Self Care vs. Kid Care: Not One or the Other but Both!
Those of us walking in the foreign and often misunderstood space of loving At Risk Kids usually have a high level of passion and compassion. We feel called to connect and encourage, and empathy is almost second nature. We innately sense that hurting kids need Jesus and that we are to be His hands and feet to the most vulnerable. So we give and we give and we pour into those little souls who needs us.
Maybe it’s an informal relationship like spiritually adopting your child’s best friend who is from a hard place. Maybe it's a slightly less formal form of fostering through kinship care where you take care of your own because it’s the right thing to do. Maybe you are a foster parent or an adoptive parent and caring for babies of all ages just resonates deeply with you. However you walked into it, you have given it all you have...and pouring out your cup daily, hourly, moment by moment for the benefit of the least of these leaves you poor...in spirit...in health and in heart.
But Why? It seems like if we are giving and gifting and growing others, that this should be fulfilling. And it is...but it’s also draining…and frustrating. Sometimes it is hard and heart breaking. And that is OK...it really is - because God sees the sacrifice and the sacred gift you are giving over and over again. He is right there with you, and He is saying “Well done Good and Faithful Servant!”
We at Ignite Hope echo that truth - because you are serving well and faithfully...but to continue this heart ministry, you have to give consideration to your own heart. Evaluating the condition of your heart is a great way to reconnect with how you are doing personally in every area - spiritually, emotionally, physically. You are a Soul housed in a Body and if your soul is feeling depleted you are probably feeling drained in those other areas too - body and mind. This isn’t preaching to the choir, so much as it’s preaching to my own self. I need this reminder - more often in some seasons than others. OK - honestly, there are times when I need it every hour. But as I learn and remember my own worth, I’m really better able to help the kids in my care find theirs!
So take a moment right now, to sit with God. Yes there are children who need you. Yes the dishes won’t wash themselves. Yes - the Littles need to have homework checked, snacks made, and sibling rivalries mediated - but right now be in the moment and invite Jesus into this moment too. Consider one concrete step you can take for your own personal self care and ask God to bless it. He is the giver of good gifts and sometimes these gifts look like a newborn cry, and sometimes it looks like ear plugs when that newborn won’t stop crying...and that’s all OK.
It’s all part of the natural rhythm of give and get. If you are pouring out, take a moment to figure out what can refill your cup. And be intentional about doing that small step for yourself today. Make a goal to do that for yourself every day for 21 days because research shows that’s how long it takes to build or break a habit. It may be listening to worship music , going on a walk, stopping to just play with the kids. For me it was honestly remembering to take my vitamins and eat breakfast -both basic needs that I could forget to do for myself until high noon, despite the fact that I’d administered countless vitamins, supplements and meds to the masses and cooked a couple of meals to boot! However it looks for you - remember - it isn’t indulgent...it is important. Because YOU are important too. You’re important to the kids you care for and to the God who loves each of you more than you can imagine.
3 John 1:2 "Beloved, I pray that all may go well with you and that you may be in good health, as it goes well with your soul."
Matthew 25:23 "His master replied, 'Well done, good and faithful servant! You have been faithful with a few things; I will put you in charge of many things. Come and share your master's happiness!'