Sunday, July 25, 2010

Shelly's Story

The following, is a story that was featured in the recent Safe Families newsletter. It is written by our very own Shelly Forte from Willow Creek McHenry.

Two years ago I felt God leading me to serve His "least of these". During this time, I kept hearing about the Lydia Home ministry of Safe Families, and wanted to learn more. I had heard stories about families volunteering to open their hearts and homes to children whose families were in crisis, and felt God tugging at my heart about the matter. We have four children of our own so when I talked to my husband about Safe Families, you might imagine how he reacted! He said it sounded like a good ministry...for possibly a different "season" of our lives. So I prayed about it, and waited. For about a year....and then I became restless about the idea of our being able to minister to children in need right in our own home, and what a blessing and teaching opportunity it could be for all of us. This was also about the time when we had made the decision for me to leave my full time job to stay home and home-school the girls. This decision meant things would become pretty stretched financially as we went down to one income, but we knew we were following God. Right about that time, during one of his announcements on Sunday our pastor made a brief mention of Safe Families, and I felt that was the final "whisper" from God on the matter.

After prayerful consideration, my husband and I decided together to faithfully follow God's prompting and to open up our home as a Safe Family. Our children were excited, and we just really felt led to the ministry.

Last summer we had our first Safe Families placement. Since then we have hosted seven children in our home. From six days old right from the hospital to three years old... from a 4-day placement to a 3-month placement and everything in between, we have been blessed by the opportunity to serve these children and families in such a profound yet simple way. These children have truly taught us so much more about ourselves, our faith, and how God provides, and I am so excited about this ministry coming to our church.

This ministry has challenged us, rewarded us, and reminded us of why we are here. Our children love this in-house ministry and have grown spiritually as a result. And finally most important, we are serving these families in a way that God has called us to.

It is our prayer that others will uncover how He plans to use them for His glory through this ministry also.

Shelly Forte'

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