Pressing Into The Unknown

January 15, 2015

It’s a Monday morning.

Your mug of coffee has long since gone cold but remains cradled in the palms of your hands.

For a year, you’ve been asking God: “Am I really hearing this from you?”

Your eyes are fixed upon the open Bible propped up against your knees.

You seem to have tunnel vision.

All you can see is this verse:

“And whoever welcomes one such child in my name welcomes me.”

If that doesn’t answer your question, what does?

This is where Tara found herself: face-to-face with Matthew 18:5 and a multitude of other verses that speak to welcoming children in His name. For a year, she had silently stirred over Jonah’s Journey, asking God if He really meant to put the ministry on her heart. While the program resonated with her on an emotional level, it simultaneously terrified her. Signing up meant her family would face an intimidating commitment full of unknowns. Every child’s circumstance is different. Caregiver families needed to learn and adapt as they went along. And the likelihood of that changing seemed slim: the ministry catered to each child as an individual, not as a number.

It sounded good… for someone else.

But Tara, self-proclaimed planner and control freak, could hardly stomach the thought of relinquishing her grip on the future. That vast of an unknown wasn’t really her cup of tea.

But after a year of silence, Tara knew she needed to step into the unknown and trust God to guide the journey. After reading verse after verse that reassured her this was His plan for her family, she took a deep breath and gave her control up to Him.

Doors flew open.

Her husband, a police officer, had been working nights for as long as they had been married. Tara knew she couldn’t take on another child without support from her husband in the evenings. The transition to working day shifts normally takes six months, but the approval for his move came in record time. God continued to fast-track Tara and her family right into the heart of Jonah’s Journey – opening doors and bypassing the typical roadblocks with ease.

In no time at all, Katrina*, a beautiful six-month-old girl with deep, soul-searching eyes and fierce intelligence entered their home and changed the course of their lives over the next several years.

“From the very beginning, I’ve felt like this little girl is going to change the world,” Tara says. “I’ve felt it in my core. And part of her story is going to be where she came from.”

People have asked Tara how she deals with the uncertainty of the situation. After all, the goal of Jonah’s Journey is to reunify children with their birth moms. They ask: “How can you get by knowing you may have to give her up for good one day?”

Tara admits that it comes at a price. The unknown continues to be the most difficult part of this journey. It’s an emotional cycle, but she wouldn’t trade it.

family photo

“From the beginning, I prayed God would guard my heart and help Katrina bond with her birth mom.” And that has been the case. Even though it’s difficult for Tara to let Katrina go, she is grateful for the bond between mother and daughter.

The future is uncertain. Tara doesn’t know where Katrina will be in a month, in six months, or in a year. But instead of focusing on what she can’t do, Tara has decided to focus on what she can do. “What we can do is take care of Katrina today. Who knows what the future holds? This journey is about savoring today.”

*name changed to protect identity

Jonah’s Journey is a ministry of Christian caregivers who provide temporary or long-term care for children of mothers who are incarcerated or unable to care for them for any number of reasons. Palmer Home for Children is pleased to partner with this ministry.