You know me. I like real, raw, and relatable. I feel like I have lived life in a state of “not really plan” for the past few years…so I get it. Rechaud Bell is a family friend, an awesome father and creative blogger. It is my privilege to share a few of this gifted guy’s words with you…
Really, when I’m honest with myself, Papa God never runs His plans by me for approval. So when He arrested my heart in 2013, I should’ve known that fostering was going to be hard, but mostly due to my own brokenness.
My wife runs a non-profit that helps foster children, one evening she told me about a young lady who she knew who came in the office that day. As she shared, I knew this was more than an informational story. Papa God’s love was compelling her to act beyond the scope of her job.
At that time, our kids were all under the age of five. We always thought that once our kids were older, we would adopt or foster. But that wasn’t Papa God’s plan. My wife wanted to know what I thought about the possibility of us bringing her into our family. Without any hesitation, I agreed that we should.
The following Saturday, I met our forever daughter for the first time. With so much tragedy in her young life, it was understandable that she came across quiet, distant and uninterested.
I assumed this 17 year-old wanted freedom, independence and a big brother instead of a father. So I was surprised and uncomfortable when she began calling us Mother and Daddy in the very early days. My wife and I thought maybe it was a cultural way of showing respect.
After a few weeks, we finally got up the nerve to let her know that we weren’t expecting her to call us Mother and Daddy. She wasn’t comfortable with expressing herself, but that Saturday afternoon her body language did all the talking. We could tell by the lowering of her eyes, the drooping of her shoulders and the wringing of her hands, that we had it all wrong.
She wasn’t calling us Mother and Daddy to appease us. She was calling us what she so desperately wanted. Instantly, we told her that we would be glad to be called Mother and Daddy.
My wife in this season provided a wonderful example of what love does. She would pour into our forever daughter love, words of encouragement and life stories. There wasn’t this amazing “ah ha” moment or even an acknowledgement that the words were being heard. To say the least, it was hard but my bride persevered with love.
As for me, I had a list of excuses to justify why I wasn’t connecting with her.
She was raised in a different culture than me.
She had different values than me.
She didn’t have much in common with me.
She wasn’t good at expressing her thoughts and feelings.
She had a hard time asking for help.
Then one day, the Lord used my same reasons to show me why I should’ve been disqualified from receiving His love. (Romans 5:8)
I was raised in a different culture than Papa God.
I had different values than Papa God.
I didn’t have much in common with Papa God.
I wasn’t good at expressing my thoughts and feelings.
I was too prideful and stubborn to ask for help.
The intentions of my heart were exposed and I was broken by my own ugliness. I’m embarrassed to admit that my excuses made me think I was somehow better than her. That she should feel honored that we invited her into our family. I loved to tell people how we opened up our home. If I was honest, I treasured the respect and admiration I received from others more than nurturing the heart of our forever daughter. I was a hypocrite and I was wrong for behaving that way. Nevertheless, Papa God didn’t leave me there. He gave me hope by reminding me of all He’s done for me.
He loved me in spite of those differences.
He sent His Son here on a mission to bring me home.
He now calls me His son.
He wants me to share His love with others.
His kindness led me to repentance (Romans 2:4). He helped me love and accept our forever daughter, like He did me. My heart began to turn. Instead of seeing her as a stranger living in our house, I was able to see her as a beautiful young woman who needs love, purpose, and family just like everyone else, including me. Now I see that His plan was better. And I am honored to call her my daughter, forever.
Rechaud lives in Orlando, FL and is married to his best friend Betsey. Rechaud is self-employed and raising his kids full time. If you would like to learn more about this gifted guy you can check out his blog here.