“God sets the lonely in families…” (Psalm 68:6)

Sometimes God takes a deep longing of our hearts, a lost dream, and remolds it into something far beyond anything we can imagine. He certainly did that for me.

I always had wanted to be a wife and mother. I dreamed of the day I would have children of my own. When I became a Christian I prayed for a godly husband and children. God, however, had other plans for my life, and I remained single. Although the Lord has given me a full, purposeful life, and a loving church family, there was a void in my life as I watched my friends with their children and then, grandchildren. At times I yearned for the family I lacked.

In 2014 God brought into my life a young woman named Andie Regenfuss. We were both part of a women’s Bible study group. Along with the other women in the study I prayed the Lord would bless David and Andie with a baby, and I rejoiced when Andie told me she was pregnant. Little did I know how much this child would impact my life.

The day Andie came to my house to work on decorations for our table at the Christmas luncheon is etched in my memory. When we finished our work, she said, “I have something to ask you. Both David and my parents live outside the area. We’ve prayed about it, talked it over with our parents, and we would like you to be Grandma Judy for our baby.”

I don’t know if you can understand the joy I felt. From the moment I first held little Hailey in my arms, hours after her birth, the Lord has been teaching me new lessons about unconditional love.

As the months have passed, an incredible bond has developed between the two of us – far beyond anything I could have imagined. David and Andie have taken our unusual relationship and truly made me a part of their lives. Hailey’s birth grandparents have welcomed me into a loving, extended family.

Responsibilities come with the title “Grandma Judy.” I pray for Hailey as well as David and Andie daily. Offering spiritual and emotional support, and being there for David and Andie as well as Hailey, are important too. Spending time with Hailey is a high priority. I have a role in nurturing her spiritual growth and teaching her about Jesus. Of course, I look forward to fun grandma stuff such as baking cookies and tea parties.

Our church family includes a number of military families with children whose grandparents live far away. These children are missing out on the unique role grandparents can play in their lives when they live close by. These children and parents would benefit from the special love and support of a relationship with surrogate grandparents. I encourage seniors in any church, whether you have your own grandchildren or not, to adopt a family. It will bless your life and theirs.

As for me, I’m off to enjoy a playdate with Hailey.

For information about how to start an Adopt-A-Family ministry in your church, CLICK HERE.

Judy Gann is a retired librarian, speaker and writer living in Washington State where she is active at Lake City Community Church.  She is the author of  The God of All Comfort: Devotions of Hope for Those Who Chronically Suffer (AMG Publishers). Her most treasured role is that of Hailey’s Grandma Judy.

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