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Stepping Forward in Fear of the Lord

Stepping Forward in Fear of the Lord

The fear of the Lord is the beginning of knowledge; fools despise wisdom and instruction.

Proverbs 1:7

As you pray through and consider your decision to care for children, many things might cause fear to rise in your heart. I remember being afraid our daughter wouldn’t like my cooking, get along with our other daughter, dislike her room, or dislike us. The list goes on. As it turns out, several of those worries did become true, but they weren’t nearly as hard to handle as my early fears led me to believe. Yet, there was one fear that I didn’t consider, which turned out to be the most transformative—fear of the Lord.

What is the Fear of the Lord?

Now, it may sound odd to say that stepping into the life of a child hurt by family and dealing with trauma caused me to fear God. But it’s true, and it’s the very place that God intended to guide me all along. To fear God isn’t to tremble in terror or walk on eggshells out of worry that you’ll be struck down by fire from heaven. To fear God in the way today’s scripture refers to is more about reverence and honor. 

Who Am I Doing This For?

If there’s one thing that I asked myself over and over again during our journey, it’s this: “Am I doing this unto myself and my comforts or unto God and His glory?” The answer to that question brought a lot of clarity in those moments when giving up, feeling down, or getting frustrated felt like reasonable options. Learning to lean into God in reverent obedience even when everything in me felt like doing the opposite is one of the hardest and best things I walked through as a mom to kids from hard places. To fear the Lord was key.

In this journey, there will be plenty of opportunities to seek “wisdom and instruction.” It’s hard to imagine yourself being a “fool or despising” it. As with many things in life, the line between seeking and rejecting/despising can be incredibly thin if we don’t stop and actively seek to fear the Lord in our decision-making. If the child acts out sexually, will you keep your promise to be their family forever? If the child steals from you, will you send them back to foster care or walk with them toward healing? Those are some tough situations and even tougher decisions. 

What will you do when facing a difficult moment and making an even more difficult decision? In our human wisdom, decisions are often not necessarily wrong. Whether it is right or wrong from a human perspective isn’t always the right question. The correct question is whether it is Godly wisdom from His perspective. Learning to tell the difference between the two is a matter of prayer and seeking His wisdom and instruction daily.

Foster Parents Who Gave in to Fear

Years ago, I remember talking to a friend who was an adoption case manager for a local agency. She called me to vent because she had eight families send their children back into the system that week. I’ll never forget her words through tears as she said, “Pam, these families are all Christian families. They all told these children they would love them forever and that Jesus loves them no matter what. Then, one day, they decided it was too much and sent them away forever. What does this teach these kids about Jesus and His love?” 

That one conversation struck a cord in me that I’ve never forgotten. It has made me so grateful to the Holy Spirit that He led me to ask, “For whom am I doing this?”

Praying in Fear of the Lord as You Foster and Adopt

Here are a few prayer starters to help you seek God in a deeper way:

  • Lord, I invite your wisdom and understanding into my life. Please help me to choose the way that honors you and brings glory to your name. 
  • Reveal in me any hidden fears or concerns that could tempt me to quit or act in a way that would dishonor you. 
  • Father, I want to care for children to help them heal, not to hurt them further. Help me see Your way forward. If You lead me to care for them, give me eyes to see them the way You see them. 

As you step forward in fear with your decision to care for children, I invite you to walk in a holy reverence for God and His love for these children. Ask yourself the hard questions and recognize your role in their life as His representative. 

©2024 Pam Parish. Used with Permission.

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