“With the first pick of the 2015 NFL Draft, the Tampa Bay Buccaneers select…”
I am not sure who the Bucs will pick on Thursday night with the first pick. It’s probably going to be a QB, and it likely will be Jameis Winston from Florida State. I wish the #1 pick would be Lorenzo Mauldin from Louisville. Not because he’s the top rated talent in the draft, but because he’s a hero to me. Lorenzo was/is a foster kid from Atlanta who seems to have turned the corner in life based on his athletic ability, his dedication to his siblings, and the care of special people who have helped him along.
[ You can read more of his story at http://mmqb.si.com/2015/04/23/lorenzo-mauldin-2015-nfl-draft-louisville/ ….after you finish reading my article. 🙂 ]
When the pick goes down, I will be in Nashville for the Christian Alliance for Orphans (CAFO) 2015 Summit. There will be more than 3,000 people gathered to be empowered and equipped to make a difference in the lives of the over 100 million orphans around the world, including 400,000 foster care kids in the USA. It will be challenging to me as a child welfare professional; compelling to me as a caring parent; and convicting of me as a Christian leader. I’ll be thinking of the kids that my agency serves, as well as the kids represented by the other CAFO partner agencies and church-based ministries. I’ll also be thinking of and praying for Lorenzo Mauldin.
Lorenzo will be drafted on Friday or Saturday. It will put him in a position that he has never been in before. He will have a team/a city behind him. He will have the resources to take care of himself and his siblings for life if he plays well. He will play on TV in the greatest sport America knows, and he will become household name to aspiring boys wanting to “go all Lorenzo” on the competition. His life will change forever. No more foster homes. No more group homes. No more dorm rooms for Lorenzo. It’s his time now.
But I’m betting he won’t see it that way. If I know Lorenzo – and I don’t – he will use this new life as an opportunity to do something great. Not on the football field, but on the foster field. Lorenzo will always want to give back, and make the scene better for kids that are on the path he and his siblings were on. No kid exits the system without a desire to make foster care better for other kids coming through it. Even the best of foster care situations have room for some improvement. Every child deserves to have a good home to grow up in, and good parents to walk through life with. Every child needs to feel like they’ve been drafted to belong to a family that wants them desperately, and loves them generously.
Christian foster care ministry attempts to do just that for every one of the kids already in the system, as well as the ones that are statistically on their way. Christian foster homes and church-based foster care ministries are making a difference everyday as people put their own needs and aspirations aside to help kids and strengthen American family life. There is a great need before us, but the good news is that we have a greater God that is for us. Our God is greater than the foster care crisis in our country.
You may not know it, but you too are being drafted – drafted to make a difference in foster care. Please stand up, show up, and blow up for kids across the country. Don’t limit your love to kids in your state. Love and cherish every child you encounter. Help and hold every kid in your care that needs your personal touch to succeed. Dare to dream the wildest dreams of success and glory for foster kids, because they hold great potential and we need them to let it go in our world. Choose to see the potential in kids instead of their baggage or their limits. Value the life of the one instead of the burden of the many. Celebrate the stories of success, and speak truth into the stories of shame. Today, you are drafted to make a difference.
I ask you to pray for Lorenzo Mauldin. Don’t pray that he would be drafted first overall or that he would be drafted by your favorite team. Pray that his story would compel families all over the country to make room in their lives for the kids who need a family. Pray that his legacy would go beyond being a great football player, and witness an even greater example of a man. Pray that the city that drafts him will become a city that invests heavily into foster care and sets the pace for other NFL cities engaging with kids in their communities. Pray that foster children all over the country would find a new hero in Lorenzo because of his spirit, his endurance, and his hope for a better life. Pray constantly that God would work all things together through the body of Christ to make helping orphans a priority and not an option.