Last year, my husband and I participated in a Brush Party date night, in which we shared a canvas and collectively set out to create a “Desert Sunset” with our Young Marrieds’ class at church. Staring at the blank canvas, I knew we would be facing some challenges trying to work collaboratively and having to share paintbrushes. My husband and I have strong personalities…and we can be competitive.

The first step was to cover the canvas with a bright blue background,”the easy part.”Guess who was allowed to do this part? Next we began to build our desert landscape with mountains that at first seemed too small, then they became too high, but it was too late. We were stuck with our towers. *Sigh* We began adding details, a shrub, a cactus, a sun (who knew you could disagree on the shape and color of the sun?). Finally, we wanted to add a cross on one of the mountains. My husband did this part, starting small, but while wanting to give more detail, in one stroke he made the cross thin and disproportionate. Of course, being the designer he is, he had to make sure all sides were even, but at this point the wet paint wouldn’t cooperate and our cross, well, it was rugged. So quickly, he mixed some black and blue  paint and made a streak across our mountainous background. Adding more he began covering up our bright sky with dark blues, creating this mixture of rolling clouds. The additional paint created a stormy scene. Gone were our happy shrubs and sun. With each new stroke the dry-painted cross in the background faded in color but still stood in our painting as a symbol of a presence that couldn’t be covered up.

Do you find yourself in this ministry in a place where you are trying to work together with someone towards the same goal and it becomes frustrating? Do you look at the situations that arise and feel you are suddenly amidst a storm? Are you faced with looking at the scene in front of you and wondering what happened to the sun and shining promise of what God had planned for you as foster parents?

Take heart! God is still present, His cross still stands, and He is on the throne! (Hebrews 12:2) It is His power and strength that will carry us on (Philippians 4:13), and as Christians we are called to surrender to the strength that God provides, not our own. His strength is made perfect in our weakness (2 Corinthians 12:9-10), even when it is dark, cloudy and hard to see His purpose. Every child we come in contact with is a blank canvas to pour color into.  We are to rejoice in the sunny yellow moments, AND praise Him in the black and blue storms. I pray you would be encouraged to know God has called you to this ministry and will see you through each colorful moment. When you are feeling the clouds roll in, step back and look to the cross for direction. It is often in our daily obedience that God reveals His good and perfect will for us.

Exodus 15:2 The LORD is my strength and my song, and he has become my salvation; this is my God, and I will praise him, my father’s God, and I will exalt him.