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January 2017.v.1
Our Last Dance
by Oscar Benavides
LINC NT’s Executive Director, Oscar Benavides, blogs about the painful departure of his foster daughter in January and God’s heart for children.
(The foster baby’s name has been changed for this article.)

On the morning of Katie’s departure she grabbed Jen’s (Oscar’s wife) phone and began playing music. How does an 18 month old know how to do that? The only thing on my mind that morning was “Don’t cry, keep moving”. The song that played was, “The Way You Look Tonight” by Steve Tyrell. I quickly picked her up and did something she loves to do, dance in my arms.
“Some day, when I'm awfully low
When the world is cold
I will feel a glow just thinking of you
And the way you look tonight
Yes, you're lovely, with your smile so warm
And your cheeks so soft
There is nothing for me but to love you
And the way you look tonight”

Tears began flowing from my eyes as my heart’s pain came rushing all of the sudden. I must have kissed her 25 times during that song. She smiled not knowing that this was our last dance. I noticed in the background that Jen was crying too. I will never forget that dance with Katie, our last one.

Fostering is a dance, a dance foster parents don’t lead. Almost everything about it is directed from the state.  Everything from dealing with the foster child, the foster agency, the state CPS, parent visits, and finally, to medical issues is unexpected, unpredictable and never easy. Our dance partners have the control, all we can do is buckle up for the ride. With this baby the dance was sweet and frustrating, it was fulfilling and confusing and it was a blessing and exhausting.

Would she remember me? Would she know how much we loved her, how much we sacrificed? Would she ever know how much she changed our lives, helped us grow and the joy that we experienced through her?

Emotions are a dance too. It’s such a dichotomy to deal with pain and guilt at the same time. We are human. Now that she is gone we feel excited and guilty about being excited. We are excited about sleeping through the night, not having to constantly watch for her safety, saying yes to invitations because we don’t need to burden the few saints who are certified by the state to take care of her for us. I am excited to focus on my kids and yet struggle with selfish thoughts. I’m excited to not change another diaper, clean up the path of the “tornado's” daily expression of her artistic messes.  Dancing with different emotions is exhausting. These words from Romans are comforting, “There is therefore no condemnation for those who are in Christ Jesus.”

One of the most difficult phrases that foster parents hear is, “Oh, I could never do that, I'd get too attached.” They mean well but foster parents are not made of steel, they are not saints and they must get attached, love deeply and feel pain. We have learned that what the foster child needs most is attachment to a healthy loving adult. Fostering is not for the strong but for the soft-hearted and courageous. With over 13,000 foster children in the system in Texas, there is always a need for soft-hearted foster parents. Jesus said, "Let the children come to me." May more christian families rise and take care of his children. 

This is not our first run at this, actually it's our third foster child that has left our home and left us in tears. Jesus comforts us, strengthens us and gives us hope for the future for her and for us. For us the only way to do it is through His strength, “I can do all things through Christ’s strength”.

"You have turned my mourning into dancing for me" – Psalm 30:11
Dance with us ...
As in fostering, loving people, obeying God and sacrificing for others is a dance, it always offers risks and rewards. For us at LINC NT we invest in students, many who come from abusive homes or neglectful parents. We find that one drop of genuine attention goes a long way to bring healing. We also invest in parents and mentor them on how to be healthy parents, how to heal from their past and how to be followers of Jesus.

Jesus said, “Follow me and take up your cross”. Following Jesus comes with real sacrifice, can be painful and be disorienting. He might ask us to give more than what we feel we receive but, you have to keep dancing. 

There is a overwhelming need to reach more families with the gospel. LINC NT is seeking your prayers for these families and students.  Pray for open doors and open hearts.  In addition to prayer, in 2017 LINC NT also needs more of your financial help to make it possible to reach more families. The opportunities are wide open for you to be involved, please help us reach more.

“Give justice to the weak and the fatherless; maintain the right of the afflicted and the destitute. Rescue the weak and the needy; deliver them from the hand of the wicked.”
– Psalm 82:3-4

Amazing Generosity
We are thrilled to announce that LINC NT raised $50,420 in response to a donation match challenge in December.   It all started with the LINC NT Board of Directors pledging $29,250 to match gifts given to LINC NT in December. The response was amazing and we are so thankful for the generosity from 44 individuals that gave to see transformation in people’s lives in 2017. 
The bible explains that God loves the cheerful giver. May the Lord pour out His blessings and those that gave small and large gifts alike. With this money LINC NT will be able to fund the new initiatives like our new faith community starts and new SALI schools. 
Upcoming Events:
MONDAY NIGHTS, 7:00pm-9:00pmSpanish Bible Study on Discipleship, Starting January 16th @ the LINC NT office, 1925 E. Belt Line Road, #426, Carrollton, TX  75006. Contact Jaime for more information,
SUNDAY JANUARY 22nd, 8:00am & 11:00am:  Oscar Benavides preaching @ Water of Life Lutheran Church, Forney, TX.  (9:30am Sunday School)
TUESDAY NIGHTS, 6:30pm-9:00pm:  Faith and Finances Classes in Spanish, Starting February 28th @ LINCT NT office, 1926 E. Belt Line Road, #426, Carrollton, TX 75006.  Contact Antonia for more information. or 972-417-5950
SATURDAY MARCH 4th:  LINC NT Fiesta - Tarrant County @ Peace Lutheran Church, Hurst , TX. 
WEDNESDAY MARCH 8th, 6:00pm-9:00pm:  SALI Family Night - CFBISD Middle Schools.  Volunteers Needed!  Contact or 972-417-5950
SUNDAY MARCH 12th, 8:30am & 11:00am:  Oscar Benavides preaching @ Peace Lutheran Church, Hurst, TX. 
SATURDAY MAY 6th:  LIINC NT Annual Gala @ Gleneagles Country Club, 5401 W. Park Blvd, Plano, TX  75093.

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LINC North Texas is a 501(c)(3) charitable non-profit organization.
We are a member of ECFA (Evangelical Council for Financial Accountability).
We are audited annually by CapinCrouse LLP Certified Public Accountants and have previous audits and IRS tax returns available on our website.
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LINC North Texas  •  PO Box 702863  •  Dallas  •  TX  •  75370

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