Touching Vulnerability With Jesus’ Hands

As always, since taking foster children into the Fat Beggars Home for Widows, Orphans, and Sojourners, I am so limited by matters of confidentiality, that I can hardly say anything.  I must speak only in the vaguest of terms.  But I will say this much, I am speaking from personal experience from more than one incident, and I am talking about toddler children too young to speak.

When a child comes to live at the Fat Beggars Home for Widows, Orphans, and Sojourners, it is our expectation, and our usual result, that the child soon learns to trust us and begin to thrive.  Visitors in this home often remark about the children in just that regard.  This is one of those times when talking about my work involves a bit of bragging – thus I mute my identity.  I don’t seek personal credit for my reputation by telling this, and so I use a pseudonym.  But I want to share an important observation, one I hope you see too.

These children, especially the really young ones, come to this home bewildered.  Older ones come jaded, but young ones face the sudden loss of what they knew of as HOME (which usually was abusive and/or neglectful), and the significant people in their lives (Mom and Mom’s new boyfriend – or whoever), and they get passed off to medical professionals, CPS professionals, and often enough law enforcement professionals – the passing off of which might last a few days, and then the nice agency lady drops this bewildered child off at our house, where we greet them warmly and yet try to give them personal space to explore their new environs.

Sound complicated?

It is.

But these little people quickly need diaper changes, and before bed, there will be bath time.  And I, as a man with a gruff voice and a beard, take these duties on personally – serving a fearful person I just met in the most personal and intimate parts of daily life.

I am NOT this kid’s mom.

But I go where angels fear to tread.

There is a trembling moment there as the water in the tub starts running.  Usually Mrs. Agent X is nearby preparing the other rug rats to join us, and she may pop in and out on this scene too.  The eyes full of fear as the diaper comes off and the water starts to rise.

I speak reassuringly in as soft a voice as I can.  I begin to win the trust.  And it happens.  It really happens.  The child crosses a gulf of fear and seems to lean into my hands for support.

“My hands”.  Did I really just say that?

I must take off my shoes, in this place, because I am on Holy Ground.

They aren’t my hands anymore.  Heaven help me to be worthy of this, but Jesus is at work in my body, in my hands just then.  I dare not take the credit or think I have engineered this.

This child’s whole life is dependent on the Agents X while they are here.  This child will be fed, cleaned, groomed, and learn the routines.  Those are the basics.  This child will be celebrated, we will play, we will laugh, we will cheer this child on as he/she learns new things.

It is precious to behold.  Life in the child comes alive.  Healing begins.  Trust is born.  And it is all so very fragile that first night.  So very intimate.  So vulnerable.

I think something important happens in those moments that even us adults need.  I don’t know how to break it down or what to say about it.  But I think it is worth pondering.  I want to live in a world where faith like that is honored and cared for and celebrated, and where I can share my vulnerability and rest assured that I am loved and celebrated as I learn the routines and as I am fed.

And if that is true for these little ones, and if it could be true for me too, then wouldn’t it be important to transfer some of this thinking to our ministry for the streets?

8 comments

  1. Larry Who · October 18, 2017

    Well writtened. I enjoyed it.

    Liked by 1 person

  2. Agent X · October 18, 2017

    An anonymous comment sent in says:

    Thanks for pointing up the power of tiny transactions between a caretaker and a child. I know that in my early years I had not appreciation for such, found any discussion like this boring. But so is building a ship in a bottle a work of tiny details which many of us might appreciate but few of use are willing to even contemplate doing. So too plenty of children grow up with stability in “good enough” overseen by well meaning and caring folks who like the B and C student typically don’t care to learn the next step up in doing their school work to become A and B level …. parents!
    It can be studied and learned. And once one’s eyes are “trained to see these tiny transactions” the power and glory which you see as God’s work begins to fill the home!

    Yes the Spirit of God is with you – blessings

    Liked by 3 people

  3. T. F. Thompson · October 19, 2017

    Excellent content here Agent X. Parenting is downright taken for granted. After we screw up our relationships down here with each other we do the same with God. We do that because the relationship is the same: that is: Father, son, child All a family connection thing and whereas we must learn from the elders. Too bad we mostly don’t do that anymore. thank you for this portal of Child rearing: Truly blood is thicker than water and God’s family runs deep into millions if not billions of families across the world. thanks again for your post.

    Liked by 2 people

  4. LoiterLarry · October 19, 2017

    Let the little children come to me.

    Liked by 2 people

  5. Al · October 20, 2017

    Being a parent of a toddler is a hard thing, a dirty thing at times what with all the messes they make, an emotional thing, a scary thing, a beautiful thing. God works through our hands to provide and care for His children and our children. Every day I see that with my own little one. It’s not only my hands, but His hands taking care of my child. Where I fail, Christ picks up. Children are truly a blessing and gift from God, and, as you said, they’re truly precious to behold. Blessings to you.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Agent X · October 20, 2017

      Sometimes I get exasperated and need time away. It can get really raw, and it surprises me that it can be like that, because usually it is a blast. A constant party. Tons of fun. And really, I only want to acknowledge the raw times, but dwell on the good times.

      In our case, as foster/adoption parents, I keep thinking that every minute we spend in laughter and joy, celebrating little people with smiles and peek-a-boo and a good meal, yeah.. every minute of that is heaven, and we snatched these little guys right out of hell’s fires. I shutter to imagine… But I see the rich healing touch of Jesus in these little lives, and I BELIEVE. I am so affected. This is the Holy Presence and in the stark contrast of what we find together against where these little guys come from, I really get a dramatic exposure to God.

      It is all so fragile.

      But how much fun we have!

      At the moment, we have all boys. Toddler boys. And we play the numa numa song on the YouTube and my little guys start laughing and dancing and watching that video intensely. We have our own boy band! Keeps us in stitches.

      Check it out here, play it for your kids and see what I mean….

      Liked by 1 person

      • Al · October 20, 2017

        My little one loves laughing and dancing to anything that has a beat. 🙂

        And things do get tough at times and I only have one and one on the way. I always think I need time away for myself, but usually when I’m away I can’t think of anything except my child. When it gets rough I know Christ is always there guiding the way.

        It’s horrible to imagine what your foster kids are going/went through. You’re a blessing to them.

        Liked by 1 person

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