We often talk of finding the right balance. Eating a balanced diet. Achieving work-life balance.

Frankly, I don’t believe in balance. It’s all tension.

A teacher once explained how when two things are pulling you in different directions, that’s tension. Not balance.

Life and foster care are riddled with tension.

Treating my foster child to the chips he knows and loves OR encouraging him to enjoy a healthier palate.

Showing him grace when he missteps OR teaching him about consequences.

Helping him with his homework OR inviting his independence.

The list goes on of course. With both sides having merit.

I struggle with trying to walk such a tight rope. The knots in my back remind me daily that I have no balance. And never will.

Often outsiders see us falling toward one side or another.

Rushing to a child’s side when she complains of an imaginary wound or complementing a seemingly small responsible choice.

I’ll admit, despite all the tension, we rarely pick tough love.

After all, these little ones have known too much tough and too little love.

Maybe nobody answered their cries when they were babes? Or maybe the person who did is gone now?

Either way, they deserve some gushy, over-the-top, reckless love.

Don’t worry, we still believe in rules and discipline. And have the behavior charts to prove it.

But if I have to err one way or another, I choose this way.


Add yours
  1. monica thompson

    Always choose love. Wreckless, wonderful, full of life love. I taught behavior disordered kids. Hard kids. Tough love may bring compliance, but it doesnt teach kids to love. And love…true, accepting love…changes everything

  2. Pam

    Liz, you are living amazingly each day. Amazingly. There is no script for you to follow, no day without hurdles to leap over, or in exhaustion, crawl over. You are so right to err on the side of grace and reckless love. You bless.

    I believe “tough love” is someone’s idea once upon a time back in the 1970s where something worked for a moment. When we look at love through the eyes of Jesus, in 1 Corinthians 13, there is nothing tough about it. Tough love is irony at its best, because by definition the children who tough love might work on, are the very ones whose spirits have been crushed already and could not bear the tough love scenario. They would die under tough love. The ones who tough love might have value, are already so hardened by lack of love that it would have no long lasting effect except to harden their hearts further. The only thing tough about love is how it changes US in our abilities to love, how it stretches, challenges, breaks our heart and souls, in the giving of love. Sometimes, a lot of times, we are stretched to love to where we ourselves are broken, yet we step back, take a deep breath and soldier on – in the name of Jesus.

  3. Mary Louise

    Tears…..oh YES gushy over the top reckless love…what God Incarnate through Jesus has overwhelmed us with and what you show.

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