Am I Qualified For This?
Am I Qualified For This?
A. Rockhold 2021
Our car was haphazardly parked at the back of the lot. My boyfriend and I were in the front seats, staring blindly ahead. Tears streamed down my face, and his jaw clenched tightly. It was our first big fight. Questions of our relationship’s viability swirled around us.
Yet, beneath the conflict at hand, a question about my own viability arose within me: Was I truly wife material? I’d wrestled with this insecurity for years. I feared that deep within me there were two issues that disqualified me for marriage: I wanted to live in East Africa (that sent most potential suitors running quite quickly!), and I had no desire to bear children.
This boyfriend was the first one to leap over the initial hurdle with ease. He was open to international living and felt called to ministry. But I hadn’t shared the second hurdle with him. I feared his reaction. I feared my inability to explain why I felt this way. I feared judgment.
The internal pressure to self-disclose had built to a point that I could no longer contain it. My words came tumbling out: “I don’t want to have kids. I might want to foster and adopt, but I don’t want to have my own biological children. And I don’t want to take that option away from you if that’s something you want.”
He turned his head quickly towards me, the unexpected shift in the conversation taking him by surprise. My normally loquacious boyfriend was stunned into silence. After a few steadying breaths, he said he needed some time to think about it.
Eventually, he concluded that he wanted to share his faith with the next generation, and it didn’t matter to him whether or not those children shared his DNA. I felt foolish for wasting so much time worrying: He leaped over the last hurdle with ease.
Fast forward 5 years. That boyfriend is now my husband. We’ve discussed fostering and adopting a few more times. Those conversations have the same tone as when we’re planning dream vacations that we never take. So it’s been pretty easy to postpone the commitment thus far.
Then I get an internship with Ignite Hope. Every statistic that I learn about the foster care system heightens my interest in this ministry. The needs of these children become real to me. Their plight is much harder to ignore as my awareness grows.
One of my jobs with Ignite Hope is to write a year-long devotional to pray for at-risk kids. As I’m writing, I’m praying. As I’m praying, my heart is softening. And within my softening heart, God plants the desire to be a mother.
The longing to care for a child takes me by surprise. I’ve heard many friends describe this feeling, but I never understood it before now. All of the excuses and the fears fade away as the desire grows.
As my yoga teacher reminds me, “Where attention goes, energy flows.” Focusing on the needs of foster children energizes me to take on this calling. The inherent challenges and struggles of fostering used to be so overwhelming. (Perhaps, because I was so focused on them!) Now they shrink to their proper size, allowing room in my heart and mind to consider the joys and blessings of this ministry.
I am a married woman who felt unqualified to be a wife. I am a childless woman who is signing up for a foster certification program. Most importantly, I am a servant of the Great I Am. It is His energy that empowers and moves me. It is His presence that casts out fears. It is His love that compels me.
I am “confident of all this because of (my) great trust in God through Christ. It is not that (I am) qualified to do anything on (my) own. (My) qualification comes from God” (2 Corinthians 3:4-5 NLT).