There is nothing I love more than hearing about God’s faithfulness in the midst of difficult situations, and that’s exactly what today’s episode is all about. Shaq Hardy is a youth pastor in Chattanooga, TN who spent the first 10 years of his life in foster care. Today, he openly shares about his experience in multiple foster homes, the challenge of living with Reactive Attachment Disorder, the hope he so clearly found in Jesus, and so much more. And towards the end of our conversation, he even shares a piece of spoken word poetry he wrote to process his life experience. Shaq’s story alone is powerful, but his perspective is even more compelling. Listen in!
HERE ARE 3 TAKEAWAYS FROM TODAY’S CONVERSATION:
1. Foster care is not an easy journey for anyone involved, but there is so much good to celebrate in the community.
Shaq hopped around to many different homes. And while he did have some negative experiences in foster care and in his journey of navigating trauma that he shares about in today’s episode, most of his memories are very positive. From Christmas memories (which are his favorite) to the connection he formed with families to his introduction to Jesus, this was a reminder of the unique dance of hope and hurt that exists for children in this world called foster care.
“Most of my memories in foster care were actually really positive.”
2. Trauma is real, and it can begin at any age.
After Shaq’s biological mom told him he was a very good baby who never fussed, he discovered that was actually a sign of a problem. Shaq has lived his life with Reactive Attachment Disorder and shares about the struggle he has attaching to other people. He says, “A lot of things that normal people think about, I just don’t think about.”
“Me being such a quiet baby was a sign of a problem… I know now that problem is reactive attachment disorder.”
3. Jesus is our greatest hope.
Reminiscing about his last foster family before moving back in with his biological father, Shaq says, “If the doors of the church were open, we were there.” That wasn’t when he came to faith, but it laid a foundation that led to him accepting Christ soon after and forever shifting his perspective. Jesus wanted each of us so badly that He died for us. That truth alone contains the power to change each of us.
“I have no answer for why my mom didn’t want me, but I reconcile that by looking to the cross.”
Meet Our Guest
Shaq was in foster care for the first 10 years of his life. He’s originally from St. Mary’s, Georgia but his hometown is Jacksonville, NC. Shaq is currently a student at SEBTS in Wake Forest, NC, and he and his wife Rachael live in Chattanooga, TN where he serves as the student pastor at Brainerd Baptist Church. Connect with him at shaqhardy.com —
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