On Sunday 5th June 2016 Woodley Churches Together invited Bethany Hare of Home for Good Reading and Wokingham to speak at Praise in the Park. Rather than summarise her inspirational talk, we have decided to share it in it’s entirety.
Hi my name is Bethany Hare, I am the project worker for Home for Good Reading and Wokingham. For those of you who don’t know Home for Good is a christian charity, we are raising awareness of the need for local foster and adoptive parents we want to find a home for every child who needs one and we believe that the Church can make a difference. Home for Good are also encouraging Church’s to offer support to foster carers, adopters and their children.
I want to start by asking you three questions which I want you think about throughout my talk
Do you believe God Loves you?
Do you believe he has a plan for you?
And how do you share God’s love with others?’
My talk today is going to be based on Jeremiah 29 verse 11 ‘for I know the plans I have for you, declares the lord, plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you a hope and a future.’
Now I don’t know about you but there have been several occasions in my life when I have doubted and questioned this. I would love to be able to turn around and say yes throughout my life I have been certain God loves me and has a plan for me, plans for welfare… however I would be lying. When I am going through difficult times, I have turn to God and said ‘right ok…where are you? Now would be the perfect time for you to share my plan with me…’ It got me thinking that If I struggle to come to terms with this as a Christian then imagine how the vulnerable children in our society would react to the idea that God loves them and has a plan for them. The children who are not able to live with their own family and are living in uncertainty, who are waiting for a family, a place they can have stability. The fact God has a plan for them and does not want to harm them would be very difficult to grasp unless the love of God is demonstrated too them through others.
A foster carer recently shared with us that when things seem particularly demanding These words of Joni Earekson Tada inspire her in her fostering. ‘But God didn’t send a greeting card to show His love, He came Himself. He didn’t just tell us He loved us, He gave up His own life on our behalf. You can talk and sing about love until the cows come home. But at the end of the day, real love means sacrifice.’
I have been a social worker for almost 7 years now and although there are challenges and difficulties I enjoy it. 3 years ago I got baptised and a lady came up to me and said to me ‘God has given me a picture for you. It’s a picture of stepping stones. God wants you to know he has laid a path for you. You don’t need to be afraid he has cleared the way.’ Ironically a few months later I was off work due to personal reasons unsure if I could ever face being a social worker again. I doubted what I was supposed to do and what my plan was…this was the time I was referring to earlier about shouting to God and asking him to shed some light. I decided to go back to social worker however began working supporting and assessing adopters and foster carers. I was happy in my role and had no plans to move. At the same time several members of my church including the youth workers had it on their heart to set up a support group for foster carers and adopters. We had a meeting to discuss this and at the end we prayed. Both the youth workers said to me they felt I should contact Home for Good and see if they have any jobs. Little did they know the job description for Reading and Wokingham Project worker was just being finalised. I applied for the role and on a Wednesday I found out I had an interview, on the Thursday I found out I was going to be made redundant at my current work place and on the Friday I found out I had the job for Home for Good.
This is my testimony of God’s love for me and his plan. Although I still go through difficulties and have no doubt I will continue to face struggles I hold on to God’s plan for me and declare that God will pull me through.
I am sure there are many others who are able to share how God has showed his love for you and have amazing testimonies and others who would say I haven’t experienced that. God has shown his love for us time and time again although sometimes when things are difficult it is hard to remember this. But it is written down for us as a constant reminder.
The bible is the ultimate love story…it is about God’s love for each of us. A God who is our father. He has adopted us and has an amazing plan for us. Too often adoption is seen as a negative however it is positive. We have been chosen by our father. We are not a mistake, we are loved and cherished.
Father’s Love Letter is a compilation of Bible verses from both the Old & New Testaments that are presented in the form of a love letter from God to you.
My Child…You may not know me, but I know everything about you. (Psalm 139:1) I know when you sit down and when you rise up. (Psalm 139:2) I am familiar with all your ways. (Psalm 139:3) Even the very hairs on your head are numbered. (Matthew 10:29-31) For you were made in my image. (Genesis 1:27) In me you live and move and have your being. (Acts 17:28) For you are my offspring. (Acts 17:28) I knew you even before you were conceived. (Jeremiah 1:4-5) I chose you when I planned creation. (Ephesians 1:11-12) You were not a mistake, for all your days are written in my book. (Psalm 139:15-16) I determined the exact time of your birth and where you would live. (Acts 17:26) You are fearfully and wonderfully made. (Psalm 139:14) I knit you together in your mother’s womb. (Psalm 139:13) And brought you forth on the day you were born. (Psalm 71:6) I have been misrepresented by those who don’t know me. (John 8:41-44) I am not distant and angry, but am the complete expression of love. (1 John 4:16) And it is my desire to lavish my love on you. (1 John 3:1) Simply because you are my child and I am your Father. (1 John 3:1) I offer you more than your earthly father ever could. (Matthew 7:11) For I am the perfect Father. (Matthew 5:48) Every good gift that you receive comes from my hand. (James 1:17) For I am your provider and I meet all your needs. (Matthew 6:31-33) My plan for your future has always been filled with hope. (Jeremiah 29:11) Because I love you with an everlasting love. (Jeremiah 31:3) My thoughts toward you are countless as the sand on the seashore. (Psalms 139:17-18) And I rejoice over you with singing. (Zephaniah 3:17) I will never stop doing good to you. (Jeremiah 32:40) For you are my treasured possession. (Exodus 19:5) I desire to establish you with all my heart and all my soul. (Jeremiah 32:41) And I want to show you great and marvelous things. (Jeremiah 33:3) If you seek me with all your heart, you will find me. (Deuteronomy 4:29) Delight in me and I will give you the desires of your heart. (Psalm 37:4) For it is I who gave you those desires. (Philippians 2:13) I am able to do more for you than you could possibly imagine. (Ephesians 3:20) For I am your greatest encourager. (2 Thessalonians 2:16-17) I am also the Father who comforts you in all your troubles. (2 Corinthians 1:3-4) When you are brokenhearted, I am close to you. (Psalm 34:18) As a shepherd carries a lamb, I have carried you close to my heart. (Isaiah 40:11) One day I will wipe away every tear from your eyes. (Revelation 21:3-4) And I’ll take away all the pain you have suffered on this earth. (Revelation 21:3-4) I am your Father, and I love you even as I love my son, Jesus. (John 17:23) For in Jesus, my love for you is revealed. (John 17:26) He is the exact representation of my being. (Hebrews 1:3) He came to demonstrate that I am for you, not against you. (Romans 8:31) And to tell you that I am not counting your sins. (2 Corinthians 5:18-19) Jesus died so that you and I could be reconciled. (2 Corinthians 5:18-19) His death was the ultimate expression of my love for you. (1 John 4:10) I gave up everything I loved that I might gain your love. (Romans 8:31-32) If you receive the gift of my son, Jesus, you receive me. (1 John 2:23) And nothing will ever separate you from my love again. (Romans 8:38-39) Come home and I’ll throw the biggest party heaven has ever seen. (Luke 15:7) I have always been Father and will always be Father. (Ephesians 3:14-15) My question is…will you be my child? (John 1:12-13) I am waiting for you. (Luke 15:11-32) love your dad almighty God
Do you believe God Loves you?
Do you believe he has a plan for you?
Do you share God’s love with others?
God loves us and if we believe this it is our job to show God’s love to others in our society through acceptance, kindness, love and respect.
God is our ultimate father and is well pleased with us. I want you to think about what God’s plan is for you? Can you share his love in your local community or through your work?
As part of Home for Good what we want to do is reflect God’s love to our vulnerable children. It is amazing how the simplicity of love; acceptance is to children who have never experienced it before.
In Reading we have pledge to find 50 homes for local children and in Wokingham we have pledged to find 2o homes for the local children in care. These sound like a lot however, when you consider how many churches we have across Reading and Wokingham….it is not that much.
There are different ways you can support home for good
Can you help home for good come to your church to promote fostering and adoption?
Can you support those in your community who are already fostering or have adopted?
Could you consider fostering or adopting a child?
If you would like to find out more please contact Bethany Hare, Reading and Wokingham home for good Project worker.
It may not be Home for Good that God has placed on your heart but I would love you to come away from today thinking about What has God placed on your heart? What is your plan?
I want to finish by reading Jeremiah 29 verse 11 again and declaring it over all of you. ‘for I know the plans I have for you, declares the lord, plans to prosper you and NOT to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future.’
Below is a video of the last segment of Bethany’s talk; we hope this inspires you to pray about what God might have put on your heart and to share with your friends and neighbours.