I am so excited to introduce you all to one of my dear friends who has inspired me with her life. She was my last roommate before I got married and we got to spend a short, but beautiful, year serving God together in the city of Denver.
Since then, she has come back to Denver after going home to Texas for a bit, and is serving in a new capacity at the same organization where we met.
I am so thankful for her audacity to do the things God has called her to do, and after catching up with her during my time in Colorado, I couldn’t help but ask her to share with you all the amazing things God has placed on her heart.
Brittany! Tell us a little about yourself!
I’m 22 years old, and currently living in downtown Denver. I’m originally from Texas, but have been here on and off for the last 3 years. I’m the current Associate Director for a Christian non-profit, and I really love it!
What sparked your interest to work in inner city Denver?
I was starting my junior year of college at the time, and I just knew that God was calling me to take a break. I have always had such a passion for missions and social justice, so when I first learned about Center for Student Missions, I thought it would be a great job to combine all of the things that I loved. I wouldn’t say that at the time I had any special interest in the inner city. In fact, coming from such a small town, the city overwhelmed me. God quickly changed my heart though and made me fall in love with all things Denver.
Tell us about your work in Denver and some of the challenges people face living in the city.
I’m the Associate City Director for an organization called Center for Student Missions, or CSM. We are a faith-based non-profit, that brings students in from all over the country to provide a learning and service-based mission trip in downtown Denver. We work with all kinds of ministries and people from rescue missions, to the homeless, refugees, senior adults, motel ministries, soup kitchens, after school programs, and many more. Our goal is that students and adults that come on our trips will know Jesus, his heart for the city and its people, and how they can serve their community at home. And that we can show Jesus and the way he loves his people through relationship building and holistic ministry with the people we are serving.
The people living in Denver are facing so many challenges. This time of year, the most obvious becomes lack of housing and weather. Denver has some outrageous rental rates right now, and affordable housing has become obsolete. Section 8 housing waiting lists are around two or three years long. So we have a growing number of people becoming homeless each day. Denver also has a lack of overnight shelter for all of these people. Though the city uses gyms and warehouses in the winter for added shelter space, until the city builds more shelter beds, there will be more and more people on the streets.
What is the most rewarding thing about your work in Denver?
I really love everything about my work in Denver. The most rewarding thing I’ve found lately is the discipleship and mentorship I get to engage in with my staff. We hire 2 year-long interns in the fall, a seasonal intern in the spring, and five more in the summer. I have loved getting to build relationships and invest deeper into the lives of those I get to work with each day. These are the interns that are working directly with each of the students and leaders that come through, so it’s important to make sure they are growing as well.
You recently began the process to become a foster parent. Tell us more about your heart behind this decision and the journey God has brought you and your family through.
As long as I can remember, my mom has always said that she wanted more children. It wasn’t until almost 2 years ago, that she decided a good way to do that was to become a foster parent. I have spent many months, both still living in Texas and every time I come home, helping my mom take care of her babies. That’s when my heart started to change as well.
She received her fist baby, Braven, when he was just 3 months old. Braven stayed in our family’s care until a couple of moths ago. He is now living at my Aunt and Uncle’s house and they are going through the process of adoption. I look forward to the day when we get to sit him down and tell him about all the ways God used him to change lives. My cousin and her husband are foster parents and are hoping to adopt their foster children. My aunt and uncle with Braven have a child they were not able to have on their own. My other aunt and uncle are also foster parents. My grandparents are finishing up their final foster parent classes. 3 families in my hometown are now registered foster families, and many are planning to adopt their kids as well.
This is where my passion comes from as well. One giggly, blue-eyed, sweet, little boy has changed the lives of so many people.
My parents have now had 5 infants, and I’m sure many more to come.
What are you most looking forward to as a foster parent and what makes you the most nervous?
I’m sure that most people can agree that it only takes one moment to change the entire course of your life. I want to be that moment for these babies. I want to spend all the time in the world praying over them, going to battle with the Lord over their futures. I don’t know if they will have many people in their lives encouraging and loving them, but I will, in the time I have them. That’s what I’m most looking forward to. The thing I’m most nervous about is the lack of support I’ll have. Don’t get me wrong, I have lots of people supporting me. I guess I just always saw the husband coming before the baby, and I’d love to have family close by.
You’re young, single, and starting a new career, why is this a good season for you to become a foster parent?
The truth is, there is no such thing as a good season to become a foster parent. Taking care of someone else’s kids will always be inconvenient. I just decided that my goal in life is to be as inconvenienced as possible, to be used as much as possible, by God. I look forward to very little sleep, frustrating phone calls asking my mom for advice, poopy diapers, runny noses, and all of the other moments of loving on sweet babies.
How have people responded when you tell them your plans for becoming a foster parent?
I have had mostly positive reactions. The people that know me best are supportive and know that I never back down on God’s call for my life. I have had many negative reactions as well. I think people are concerned for my social and dating life mostly. The good news is that I serve a God who is capable of turning crazy decisions into life changing opportunities.
What are some common misconceptions about foster care?
I think the biggest misconceptions are that you have to be a certain age, or have to stay home and not work, or have to have crazy amounts of time set aside for fostering. The truth is, anyone can do this, at any time in their life, not matter what you have going on. If I can do this, anyone can!
What message do you want to convey to your future foster children?
Since I was little, I’ve always said that I want to love people, and tell them about Jesus. I want to teach my foster kids that there is a God who loves them. That no matter what life choices their earthly parents have made, they have a Heavenly Father who has made the choice to die for them because they mean that much to him. That God has huge plans for their little lives. That I spent every night they were with me praying over them and loving them more than they could ever know.
Any final words of wisdom to inspire our readers to follow the unique calling God has placed on each of our lives?
I’ve always loved, and honestly lived, the saying “God doesn’t call the equipped, He equips the called.” When you know that God is calling you to something, don’t hesitate, don’t question, just go. In my life that usually means looking crazy to everyone else, but that’s ok. You will see God do more in your life and the lives of those around you if you just obey.