The other day I was sitting with a friend who claims to be agnostic and we were talking about Jesus and the Love Story of God’s Word. After years of invitations, she joined the Bible Study I led at my house this Fall. She was intrigued and had many tough questions. Toward the end of our conversation that morning, she asked me a question that I feel sums up God’s transforming power in our lives. “Would you be the same person you are today without your belief in God?” I thought for a minute. Then I shook my head. “No, I don’t think I would.” I am who I am because I have experienced the unfailing love of Jesus throughout my life and therefore His love overflows out of me into every aspect of who I am.
Colossians 1:8 says “He has told us about the love for others that the Holy Spirit has given you.”
Romans 12:9-10 says, “Don’t pretend to love others. Really love them. Hate what is wrong. Hold tightly to what is good. Love each other with genuine affection, and take delight in honoring each other.”
Through the indwelling of the Holy Spirit: I have a heart, a mouth, hands, and feet to love. I was raised in a Christian home with a legacy of God’s love through the generations. Don’t misunderstand, we had our struggles and my parents divorced when I was four years old. But, I was loved by my family and taught to love others. My mom taught me sacrificial forgiveness and how to love and move on, giving Jesus our hurts, wounds, and struggles.
As I grew up, I was also introduced to some aspects of love from society that weren’t always in line with how Jesus lived. According to society, there are the outcasts who have done wrong and don’t deserve the love of others until they change their life. There are those that you should just stay away from. There are those that will ruin your life. There are those that are too dirty, too poor, too isolated to enter into relationship with. I wasn’t sure how to balance the differences.
Starting in college, as I made my faith my own, and began my personal journey with Jesus, He continued to show me truth. I loved the marginalized. I loved being a cheerleader and believing in those that didn’t believe in themselves. I worked in home health as a Registered Nurse for many years, placing me in homes of families that people often overlooked. I saw the conditions and circumstances that kept them doubting their precious place in society. I also saw how quickly love changes attitudes, breaks down barriers, brings a smile, brings healing, allows for risks to be taken, allows for lives to be transformed.
I was seeing change when I brought Jesus’ love into people’s homes.
My career ended by choice when we moved to Oregon over six years ago. Now in my role as a foster parent, I am still entering into peoples’ lives and bringing Jesus’ love to them. I am overwhelmed by the miracles happening in the family’s lives who accept the love Jesus and I offer, and in turn have the courage to make drastic, life altering changes in their lives. The changes lead to creating healthier loving homes for their baby to return too. I especially love the first awkward meeting with the mom, dad, or grandparents of a new placement.
Just as there is a society view on the parents who have had their children removed, there is also a street view of foster parents and DHS in general. I get to break that mold quickly! We usually meet in a DHS office with observers. I get to come alongside the parents, introduce myself, and tell them I am here to love their darling baby, pray for their recovery and journey, and offer encouragement in whatever way they need. Shoulders relax, tensions diffuse, and love offers us the chance to partner together in the path that leads these families back together!
I am blessed with a front row seat to miracles by jumping into someone’s mess and introducing them to the God who puts the pieces back together and creates another masterpiece of Grace!
God’s love transforms.
I pray that this Holiday season, you can be encouraged to take the risks, love boldly, step into someone’s mess and offer them an unfailing love.
Nikki Rodolph is married to Skyler and mom of three daughters: Elsie, Jolie, and Kinzie. Currently a sweet baby boy is added to the mix. She lives with her family in Hubbard on a small farm. She loves people and loves to cook, garden, and read.