Who did you encourage today?

A few weeks ago I posted Speak Life by Toby Mac as a Monday Inspiration, but I’ve been thinking that I want to do more than just drop off the video and lyrics and carry on my way.

It’s such an amazing and important message that I want to challenge you to really listen to it and think about how you can incorporate it into your life ~TODAY~.
Yes, it’s performed by a Christian artist, but the principle is universal.

I promise I’m going somewhere – just humor me  and let your heart and mind marinate in this for a minute

Some days, life feels perfect. Other days it just ain’t workin’…
…we can turn a heart with the words we say…
…hope can live or die…
…look into the eyes of the brokenhearted; 
watch them come alive as you speak hope, you speak love
… it’s crazy to imagine words from our lips as the arms of compassion… 
…hope can live or die…
…lift your head a little higher…
…use your words to inspire…
…hope will fall like rain when you speak life with the words you say….
I know what you’re thinking: “Okay Jamie, that’s a great song, and you’re so wise that we know that you have a point here somewhere…. But… what is it?”
I’m so glad you asked! Here’s where we’re going…

What have YOU done today to encourage and support your fellow foster parents? That’s right, foster parents, I’m looking at YOU! 

I’ve posted before about the importance of building your foster parent sisterhood (or brotherhood, because there are foster dads who are JUST as involved), and I probably will again. But today I’m talking to those who can say, “I have a wonderful support system in place – my family is local and wonderful (or my church family is amazing, or my neighbors all look out for me, or whatever), and I don’t need to reach out to other foster parents.” 

That’s wonderful! (I really do mean that – I know it always seems that I’m being sarcastic (and I usually am, just not this time), but I sincerely think it’s great that you already have a strong support system). I wasn’t so lucky, and I’ve heard from many, many foster parents who just don’t have a family/friend network available for the support that is so critical to our sanity.

Your existing support system is all the more reason that you should be reaching out to support and encourage other foster parents who maybe don’t have family local or haven’t been able to just lean on their church family or neighbors or co-workers.

To be blunt (which I know is totally unexpected from me):

Get thee to thou local foster parent support meetings!!

Because YOU, of all people, know best how much foster parents need that (sometimes daily) support and encouragement, right?
YOU, of all people, know how much more a pat on the back means when it comes from someone beside you in “the trenches”.
YOU, of all people, know how much more comforting it is when they shoulder you’re crying on has been there – and isn’t judging or spouting meaningless platitudes.
And when a foster parent desperately needs to escape for a half hour and vent about a behavior or a case manager or the brokenness of the system; YOU, of all people, know that it’s just venting and we wouldn’t trade what we do for the world.
And I’m not talking about a grand, sweeping gesture. I realize you need a babysitter just as bad at the next foster parent. I’m talking about a phone call, or a facebook message, or even a text. Just a little reminder to someone who needs to know that they are not alone.
So… what’s the best way to connect with and know which foster parents need your support today? By attending your local support meetings. Facebook groups are great – I’m in a few. But some days nothing can replace a real-life face-to-face hug.
If your area doesn’t have a local support, see what needs to happen to get one started. Because we NEED each other. No one knows better than us how hard ~and how very necessary~ it is to do what we do.
By the same token, if you run or co-run or lead or facilitate or take coffee orders for YOUR local group – please give us any tips you have for getting the whole thing off the ground.

TobyMac – Speak Life (Official Lyric Video) from tobymac on GodTube.

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