Loving Well with Open Hearts and Open Hands - Ryan Hollingshead

My wife and I got licensed to be foster parents a few months ago and the second we were officially licensed, we were being called with potential matches. We quickly realized the process was not as easy as we thought, and we had to turn down a few kiddos that wouldn’t be a “good fit.” 

As a Christ-follower, it’s so hard to turn down an opportunity to help someone. We wanted to make it work each time, but we also had to be discerning and prayerful about what God wanted us to say “yes” to. In the end, we only have so much capacity to give; we need to be strategic with the capacity God gives us. We had to trust in the sovereignty of God and know that these children are ultimately in His all-capable hands. 

After saying “yes” to one newborn baby, who was then given to a different family who would care for her, we were chosen to care for a baby who was only three weeks old. This little girl, who had to be removed from an abusive environment, was placed in our care for four wonderful weeks. We had little to no information about her when she came into our home. We knew she was a baby girl, that was about it, but we were ready to unconditionally care for and love her. 

This sweet girl became part of our family instantly. We didn’t know how long she would be with us, or if she would stay forever, but for as long as she was in our home, she was part of the family — no strings attached and no requirements to be met. We were excited and ready to be a safe, loving family for her; we wanted to love her well. And after four weeks of doing this, she was able to be brought back to her grandparents, who had spent the month tirelessly preparing their own home and lifestyle to care for this child. 

It was hard to drop her off because we instantly fell in love with this baby, but we knew going in that Plan A is always to have a child with the family in which God placed them. She was given to this family for a reason and they were eager to care for her. God is the maker; He is the one who will be caring for and watching over this sweet girl, and we have to trust that His plan is perfect. As much as we may have wanted to be the ones to raise her, we were Plan B — a position we’re now ready to be in for another child. 

As God’s hands and feet, we are called to take care of the orphan and the widow, but ultimately we need to realize that God is the One who will bring justice; He is the One who will right what is wrong and remove sin and death from the earth. If we can save one or two babies in need, awesome! What a picture of the Kingdom of God coming here to earth as it is in Heaven! This only makes us yearn even more for the day the Lord will come and do this on a global scale — for all mankind.

What a mirror this is for the call of every Christ-follower. God wants us to serve without expecting anything in return — with no strings attached. We are not to serve with an agenda, but with a willing heart to just give. When we learn to love and trust the Lord with all our hearts, we can serve open-handedly, knowing His best will prevail. 

— Ryan Hollingshead, FC Dallas midfielder/defender

Ryan Hollingshead is a regular contributor to The Increase, providing monthly articles and opinions. Check out Ryan’s Increase profile: https://theincrease.com/author/ryan-hollingshead/ 

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