Fostering a Transformation – To Boldly Love

Lyn Dyck, Executive Director

It’s time to BOLDLY love others as Christ loved us.

Dear God,

Do a miracle in me. When I walk into a room let me NOT think about me at all. God, I want to look at each person completely selflessly and just think about how I can bring the most life to that person right now, looking for nothing in return. Help me to love as you loved me. Amen.

It’s time … to BOLDLY love others as Christ loved us.

For the past few months The Recorder has been taking us on a journey of transformation. The old stained cover has been slowly tearing and burning away to reveal significant markers along this journey. This journey is that of a disciple of Jesus Christ.

To KNOW God and make him known

To PRAY diligently tapping in to the power of God

To INTIMATELY worship God openly.

Now To BOLDLY love others as Christ loved us.

These are all areas of transformation in our lives, as we decrease so that He may increase (John 3:30).

Love, as defined in our world has become cheap, temporary fluffy mush. The word love is thrown around with abandon and seemly with expectation. We live in a consumer world that loves only if it receives it in return. But when we look to God’s Word for what we are to understand love to be, we receive a much different picture.

John 13:34 “A new command I give you: Love one another.

As I have loved you, so you must love one another.”

Think about that. Jesus went to the cross for us, died for our sins and rose again in victory over sin and death; sacrificial love. “As I have loved you, so you must love one another.”

That’s difficult. Many of us will find some individuals easier to love than others who are not so easy to love. Think about those who have hurt us, those with whom we don’t “connect”, or those who don’t like us. Jesus tells us – Love your enemies.

Jesus says it again in John 15:12-13

“My command is this: Love each other as I have loved you.

Greater love has no one than this: to lay down one’s life for one’s friends.

You are my friends if you do what I command.”

Then Matthew records Jesus answering in this way Matthew 22:36-40:

“Teacher, which is the greatest commandment in the Law?”

Jesus replied: “‘Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul

and with all your mind.’ This is the first and greatest commandment. And the second is like it: ‘Love your neighbor as yourself.’ All the Law and the Prophets hang on these two commandments.”

My wife Jennifer and I became foster parents about 9 and a half years ago. We felt God calling us to share God’s love to kids who didn’t have a safe, stable loving home. We initially started by providing respite to families who needed a break. This morphed into us taking children into our home, living with us on a full-time basis. It has been a wonderfully rewarding, rich experience, filled at the same time with immense pain, disappointment and sadness.

We have had a number of children become part of our family. We love them like our own. When they leave our home, we mourn the loss.

On numerous occasions we have had the opportunity share of our family ministry. Countless people have said “I could never do that, it would be too painful!” We have struggled with knowing how to respond. We believe we all have the capacity to love. We have learned that if we fear the loss, we will never see the reward of having loved. This has been a transformational work of God in my life.

A few years ago this was put to the test. We had been fostering a sibling group of 3. We raised the youngest since he was 5 days old. It was beautiful to watch Jennifer spend sleepless nights caring for him, bonding with him, feeding, cuddling and caring for him as any mom would. About 18 months into our care of these kids, we were given a bombshell. The kids were being pulled from our care and would be returned home. We had six hours to pack them up. Jennifer called me at my office trying to choke out the words for me to come home. The kids were pulled out of school and through the tears and hugs we packed up their life. Our foster daughters hugged each other and sobbed. Our little foster daughter Carrie* was losing her family.

We lost three children that day. As a family, went into a time of mourning. We struggled with emotions of sadness, anger and of loss. For weeks I would come home look into Jennifer’s eyes and see the pain of a mother who was mourning the loss of her children. I looked into the eyes of my daughters and our little Carrie and saw the pain. I felt myself wanting to protect my family. This was NOT going to happen again!

One evening I was having a discussion with my eldest. I shared with her that I ached when I saw the hurt this was causing her mom and the family. I said “I think we’re done. I don’t want to see this hurt anymore.” I was making up my mind that Carrie, whom we had also raised from a baby, would be the only one. My daughter was quiet for a while then said “that would be a bit selfish, right Dad?” Who raised that kid?!

Later that year, while at the Forever Families Belong Summit, God knew I needed to hear a certain speaker. We were still struggling with being willing to open ourselves to love and have another child enter our family. We were struggling with wanting to see kids reunited with their biological families, and yet still trying to reconcile the hurt.

The speaker shared that she and her husband were unable to have children of their own. So they fostered little babies, loved them and cared for them as their own. There was no other way of doing it. She too felt the pain of loss every time a little one left her home. But in her mourning, she felt God doing a work in her. A part of her heart left with each little one. But God was there to stitch her heart together again, like a patchwork quilt, filled with beautiful memories, giving her the capacity to love again.

With that, my guilt began to subside. I felt that it was ok to love, it was ok to hurt, it was ok to be sad. It was a reminder of the love we share with others is just a small sample of Jesus’ love for us. His sacrificial love for us.

This heart transformation is a work only God can complete. This is an act of submitting our hearts to God. We are called to love, to BOLDLY love as Christ loved us. Expect nothing in return.

Who are you challenged to love? Can you be an individual, a church – can we be a conference who will be a known for loving God and for loving others as Christ loved us? Then let’s go … Here I am send me! Isaiah 6:8

Dear God,

Do a miracle in me. When I walk into a room let me NOT think about me at all. God, I want to look at each person completely selflessly and just think about how I can bring the most life to that person right now, looking for nothing in return. Help me to love as you loved me. Amen.

It’s time … to BOLDLY LOVE OTHERS as Christ loved us.

*name has been changed for sake of privacy

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