What It Means to Love the Fatherless

The boys were ten-year-old twins, orphans being raised by their older sister. We were just engaged, starry-eyed, excited, and busy planning our wedding, when we found out they were moving.

“I’m going to miss them so much,” Ryan told me as we drove home from the park where we’d shot hoops with the boys for a couple of hours. “I’m really going to miss them. If there was ever a chance they would need a place to go, someone to take them, I’d want to do it.”

I remember telling Ryan how I liked his giving heart and I loved the idea of foster care or adoption – yes, even way back then. But, ten-year-olds? I had a hard time thinking through that one. I wanted babies and cute little children, not big kids with big problems.

It was the day, years later, that the wind shivered through the trees, shaking leaves to the ground. The last week-and-a-half I’d furiously written about motherhood and children and the fatherless. I’d spent hours processing through my heart and the Word and bucket loads of information I’d read in the last few years about fostering and adoption and all the needy children. 

The wind blew, my house shuddered, and I watched the leaves blow down.

I thought it and goosebumps formed on my heart, as if the wind had shaken it too. Everyone wants the babies… including you. 

Nameless faces flashed through my mind, faces from the pages of unwanted children I’d looked through. Most of the faces I saw were older than five, a lot of them older than ten. When I first saw them flash up on my screen, I’d quickly bypassed them because they weren’t what I was looking for.

As if loving the fatherless was shopping for the “right” child.

I was armed with a million excuses why it wouldn’t be right, Biblical or fair for Ryan and I to take older children.

As if loving the fatherless was a matter of personal preference or opinion.

The leaves blew right off the branches of the backyard tree, along with my reasons and excuses and opinions.

Because loving the fatherless is having the heart of the Father who calls all of the children to come.

I’ve paced from my dining room to my kitchen a thousand times thinking this one thought: What does it mean to love the fatherless?

If we know Him, than we know James 1:27, that pure religion undefiled is loving the fatherless. So whether we’ve woken up to the call or not, we really are all faced with the throbbing question: What does it mean to love the fatherless? It won’t be the same for everyone and I know that God won’t call everyone to open up their homes.

But I have a hunch, about this one thing I don’t think I’m wrong, that He might call everyone to open up their heart. To ask, “What can I do to be Love unspeakable, to wrap love around Your children? 

I know that not everyone will be able to open their homes to the older children and not just the cute babies.

But I’ve stood at the throne with my list of reasons and He’s crossed them all off. The question is not so much, can I? but will I? Will I answer the call to be love and to wrap around and not treat His children as a shopping list? If I am willing, I have answered the call. And the rest?

The rest is up to Him.

I hold my beautiful baby, the one my heart bled for and birthed out, and my heart wraps all around him. IMG_2911

I close my eyes and the faces linger behind shut eyelids, and I bow my heart low, and I say yes.

That yes is what loving the fatherless is all about.

Yes, I will open my heart.

Yes, I will trust You to show me how to love Your children.

Yes, I will believe that should You bring me to a child, or a child to me – five months old or fifteen – You will empower and equip me with grace and strength and wisdom to raise that child for You.

Where God gives a commission, He gives ability.

Where God gives a vision, He gives strength.

Where God calls, He gives courage.


This puts it all in perspective. Davion could be my son. Go here for this amazing story.


2 thoughts on “What It Means to Love the Fatherless

  1. I cry,I sigh,I ponder– I feel pensive with questions like you ask. Its that time of the year-my baby from prison,that God allowed to grace our home and we loved passionately for a year and a half turns 14 years old on the 11th, and I ask myself tough questions, “if we would find him and know that he needed a home could I do it? WOULD I do it??” My heart yearns for my baby boy,but would I find the grace and strength to love a hurting,bitter,angry difficult teen with big problems if God called us to that?? God, it looks so big and scary!! I like to think of little cuddly babies, I can rock them,cuddle them,sing to them and figure out a way to sooth them so much easier—
    Chad sent me the story of Davion and I cried. My heart yearned to go get him right now–
    My devotional today said ” Rest means to trust Jesus Christ as out Life-Source,depending on Him to empower our actions with His strength and direction.”
    I pray that for you, as you struggle through the tough questions and tough call to
    ‘love the fatherless’ !! Bless you girl!! I LOVE your heart!!

  2. Oh, how our hearts have wrenched and wrestled before God on this very issue, Renee! When God first touched our hearts on the issue of adoption, I dreamed of a darling little blue-eyed baby boy. God literally troubled my dreams with visions of angry, hurting (even dying) older children. It took a long while to surrender to God’s calling to take the “big kids with big problems.” Two years ago God miraculously brought two brothers into our home (ages 11 and 13). What a humbling and beautiful privilege it has been to witness God’s incredible healing work in these boys’ lives. It’s a spiritual journey we wouldn’t have missed for anything–and we’re still on it, still learning about God’s kind of love.

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