I don’t know about other mamas, but it is very difficult for me to accept help from people. Especially help that doesn’t want anything in return. It’s not how I was raised. I was raised to be independent. To not need anything from anyone. To take responsibility. That accepting help is weak and lazy. Then I became a mom. And I realized quickly that I cannot physically do everything on my own at all times. I just can’t. As much as it pains me to say it.

And for Christians, it is completely the opposite of how we should live.

We were made to live in community with each other. To bear each others’ burdens. Sometimes that means bringing a widow groceries. Sometimes that means taking a mama’s kids before she completely loses all sanity. But it definitely means that we need each other.

Not everyone was meant to become a foster parent. I realize this. It doesn’t mean foster parents are super spiritual or closer to Jesus, it just means different parts of the body were created to do different things. We can’t all be hands, we would get nothing done except high fives all day. Which, as awesome as that sounds, would be completely useless. But it doesn’t mean that you can’t use your own unique gifts to participate in foster care & be Jesus to foster parents. How can we help, you ask? Here are just a few ways:

1. Tell them you’re bringing their crew food. Maybe it’s just me because my love language is food, but this will bring tears to a foster mama’s eyes. Any mama, really. But especially the foster ones. Some days a foster mom has no time to feed her tribe because she is overwhelmed with grief, holding a grieving child, 5 minutes from running away from it all. You might not be at a place where you can welcome these children into your home. And that’s ok. But you could feed them for a night. And ordering pizza? That will make you BFFs with those children in a quick minute. And if you live far away and wish you could help your friends that just took on more than they can handle alone? Let me tell you about my dear college roommate who bought us a glorious meal from ANOTHER COUNTRY one time. That was loving us like Jesus. And I wept because I caught a glimpse of Him.

2. Go babysit. Take her children to a park so she can get a shower & feel semi-human again. Or so she can fold laundry that’s been sitting in the basket for a month or five. Or come to her house & watch her kids so she can go grocery shopping by herself. Or come do her laundry or go grocery shopping for her. And when you go watch their kids & they come back to their sink full of dishes all in the dishwasher. They will weep grateful tears. Because she caught a glimpse of Jesus in you. Just know that she is not super mom. Something is going undone or she is wearing herself thin. And she needs to be on her A-game so she can shower these precious children with the love they so desperately need.

3. This may sound obvious, but pray for them. Don’t just tell them you are. Actually do it. Her family is on the front lines with the enemy. It is messy. And ugly. And more brokenness than you can imagine sometimes. They need people to fight for them. Go to battle for them. Some days, they can’t fight anymore. They are weary. They cannot pick up their way-too-heavy armor and swing that giant sword any longer. And they need you to do it for them. They desperately need you to beg for grace for them. To plead for wisdom & discernment & a love that can only come from Jesus. To petition God to redeem the broken. Some days they just can’t anymore. Some days we just can’t anymore.

These are just a few ways that you can partner with foster parents in the crazy chaos that they have thrown themselves into. There are many, many more things I could have mentioned: give the parents a night out alone, go mow the lawn, go clean the toilets – I could go on, but you get the idea. When you do these things, you are loving the least of these. You are being Jesus to them. This is love. Laying down your life for others. Laying down your life can look like ordering pizza for a foster family.

I can tell you we see Jesus when you do this.

And let me just add this. Don’t ask “what can we do?” Sometimes we are too deep that we can’t see what we need. Instead say, “I’m ordering pizza for you.” Or “I brought you some fresh eggs. Straight from the chicken.” Or “here’s the number for my cleaning lady.” Don’t worry about knowing needs. I promise, any way you can think of to serve a foster family, they need it. And they will know you love them, which is what they need the most.