Lessons Learned in Lockdown

Chad Kaeb Profile
Article by Chad Kaeb
Development Director

2020 has definitely been a year that will not be easily forgotten, as the COVID-19 pandemic brought most of our lives to a screeching halt last spring. Though this year was filled with sickness, quarantine, isolation, chaos, and uncertainty, there were also plenty of opportunities to remind us that God is still in control. Our staff has had a front-row seat to witness that this year:

Kristi (Counseling): I was reminded of my fragility and all the things I need - people, consistency, and accountability. When I didn’t get those things, I was so quick to fall into negative behaviors. Shocking as it was, it was also humbling to see my constant need for grace and be reminded that grace was never affected by 2020.

Jesse (Residential): Closing Maple House and having an extra houseparent couple on campus was tough and disappointing. How would we fill their time? What was God’s plan with this? It wasn’t long before COVID was in the news and eventually on campus. Nathan and Michelle Braker have been a huge part of keeping Gateway Houses open, as whole houseparent teams came down with COVID. They have always been willing and able to step in. God provided us with an extra couple at just at the right time.

Justine (WillowBridge): One day, I had a really, really, really bad day. I felt like a failure as a mother. One of our tenants had reached out to me and said that she looks up to me as a strong mother figure and that her and her son appreciate me so much. That may seem small, but it was HUGE for me and warmed my heart.

Tim (WillowBridge): We really got to pour into our young adults, and see them grow spiritually this year. But most importantly, God has really provided and has shown me that if you truly walk in faith, you know that in all this chaos He won’t ever leave your side.

Michelle (Residential): Having church in a more intimate setting with the residents opened up more opportunity to talk, share, and discuss what really matters.

Cordin (LARC): I am thankful for relationships — relationships that fill my loneliness, stretch me, teach me, and that are redeemed through the beauty of God’s forgiveness.

Dan (Foster Care): The openness of so many people to share their struggles and being vulnerable during some truly difficult times has blessed me incredibly. It has encouraged me to be more steadfast in my own faith and see the power of allowing others into my own struggles.

Rachael (Residential): Quality time spent with teens and our children because they were home more.

Jon (PR) & Beth (Adoption): God provided for our family in a variety of ways, as well as being able to enjoy a slower, more family-focused lifestyle.

Bekah (WillowBridge): While we know a lot of couples who were undone by forced togetherness during the pandemic, our “forced togetherness” simply reminded us that working together is our favorite, and it rekindled purposeful prayers for us to be able to do something together full-time. God threw open the doors to come to WillowBridge in such an unmistakable way — and the whole time we were going through the application and interview process, we had no idea we were going to actually NEED a new job (Ryan was about to lose his). Through that, God reminded us that He had a plan way before we knew we needed one.

Shanna (Adoption): God really impressed upon me in a way I’ve never felt before the importance of gathering as a church and the impact (or loss of it) that can have on one’s spiritual health and connection with other believers. I’m grateful for the ability to “attend” church virtually, but there is no substitute for gathering as a collective body and worshipping together in person. It’s something I’ll never take for granted again.

What was an unexpected blessing for you in 2020?

Chad is currently the Development Director at Gateway Woods. He has also worked as a Houseparent.