Children are a Gift


Have you ever had a conviction that is hard to put into words? That is how I am feeling as I write this. I need you to see a part of my heart which is always a difficult thing.

We have just finished the season of gift giving in remembrance of the gift of God’s Son. But a lot of the gifts that were given were not appreciated. Children pouted, spouses gave a terse thank you, and Aunt Martha’s sweater was exchanged for an iTunes gift card. The gift was viewed through the eyes of the recipient instead of the eyes of the giver. This concept of receiving gifts was taught to me a little over 20 years ago. I was faced with a surgery that would mean I would never have biological children. I was doing a lot of Bible study and prayer. Using my Strong’s Concordance, I was looking at all the references to children and this verse was used as my “trip to the woodshed”: Psalm 127:3 Behold, children are a gift of the LORD. I had received countless gifts from the Lord: my salvation, godly parents, God’s Word, the spiritual gift of teaching…. Who was I to stamp my foot (envision Shirley Temple with an angry pout) and demand a particular gift: the gift of children? The lessons learned that day? You don’t demand a gift, you don’t question God’s plan, and children are a precious gift.

I believe that the value of children has been lost in our American culture. There are many factors, but let’s look at just one. Pets are often viewed as equal to children. Americans spend over $52 billion annually on their pets. The late night PSA isn’t about hungry children. It is about abused puppies. People talk about their fur babies and four-legged children. They send cards to pet parents (the PC term for owners) for Mother’s and Father’s Day. Pets have medical and dental insurance, wardrobes, organic food, and go to daycare. Adopting a pet requires costly fees, home visits and the signing of a contract. So what is my point? Human life has been devalued. Our compassion, mercy and righteous indignation, our passion and energy to make the world a better place has been misdirected. On September 30, 2014 there were 415,129* children in foster care. Those are 415,129* gifts that were rejected, lost, abused, neglected, and given wounded hearts. But in contrast…

“If one family from every three churches committed to adopt one child and those three churches committed to support that family, there wouldn’t be children waiting to be adopted in foster care.” **

My last point is directed to the one reading this blog. You might be a Cookson Hills supporter or perhaps you stumbled across us on Facebook or YouTube. However you ended up here, I want you to know that children are valued here. We know they are a gift from God. We know God is in the business of providing hope and healing. He is using Cookson Hills to write a better story for these children. He is using the Church to provide support for this endeavor. We couldn’t do it without prayer, donations, and work groups. We couldn’t do it without the support of our friends and families- who support us even when they don’t understand our passion. And while we hope we are a blessing to these children, we are being blessed by them. God has a way of making a gift go both ways. Every gift encounter is a blessing.

*Adoption and Foster Care Analysis and Reporting System (AFCARS) FY 2014 data

**What if the church destroyed the foster care system as we know it?

ABOUT THE AUTHOR — Karen Hodges, Elementary Teacher, is from Fort Smith, Arkansas. Fun fact: she has been in the Oval Office, the press room in the West Wing, and has even given tours of the White House.