Even as I type the word, I realize some parents will cringe when they read it. But this post is not really about spanking. So, I guess it is kind of purposely misleading to pique interest in this post. 🙂
Many years ago, there was an uproar in the country because social agencies were taking children away from Christian homes or daycares because of accusations of abuse (some of the accusations were of sexual abuse). I even had a friend who was a victim of such an investigation and it took a toll on their marriage and lives. Since then, though, some of the children involved in those cases have actually come forward to testify that no abuse ever occurred. That is gut-wrenching and hard to understand. I believe that many of those cases were fueled by the enemy to destroy trust in government agencies to the degree that many Christians wanted nothing to do with DSS/CPS.
The subject of discipline in the home has been discussed for years by counselors, pastors, and authors, but in my observation is more controversial in Christian circles today than in the past. As I have thought through our personal parenting, I am well aware of my own shortcomings in this area. Especially with our first born. We often disciplined too harshly and too quickly, and sometimes in frustration and anger rather than in grace and love. It was too often about control rather than heart change. While I have not changed my opinion on “spanking” as a biblical disciplinary action that loving parents can take and still be considered grace-based parents, I have softened it. And yes, my opinion on many things has softened through the years, and I’m so thankful for God’s grace in teaching me and also His patience with me as I learned.
So, while I do not wish to debate the subject of spanking (I wrote a blog post about this subject a while back in my parenting series: http://www.sodakotagal.blogspot.com/2013/05/parental-guidance-part-one.html), I do want to encourage Christian parents to not be hesitant to be part of the foster system – even the state run kind. Yes, spanking is prohibited by the state when one becomes a foster parent. Brent and I did have to think and pray through this reality, and we concluded that spanking, or not spanking, would not keep us from involving ourselves in this social service to children in need of homes/families. Admittedly, when that precious two year old came into our home, there were times we thought that a swat on the bottom would be the very best thing we could do for him. Because we had committed to not using this form of loving discipline, we found other ways to discipline that worked ok.
I am sure that all states are not the same when it comes to child protection agencies. We live in a state that, for the most part, values the foster parents and attempts to work with them. We have had great social workers who have been appreciative of us and attentive to us. I hope, though, that we would continue to foster even if this wasn’t the case! I believe taking care of children without parents is our biblical responsibility … and so the “hardships” that may accompany the journey are just part of it. I trust that God is using the hard times and circumstances to mold us into His likeness and to provide an environment for kids of broken families that would impact their lives and ultimately the lives of those in our very broken city.
This afternoon, we will welcome another native fella into our home. He is older … just turned 13. He comes to us with a sad story, as they all do. We were told he could be with us a day or two or maybe months. So …. here we go …. again.
Trusting God for His daily guidance and grace.
Believing God has a purpose for this adventure in our lives.
We know that the foster system in the US is far from perfect, as are many of the government run agencies. But I also believe that should not deter us from doing what God has called us to do. Oh, and may I add … without grumbling and complaining. Ouch! That makes it even harder!
So, with that being the goal, I am so aware that I must depend on Him. There are risks. But I can truly say today … the reward far outweigh them!
He has told you, O man, what is good, and what the Lord really wants from you:
He wants you to promote justice, to be faithful, and to live obediently before your God.