Friday, June 18, 2010

What's It Worth?

"Sunday, Monday, Happy Days; Tuesday, Wednesday, Happy days; Thursday, Friday, Happy days; Saturday! What a day! Rockin' all week with you!" Do you know the song? Do you remember? Was it a favorite? It was of mine. As a kid, I looked forward to watching the 1970's hit series "Happy Days" every evening at 5:00 p.m.

It was an all American family living in a nice neighborhood with Marion, the Mom, Howard, the Dad, and Joanie and Richie, their two teen age kids. They had problems, like anyone, but always seemed to have them worked out and wrapped up by the end of the show. For the most part, they seemed to enjoy lot's of 'Happy Days' together when life was much simpler than what it is today. The mom and dad were together, the kids were not being cursed out and beaten, and everyone appeared to not only love each other, but really like each other, too. The parents, Marion & Howard, told their kids when they were proud of them. They had heart warming chats and were not afraid to hug.

How many of us can say that was true or is true of our own families today? Unfortunate as it is, it is not the norm today. Not in 2010, nor other decades like the 80's or 90's. It certainly was not true of mine and others I know. Home was not a happy place to say the least; nor did we share many happy days together. Like many children, my parents divorced when I was 13. There was much turmoil in our home up to that point and even after. I wanted it to be different, but didn't have much say or control. As cliche as it sounds, I now marvel at families that stay, play and pray together. What an amazing feat!

Yet, I struggle with the verse in Psalm 139:16, "..your eyes saw my unformed body. All the days were ordained for me were written in your book before one of them came to be." One of the definitions of the word ordained in Webster's dictionary is "to order or command". Would God ordain, order, or command people to be born into a family that is not intact or falls apart somewhere on the road of life? In light of what Job once said, "Shall we accept good from God and not trouble?" (Job 2:10), how does I or anyone reconcile this with the goodness of God and His love? I don't know. I don't understand it. It frustrates me to no end.

So what do I do then? What does anyone do who has been through tough times? Is there a purpose in suffering? What can I do? What can you do? We can change the future for ourselves and hopefully someone else, too.

Recently, my church hosted an orientation for people interested in becoming foster parents. In my hometown, more than half of the children in foster care are not living in a home like setting. These are children who can't stay with their parents simply because it's not safe or they are unable to care for them.

When my father was unable to care for me any longer, I had a Christian family that stepped in and said, "You can stay with us as long as you need to." That was over 20 years ago. Today, we are family. I am so appreciative of them and to God that they were willing and able to care for me. If it were not for God's grace in my life and their sacrifice, I do not know where I would be today. I have a truly blessed life.

Now, my hope is to inspire others to reach out, and care for children in dire situations. My dream is that more children will have a place of safety and refuge to go; a loving family that will care for them; that people will serve as Jesus' hands and feet and put their faith into action.

I can not change my past, but I can speak on behalf of the children who need a voice. I can inspire. I can share my story. And just maybe there will be more kids who get to experience some bright, new, 'happy days'.

In that case, I would have to say, it was well worth it.

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