Children are a heritage from the LORD,
Offspring a reward from him.
Like arrows in the hands of a warrior
Are children born in one’s youth.
Blessed is the man
Whose quiver is full of them.
They will not be put to shame
When they contend with their opponents in court.
The Lord gave me this verse when I was pregnant with my second child. I really felt like my husband and I would have 10 children. It was our desire and we felt like we had a promise from the Lord. However, after having my two sons, Jeremy and Noah, we experienced a miscarriage. Then I found out we wouldn’t have any more children. I was devastated! Not only was I grieving the loss of a child but of a vision for my life. I just began to tell people and myself that my quiver was just smaller than most but it was full.
Fast forward 6 years and my husband, Bil, and I are houseparents at the Bartlett campus for TBCH. We are sitting in a white 15 passenger van and we are doing the head count after an outing and he says “we have 10”. We look at each other and realize WE HAVE 10! For years I had just been telling people that my quiver was just not very big but it was full. God’s promises don’t need to be explained away but trusted! My quiver was full with 10 arrows—10 broken and discarded arrows that I had the privilege of trying to mend.
Recently, the Lord brought me back to this verse and I felt like he was impressing on my heart that the families I minister to are in the same boat—they have quivers full of discarded arrows—broken arrows. So I did some research and found out the most common places for an arrow to break are in the fletching and the nock. The fletching provides stability and accuracy for the arrow in flight and the nock is where the arrow meets the bow string—providing power and aim. Most broken arrows are considered not worth the expense or trouble to fix and are discarded-much like the children we serve through TBCH.
For whatever reasons they are broken—broken hearts, broken lives, broken families, broken trust, broken relationships. And although the world would tell us they are too broken we know Jesus doesn’t see them that way. Jesus sees past our 4-year-old baby girl’s uncontrollable anger and shall we say “expanded” vocabulary and he sees a precious daughter of the King. He sees a victim of abuse and witness to violence we can’t comprehend. He looks through time and sees her and her brother in a loving family who are about to be her forever family. He sees her smile, her healing, her tender heart while we are ringing our hands and wondering about the promises of God.
Jesus knew our kids while they were still in the womb. He knit them together in the secret places. He knew about two residential girls who were adopted at the age of 18 after living at TBCH for several years. Adopted because the people who loved them the most knew the need to belong to a family that doesn’t stop on your 18th birthday.
He is faithful to see 19 adoptions since we began doing foster care in 2014. He is faithful to bring about the salvation of 13 children since January of this year!!
After 7 years as a houseparent and 1 ½ years as a foster care worker I have stories about more than 125 children. I remember every one of those faces and most of their stories. I could recount funny, sad, unbelievable stories to you. But the most important question is, “What is your part in the story of children of TBCH?” Mending arrows is expensive and time consuming work and it requires things as small as shampoo and canned goods to things as large as providing a loving foster home and all that entails. Everyone can do something! 1 Corinthians 12:4-6 tells us “there are different kinds of gifts, but the same Spirit distributes them. There are different kinds of service, but the same Lord. There are different kinds of working, but in all of them in everyone it is the same God at work”. We are all compelled by the same Spirit to help—the same Spirit who is called in Psalm 10:14—the helper of the fatherless.
-Laurie Gardner, TBCH Regional Foster Care Supervisor
Shayla and Selena
George Shinn Foster Care Program 2018
The Ranch at Millington