Faith has two primary definitions. Its first definition involves having complete trust and confidence in a person or situation. It can also be defined as a strong belief in God or a set of religious doctrines. As someone navigating through the foster system, both definitions are most likely difficult for you to accept. It is probably a challenge for you to offer anyone your complete trust and confidence if you’re feeling that you have been abandoned by your parents. After all, these are the people who gave you life and were supposed to take care of you no matter what. But for whatever reason, they are no longer in your life. The reasons may have been within their power or something completely beyond their control. In either case, they are no longer around and it affected you deeply.
It is probably also very challenging for you to offer your trust in a God that allowed you to be placed in this situation in the first place. There are questions that you want God to answer. If God is so loving and so powerful, why doesn’t He rescue me from this? God watched me as I was placed into this system, without a family. My real father let me down and it seems as if my spiritual father has let me down as well.
In addition, you have probably made a few mistakes in your life. You may have even intentionally made these mistakes, choosing to reject yourself before anyone else has a chance to reject you. You may intentionally keep people at a distance because you don’t want to be hurt again. But now, you may feel like you have made so many mistakes that it’s difficult to have faith in yourself to do the right thing. How can I have faith in myself when I continuously mess up?
These are challenging questions that can’t be answered in a few paragraphs. And these questions undoubtedly have an impact on how you perceive faith. You are right to approach it cautiously, with some doubts and questions. And maybe even disbelief. Faith is a difficult concept to swallow when everything you have believed in has seemingly shattered around you.
But faith can be a little simpler. Faith is what drives athletes to continue fighting in the final quarter when there is little hope for winning. Faith believes that in this broken world, there is still something pure worth pursuing. It pushes us to be better people. It convinces us to keep trying even when we fail. Faith allows us to see beyond our current situation. And faith is probably what has brought you here. You believe that there is a chance for something better. And though you may not know the exact path to getting there, you believe that there is a path. Martin Luther King Jr quotes, “Faith is taking the first step, even when you don’t see the whole staircase”.
While your staircase may be clouded in fog, or even darkness, you have to believe it’s there. And once you take the first step, the next one becomes clearer.
From a religious standpoint, faith understands that we ourselves have no possible way to control the situations around us. No matter how strong, smart, rich, or powerful we make ourselves, there will still be situations out of our control. Your being in the foster system is one of those situations. You most likely did not put yourself there. But with some perseverance, faith, and a little help from the people currently in your life, you can work to get yourself out of it. You can evolve from the role of feeling victimized and take the appropriate steps towards becoming a victor. And then you too will be able to reach back and help others. You will find yourself having faith in them and, in time, they will begin to have faith in you as well. The external circumstances for your life are something you cannot control, but you have complete control over how you react and proceed from this point. You may have made some bad choices yourself, but it is never too late to start steering back towards the path you were truly meant to live. At times, there will be moments when the best of your ability and the best abilities of those around you aren’t enough. Faith believes that there is a divine intervention at work that fills in those deficiencies, creating a miracle.
Going through this curriculum will require some faith. Everyone will most likely not experience the same results. But it is going to require faith to believe that the outcomes you are expecting will occur. It may be tough for you to have faith. I get it. But what’s the alternative? Do you want to be a person that continues to go through life as a victim of circumstance? Or do you want to be a person that takes initiative, changes their narrative, and becomes an inspiration for others? Let’s not sugarcoat it. The road ahead is difficult. It is a road you cannot travel alone. Surround yourself with people that are going to support you, encourage you, and push you when necessary. At times, they may even have to pull you up. People that will forgive you when you mess up. And celebrate you when you succeed. So when you do find one of these special people, embrace them. Have faith in them.
And have faith in yourself. Many have been in your shoes and have overcome the challenges of being in the foster system. I believe that they are stronger and better people not in spite of the foster system, but because of it. Have faith that you too can face these obstacles and become better. All it takes is a first step.