My family and I are in Birmingham attending a soccer tournament my daughter Paris is playing in with her school, Bob Jones High School.  The hotel we are staying in has free breakfast.  In one corner of the breakfast room are two waffle making machines.  As I was going to make a waffle a young boy around 8 or9 came up with what appeared to be his grandfather wanting a waffle as well.  I told the boy I would help him.  So I filled up my cup of batter from the dispenser and one for the boy as well.  I opened both waffle irons and I told the boy to pour the batter around the waffle iron like I was doing, then slowly close the top half of the iron down on it.  The boys just dumps cup of batter on one corner of the iron and as it was spilling over the side slams the top half of the iron down.  Now I don’t know how many of you remember the comedian Gallagher who smashed water melons over the crowd with a sledge hammer, but the batter had the same effect.  It splattered out of the iron all over me, the boy and the grandfather!!!  It covered my arms, shirt and face!!!  After I collected myself all I could do was laugh!!  The boy did not say a word. The grandfather said he was so sorry. 


I went to the bathroom and cleaned up as best I could and came back into the breakfast room.  Nancy had come in then as well.  We talked with the grandfather.  As it turns out, he was not the boys grandfather, he was the boy’s foster father.  The mans name was Eardmire and the boy Cameron.    Eardmire said he and his wife agreed to become Cameron’s foster parents this past July.  He said it has been hard and their as been “bumps” in the road.  His eyes teared up as he spoke.  He said Cameron was only 6, but he has been through more terrible things in his 6 years than you can ever imagine.  He said Cameron has three other brothers and sisters and they are all with different foster parents.  He became Cameron’s foster father at age 64!


Eardmire said that years ago he and his wife became foster parents for three boys.  They came from similar hard and abusive situations.  The three boys all had different fathers but the same mother.  He and his wife were their foster parents for over 10 years.  It was hard raising them as well.  But he said now one of the boys is in the Marines, one is in the Army, and one is in College.  Eardmire said like the other boys, Cameron was a thorn and he and his wife wanted to love him into a rose and let him blossom.  As we shared about us and our church being outside of the box, he said, “exactly!”  The church needs to go into and outside the hedges as that is where the the thorns that need nurtured into blooming are found.


We prayed some, hugged, and said good bye.  I sat back down at my table amazed and thanking God for the encounter I just experienced.  For Eardire’s tears as the strain of raising Cameron at this age of his life were evident, however there was a confidence and unshakable faith and love in his eyes as he looked at him.  The love of a father for his child. 


It is in the splattering and mess of life when all you can do is laugh that God shows up. 


I have to go, actually looked my watch and I have been lost in this blog way to long and I have to fly to make Paris’s next game.  Go out and get splattered by life today!!!