Janelle: I was 24-years-old when I first became a foster mom.
Jason: She followed Jesus in a way that I'd never really seen before, choosing to bring kids who were hurting and had had a lot of really difficult experiences, and she brought them into her home and really loved them and cared for them as her own kids.
Janelle: I really appreciated his friendship. I was not interested in dating anybody at that point. My goal was to take great care of them. Jason loved to encourage us and serve us and I really appreciate how God worked in my heart.
Jason: A year after we got married, we started praying about fostering. Two weeks after that, our pastor came to us and said, "Hey, there's four little kids who really need a home right now." We thought about it and said yes and two weeks later, those four little kids came into our home. And I thought, "Oh boy, what did we get ourselves into? How can we really care for these kids in this difficult time for them?"
They went to go live with a relative and my wife and I got pregnant and then we got a call from Hennepin County that said, "Hey, we really need you to take in a foster baby. Janelle was 4 1/2 months pregnant. And then the social workers called us and said, "Hey, these kids are coming back to Minnesota. Do you want them back?" And we said, "Yes!" We went from zero kids to six kids in about four months during my senior year of seminary.
Janelle: And the oldest was five.
Jason: I was a youth pastor for about five years in the inner city and then about seven years in a more suburban, rural church. I think it was really difficult for our kids to be pastor's kids. I think it was really difficult based on their previous experience, based on their trauma that they've experienced and based on some of their special needs.
When I left my position as a pastor at a church, it was really hard. There's loss that you feel. There's even a sense of, you know, this is my job, this has been my identity for the last twelve years. Yet I knew that this is where God wanted me to be, to be able to care for them, to be able to love them in the way they needed to be loved and cared for and protected. God provided Door Creek for us in a time that we really needed it.
Janelle: The thought that comes to my mind is I felt like it was like balm to my wounds. I just felt like every word that Pastor Marc preached during, especially our first few months here, God was just directly comforting me and encouraging me and us as a family.
Jason: We were really hurting and it was really great that people reached out to us from Door Creek. People accepted us, that accepted our family and accepted our kids, that we were able to plug into an adoption group.
Janelle: I've seen my kids find acceptance through the youth ministry at our church. It's fun to see them make real friendships with friends that love them for who they are.
Jason: Today we have seven kids.
Janelle: We're always cooking food.
Jason: We've gone in the van and had all the kids in the back of the van watching something or on their tablets or something...
Janelle: We'll go through the Starbucks drive through, and we'll talk. We'll stare at the lake.
Our strength comes from Jesus. We can't do anything without Him. Some days are harder than others and I feel like, especially on our harder days, God has been just what sustains us. And so when I do feel overwhelmed or weary or frustrated, I've just been trying to worship God with my thoughts by saying, "I love you. I'm putting one foot in front of the other because I love you." And He does give us joy and peace and He helps us.
Jason: I feel like the boy who gave his lunch to Jesus and His disciples. He just said yes. He didn't have another lunch. He didn't have a plan B, I'm sure, but he gave all of it to Jesus and Jesus took that and multiplied it and fed the five thousand with that lunch. I know that that boy was filled that day and there was leftovers. He's called us to give everything and yet He's given us back so much more. He's multiplied this little teeny five loaves and two fish that we can give to God.
This story, and all of our stories, are from people who call Door Creek Church their home. As you contemplate this story, may your faith be encouraged and your hope renewed. If you’d like to learn more about sharing your story, start here.