Our purpose in life seems to be a question everyone at some time in their life must ask. While it’s a great question, I think the answer people are looking for is not right. Or perhaps we are looking at the question wrong. Melissa and I sure were 3 years ago.
One Wednesday night when our church still met at the chicken farms, Melissa texted me to come to the preschool area of our facility. This was the first time she told me about Hailey. Oh, how to describe Hailey? She has an infectious smile, and a carefree attitude that surpasses reason. She’s also been through a lot more than I could ever image. Hailey had just entered into the foster system and was staying with Melissa and Steven Beam. But I remember my Melissa, in her own way, basically telling me we would be adopting Hailey.
It took me a little longer to get used to the idea of adoption, but I finally understood what we needed to do. We signed up to start taking the classes to become foster parents in February of 2016. We finished those classes in April of that year and went home to start the paperwork. If you’ve never done anything with the government then let me explain… When I say paperwork, I mean about 100-150 pages asking everything possible about our lives. We took the time to finish all the paperwork by the end of April and then we waited.
And then Hailey went back home to her mom.
“Was this not our purpose?” This was our first response, then we thought maybe God was telling us He wanted us to foster anyone needing a home, not a specific child. So we waited some more.
When we got tired of waiting, we called the local DFCS office and asked about the status of our paperwork.
“You lost our paperwork?”
“Well, we didn’t lose the paperwork. We just can’t find it.”
“I think that’s the definition of lost.”
Finally, DFCS found our paperwork (after we started redoing it) and we scheduled a home visit where a state representative comes out to inspect our house and approve it as sufficient to take care of a child. Our home checked out and we are ready to get some kids!
Had to get physical, a background check, drug screen, etc.
And then we waited.
We are into October or November at this point. After 10 or 11 months, we were no closer to fulfilling our purpose than we had been when we met Hailey. We were discouraged. We honestly wondered if they thought we weren’t good enough to take care of someone else’s kids. And then we started questioning if we were good parents at all. Was this God’s way of telling us we couldn’t handle more than the two boys we already have?
Looking back, I can see we were defining our purpose wrong. The definition of purpose is the reason for which something is done or created or for which something exists. Simply put purpose is a means to an end. I don’t know about you but I usually don’t like being a means to an end, I want to be the end.
Then in January 2017, we got a phone call. DFCS was calling and saying that Hailey was coming back into the foster system and her file was noted we were interested in fostering her! Oh and can we take her little brother too?
Everything started to move quickly. We finished the process and by 6:00 PM, we welcomed Hailey and Eli into our home.
Two years later we adopted them.
God was using this time to show us He had better plans. If we had been approved when we wanted to, we would have missed out. We would have been given another placement in our home and would have missed out when Hailey and Eli needed help. God was saying, “Get up and be ready for what I want you to do. But don’t draw your meaning from the end result.”
In 1 Samuel 14, Jonathan and his armor bearer saw a problem. The Philistines had set up camp threatening the Israelites. So they got up and started walking. Jonathan said, “Let’s go across to the outpost of those pagans. Perhaps the LORD will help us, for nothing can hinder the LORD” (1 Sam 14:6). They didn’t focus on what the Lord would do in the end; they saw a need and trusted God would provide.
What we need to do is to get up. God has given us a purpose. He wants us to move toward that and keep moving. Our purpose, our true meaning, is to keep moving and keep trusting in Him.