tomorrow. Can we help?
This is our third placement from Safe Families, a beautiful movement of compassion for children in crisis. And as much as I’d like to paint you a heroic picture of confidence, self-assurance, and flawless motivation, I thought I’d let you inside the veil to see the myriad of real and not-so-holy thoughts that ran through my head during that 3-minute conversation.
I don’t like toddlers, not even my own.
Let’s say no. We can always say no. Let’s tell them to find someone else.
How can we say no? To a boy whose mom is going to prison?
What about my date with Mandy planned for Friday?
During the Holidays? I don’t want to mess up Thanksgiving.
Did I just think that? I don’t want to share the things I’m thankful for with a needy child?
Wait, what if it lasts through Christmas? Thanksgiving and Christmas? That’s too much.
My daughters get way too attached to these kids. There’s gonna be tears. Not again.
My son freaks when an outside child takes his place in the birth order.
What if his mom can’t take him back? What if she’s not allowed to take him back?
What if he doesn’t sleep? We don’t function well without sleep. We need to sleep!
These temporary placements don’t really do any long-term good, do they?
Do we have the financial resources to hold this together?
Were we really called to this? Are you sure it wasn’t just a momentary guilt trip? Bad pizza?
Why is following Jesus so inconvenient.
I guess my point is this: Whenever someone steps up and does something compassionate – an act of service, an expression of God’s Kingdom – the underlying assumption is that they’ve reached some higher plane. Gained control of their motivations. That they’re somehow more together. More holy.
For me, I’ve found quite the opposite to be true.
Honestly, we’re a mess. Terrified. Confused. Angry. Wrestling with selfishness. Battling self-righteousness. Not sure if we’ve done the right thing. Not sure how this will affect our family. Not sure where it all will end. Not sure we want to mess up our lives.
We’re screwed up people.
Good thing confident, put-together perfection isn’t what God is waiting for.
If you’re interested in getting involved in the Safe Families movement, you can find more information a their website, Safe-Families.org. If you’d like to start the volunteer process, you can fill out this short online form and someone will get back with you shortly.