"He helps me, and my heart is filled with joy..."

The Lord is my strength and shield. I trust Him with all my heart. He helps me, and my heart is filed with joy.” Psalm 28:7 (NLT).

Here is what often happens…you get a call. A case worker is asking if you will take a child, or three. They arrive at your home late at night with nothing. There isn’t a convenient time in your schedule to decide when their are no distractions going on in your own life, or when you’ve had time to plan and think. There isn’t preparation for their age, gender, bedding needs, or clothing sizes. There is a just a child that needs you showing up at your door because their crisis is right now. So the need is right now. And you say yes, or you say no. Thank goodness we have amazing foster families who continually say, “Yes.”

One of the blessings we get to be a part of at Joy Meadows is the Clothing Closet. We have it available to foster families for clothing at any time. But we also get to use it for families when they get those last minute calls to take a child who shows up with nothing. In the last few weeks this has happened many times. At Joy Meadows we have the blessing of taking that call, giving a word of encouragement to the foster parent, getting a list of their needs, and then heading up to the Closet late at night to pack a suitcase with several pairs of clothing, pajamas, socks, underwear, a toothbrush and toothpaste. Then we get to drop it off at the foster families’ house with a card, and a hug. Recently I got a text from a foster parent who woke up to find a suitcase on her porch that said, “Thank you so much for bringing things by last night. [Child] was so happy to have some clothes to choose from this morning. I honestly think that sometimes it’s the little wins that make a big difference in these kids lives.” This foster mom had a lot going on and still said “yes” to take in this child. I can tell you this mom had shed many tears for the heavy burden she carried for children who have gone through so much trauma and it can be exhausting. But for one morning, the appearance of a gift card and suitcase of clothes meant that of the many sad tears shed, “this morning tears of joy came out, knowing there are such good people out there…”

At Joy Meadows our vision is to change the look of foster care. We have big dreams to create a new kind of foster community and we will do that. But it’s also the little things. It’s meeting an immediate need of a child, and easing the burden of a foster family so they can love them well. We want to provide the little things and the big things so we can bring joy. Most of all, we want to share the love of Jesus, so they will know, “He helps me, and my heart is filled with joy….” (Psalm 28:7 NLT). It’s that joy that will never go away.

-Sarah Oberndorfer

Foster mom, co-founder Joy Meadows, board chair