A Calling to Come Home
By Catherine Finch
“He has told you, O man, what is good; and what does the Lord require of you but to do justice, and to love kindness, and to walk humbly with your God?” – Micah 6:8 (ESV)
James and Carol McClure’s first interaction with Baptist Home for Girls (BHG) was driving by the sign on their way to Dallas.
“I remember driving by and thinking, ‘Wow, that’s neat, I wonder what that is,’” said Carol.
Early on in life, James knew the Lord was leading him to serve in ministry and in the church.
Before the McClures came to BHG, he served as a deacon and an associate pastor. He thought they might end up as missionaries overseas. He had no idea God would call them to minister and move across the state.
Carol had always liked her previous jobs. However, in the months before they applied to be houseparents, Carol’s job became increasingly miserable for her. She was confused because this had never happened before, but she knew the Lord was leading her to pursue something else.
“Once we started serving as houseparents at BHG, I knew this is exactly where the Lord had wanted us to be all along,” said James. “This is where we were supposed to end up.”
The McClures have four boys of their own and no daughters. Carol had always wanted daughters and granddaughters, and to have a home full of girls was a dream come true. The McClures are candid about the hardships of raising a house full of teenage girls with individual pasts and struggles, but they are quick to point out the joy in their calling.
“It is hard, but the blessings are tremendous,” said Carol. “Getting to be a part of these girls’ stories is amazing.”
During their time as houseparents, Carol and James moved back to their hometown to be with Carol’s parents as they battled terminal illnesses and needed care. It was hard for them to leave BHG, but once they returned, the girls were a tremendous comfort in ways Carol did not expect.
“I feel like the girls here help me as much as I help them,” said Carol. “Moving back to BHG after we lost my parents was hard. However, the girls taught me a lot about grief and what it’s like to be away from parents. I found the girls would comfort me as I cared for them.”
The McClures understand that it takes time and intentional moments to build relationships with the girls. They pay attention to the girls’ likes and dislikes, how they process and how they respond to the family atmosphere in the house.
“We want them to feel known while they’re here,” added Carol. “We want our home to feel like a family atmosphere as much as possible.”
The McClures also understand that no matter how stable and loving of an environment they provide, the girls they minister to have stories and pasts that are hard to leave behind.
“We try to keep in touch with as many girls as we can once they leave,” said James. “Sometimes they might be doing great and succeeding, but sometimes they might not be. It’s a part of this ministry we have come to understand. We can’t make their decisions for them. What we can do is model a God-honoring relationship and what it looks like to follow Christ.”
The McClures believe that being a houseparent is a calling, and their ultimate goal is to introduce the girls in their care to the gospel. They stressed the importance of providing a safe place for the girls and the need they have for godly parental figures.
Their calling is not without sacrifice – the McClures have six grandchildren whom they are very close to, and they miss being a consistent part of their lives.
“Even on the really hard days, I still feel like we’re called to be here,” said Carol. “I just have a peace knowing we are where God is calling us to be. This is our home.”