How One Springs Mom Loves God and Loves Others-Even in Hard Places

Hi my name is Kim Francis, mother of three, wife to Eric, and community-minded Christ-follower. I have the privilege of serving as a Court Appointed Special Advocate (CASA) for local foster families for the past year.

I was crying in the security line at the airport. Eric and the kids were chatting away a few steps ahead of me about our trip to the mountains, oblivious to my tears. I had invested 12 months into a sweet preschooler and her family as a volunteer with CASA (Court Appointed Special Advocate) and was looking forward to court next week when they would be reunited, separated for a year by addiction and CPS (Child Protective Services). The family was clean, they were going above and beyond all they needed to do for reunification. I had just celebrated a few days before with momma, as she was rocking her service plan as assigned by the judge.

Standing in the security line, I had just read an email telling me there was a relapse and all the hopes and plans were dashed.

“What happened?” Eric asked me as he spied my tears. “Exactly.” Was my response.

What HAD happened? Why had the family come this far and then failed? Questions about fairness, and second chances, and the future for my CASA child and her family had me spinning. I didn’t want to get on that plane, I wanted to go cry with my CASA family.

How did I become a Court Appointed Special Advocate (CASA)? Three years ago, I started training for the Chosen 1/2 Marathon. During those many runs, I prayed for my foster/adoptive family friends and meditated on several verses about caring for the oppressed, the orphan, those without voices. It was during those runs the Lord deepened my understanding of what the Church is supposed to be and He nudged me to become a CASA. I said no. The next year during training for the race, He nudged harder. “Why me? Why now?” I asked Him. “Why not?” He responded.

I had plenty of reasons to say no, but with two years of nudging I figured God was serious. I went through training and became a CASA in the spring of 2018.

CASA is no joke. I spent time each month visiting with my child and her foster placement. I interviewed family members, found therapists, testified in court, celebrated birthdays, walked through stress with family and hugged through the hard moments when the child simply wanted to be held by her parents.

After the final court hearing, I sat with mom as she told me she was going to finish this well and be a good mom, despite losing custody. I’m sure she will, and I am so impressed and inspired by her. She has come this far, and a relapse isn’t going to stop her. She thanked the judge, telling her she saved her life.

What a privilege it has been to be asked into this family’s life!

I may never have known them except through CPS and my time as a CASA. Spending time with a family that was seemingly unlike me made me realize how very similar we actually are. I found a deeper sympathy and understanding for those dealing with addiction.

I watched the good and the bad of the legal system and prayed how I might be a part of the good.

My life has been changed for the better because of this family. I am also so thankful they’ve asked me to continue to be a part of their lives, even after the final hearing. Those tears in the airport were so valuable and good. I’m so thankful I have the relationship with the CASA family so I could carry the sorrow and go through the pain with them.

God commands us to help those in distress, go into the hard places, and love those who are unlike us (Proverbs 31:9 & the parable of the good Samaritan in Luke 10:25-37).

There’s no getting around these commands. For me, the hard places with this family were places where I found great joy and richness of life. I realized the beauty of this command is for my own good, as well as the good of those we love and serve.

Our lives are to be poured out for those in need around us. Sometimes this means a kind word to the clerk at the store, giving the homeless man a drink, or hugging the crying child next to us. But God wants us to GO, not just wait for the moment someone crosses our path.

How are you living out God’s call to GO and serve those in our city…our mission field of New Braunfels?

If you aren’t or don’t know where to start, I’d love to talk more! There is a richness added to our lives when we look to those around us who are different from ourselves and see the world from their perspective. Going out to the world brings depth to life. Jump on in!

The Springs will be partnering with CASA to minister to families in CPS.  We are praying for 2 new CASA volunteers. Could you be one of them? Please contact me to have a conversation about how you can get involved as a Court Appointed Special Advocate.

Springs External Focus Liaisons for CASA – Kim Francis, [email protected],  Amy Post, [email protected]  or contact CASA of Central Texas directly at [email protected]/(830) 626-2272.

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