Upon deciding to do the Fellows program I knew I was about to experience a lot of change. I would have to do a lot of adapting, and put myself into unfamiliar situations. The one thing I was most unsure about was moving in with a host family. Going from living life as a college kid for four years to moving in with a family with two small kids was going to be a big leap. Of course, I had thoughts anyone would when entering into a situation like mine. Will they like me? Will we get along? How do I serve and love them like they are serving and loving me?
Let me just say, as far as host families go, I HIT THE JACKPOT!! When I walked into the Spires' home for the first time I was immediately relieved of all of my fears. Their house was warm and welcoming and I could instantly sense the presence of God in the way they interacted with each other. Upon meeting my host sister Camden, the first thing she said to me was "Our house is never this clean." My host brother Caleb was running around, talking a mile a minute telling me all about his most prized possessions: his monster trucks and his train set. From that moment I knew that we would get along. I cannot begin to describe how huge a blessing this sweet family has been to me.
Almost every morning I have a freshly made smoothie in the fridge awaiting me with a handwritten note wishing me a happy day! Not only does my host mom Kristina think about my needs, but she is one of the most genuine people I've ever met. It is so incredible to watch her be a mom and a wife, all while being an amazing friend and woman of God. Not only is she a rockstar to her kids, but she is always there to greet me with a smile and talk with me about literally anything. Shafer, my host dad, is also an all-star dad with a heart of gold. He is always imparting wisdom and is a firm, yet gentle leader for his family.
I am the youngest in my family, and haven't spent a lot of time with kids in my adult life, but living life with Camden and Caleb has been such an incredible experience. From playing butterflies and writing original songs for our band, The Lullaby Birds, Camden always keeps me on my toes. When Caleb is around the laughter never stops. A typical six-year-old boy, he is always moving, but his sweet spirit and joy for life are endlessly inspiring.
The Spires are real, honest, hard working, and most importantly they put God first in everything they do. They aren't perfect and they don't pretend to be. It is so sweet to see a godly marriage modeled for me, and watch as Kristina and Shafer take on life's challenges as a team. One thing I have learned during my time as a fellow is that life is about who you come home to and how you treat those around you. It is not about being the best or looking the most well put together. It's about dying to yourself and putting those you love first. Watching the way my host family loves each other and me is a constant reminder of God's love for us. He knows we aren't perfect, and that we will continue to fail but he loves us anyway. He loves us through our sin and our past mistakes. He listens, he's patient, and he endures. He has chosen us, messiness and all, and will never let us go.