29 Oct An Invitation to Join the Family
Growing up, God graciously allowed me to be in a family that was whole, loving, and selfless.
I was able to see my parents care for us in ways that sometimes seemed so counterintuitive that I couldn’t help but see God through it. My dad worked hard and led the best he could. Even when he failed, it was accepted and humbly worked through. Personally, I always felt cared for, loved, and safe.
However, I know that is not always the case. I know kids live in homes that aren’t safe. I can’t begin to imagine what it would be like to live in a broken home as a little child—innocent and defenseless.
My family’s exposure to foster care and adoption is limited, but what I have seen has reflected God’s grace and love. My dad and his three siblings lost both parents in a car accident when he was seven. An older couple that knew the family adopted all four of them to prevent anyone from being separated. Then, they adopted five other children throughout the years.
My grandparents on the other side of my family were also an amazing example of God’s unconditional love and sacrifice. They taught me growing up that you give of yourself to those in need and you put others before yourself. They did this through their relationship with their granddaughter, my cousin. She was born into a tough situation where she never fully had a father figure around. Her mom had different relationships on and off and she had to do a lot of growing up very quickly. I was always able to keep a close relationship with her because of my grandparents’ sacrifice. They would pick her up more than two hours away every time my family was coming for a visit. They knew the impact spending time with my family would have on her life and wanted her to experience that. I can remember riding with my grandpa to go pick her up sometimes. I am now able to step back and see the big picture of her life and where she is now. I am thankful for the intentionality they had with her and how that has influenced me as I grew up around them.
“They taught me growing up that you give of yourself to those in need and you put others before yourself.”
To me, fostering and adoption are some of the clearest ways we can reflect Christ. Experiencing the ways my relatives have been intentional about caring for others has influenced and urged me to pursue fostering. Seeing Grace Church give such attention to this need has made it impossible to ignore God’s desire for us to serve in this way. These kids need someone to pull them out of the depths of despair and show them unconditional love. God sent his son to die for us while we were still sinning against him. We did nothing and can never do anything to deserve his love, yet he took us into his family because he loves us.
We chose over a year ago to begin fostering with the intent to be the safe place children need until they can hopefully go back with their biological families. If that doesn’t become possible our home is always open.
“We did nothing and can never do anything to deserve his love, yet he took us into his family because he loves us.”
For me, as the leader of our home, to open our home for children in need is the best way I know how to reflect God’s character. Fostering isn’t always easy. We are in the first year of our first placement and it’s emotional. It’s tiresome. But it is so rewarding. I love getting to come alongside my wife and love on this little guy. I look forward to how God will use us in the lives of children and how these children will teach us.
-Brady Hollenbeck, Travelers Rest Campus
To find out more about the Foster & Adopt ministry at Grace Church, join us at this week’s event, A Night of Stories and Equipping, on November 1, 2018. To learn more, please visit www.gracechurchsc.org/fosteradoptevent