By Regan Williams, a Hope for LA leader
Faith lived up to her name.
Faith was a 5-year-old little girl who lived in our home a few years ago. We were foster parents at the time, and she was our first placement. She arrived on our doorstep one night with an emergency social worker. I opened the door to see her standing there with a happy meal in one hand, fear in her eyes, and a forced smile on her face. My heart exploded with tenderness for her. It was the day I fell in love.
For the next six months, we tucked her in every night. We prayed and sang, cried and played. We took her to school, to the dentist, to visits with her mom who was battling addiction. I took her to the police station when she told me about the abuse she had experienced. She tried to tell the officer what happened. But she couldn’t, the shame was so deep.
I washed her hair, I dried her eyes, I loved her. We loved her. She was part of the family.
On Super Bowl Sunday, 2014, Faith was decked out in her Broncos gear just like the rest of us. She had cheered with us during all the games that season, and today was the big day: we were going to kill the Seattle Seahawks. Only, we didn’t. The Broncos endured a punishing loss. After the game, we despondently turned off the TV and turned around to see Faith was crying.
I gathered her strong and heavy little body into my lap. After a few minutes, we discovered this was more than a loss of a game – it was a loss of identity.
“Who do we root for now?” she cried. “Who do we follow?” Both Matt and I knew this was an opportunity to point Faith to Christ.
We went back to the gospel story she had heard many times from us and her wonderful Sunday school teachers at Pacific Crossroads. When Faith asked how she could invite Jesus into her heart, Matthew went to the door of the bedroom, closed it behind him, and knocked.
“Hear Matthew knocking on the door?” I asked. “That’s just like Jesus knocking on the door of your heart right now. Would you like to let him in?” A big smile lit up her blue eyes. “YES!” she exclaimed, and jumped out of my lap and flung open the door. Matt stood in the doorway with a sweet grin on his face. “Hi! I’m Jesus! Can I come live in your heart forever and take care of you?” Faith wrapped her arms around his waist and nodded. And that night, after the game was lost, the kingdom of heaven found a daughter. Faith belonged to Christ.
A month later, Faith was sent to live with her father in another state. She barely knew him. We took her to the airport and assured her God was with her wherever she went. We promised her Jesus was still in her heart even on the airplane. We swore God was going to take care of her. Our lips were moving, but it was the Spirit who spoke though us. We were preaching as much to ourselves as to her. We were doubting.
“Now faith is the assurance of things hoped for, the conviction of things not seen” (Hebrews 11:1).
Faith left us nearly two years ago. I have not talked to her, I do not have her address, and I don’t know how she is doing. Her father prefers us to have no contact. I have to believe God is protecting her. I have to believe God has a wonderful plan for her life. But I don’t know it. I live by faith.
This past Super Bowl, the Broncos were playing again. I woke up Sunday morning and found my son Jonas on the couch, already in his orange and blue. I sat down next to him and held him.
“She’s remembering us today,” I said. “I know it. She will see the game and remember us. She will see the game and remember Jesus. I’m sure.” We both sat together and wept. What brings me the deepest consolation is the lost game two years ago: the day Faith gave her life to Christ. Because of that loss, I can have the precious assurance that she is His. Because of that loss, I have faith.
Regan is passionate about foster kids in Los Angeles. She has been a foster parent to three little girls, and at this time currently serves as a court appointed special advocate (CASA).
You don’t have to be a foster parent to help kids in the foster system. For more ways to be involved, including special events, please contact Regan Williams at firstname.lastname@example.org