Archives for Dawn M.

Rooted and Built Up

On March 17th and 18th, Cedar Rapids was blessed to host a Beth Moore Live conference; a faith gathering of over 2,500 women. Bridgehaven received several tickets for clients who wanted to attend.

Beth Moore does 12 yearly conferences and extensively prays and studies specifically for the community and women she will be teaching. Each conference is unique and dependent on the leading of the Holy Spirit. When Beth was praying and preparing for the Cedar Rapids Live event, she received the message of “Taking root in the family tree of God.” As a Bridgehaven community, we were thrilled to receive a great confirmation of our mission and vision through this event.

Rooted for Life

As we celebrate and settle in to our new space for Client Support, I want to draw your attention to the fresh identity, appeal and heartbeat of Client Support: being “Rooted for Life.” Cheryl Klopfenstein, Client Support Assistant, blessed us with her creative art skills and brought to life a vision of “strength” in the Rooted for Life mural (shown above). It is our desire and prayer that you would experience and encounter love and establish a firm, rooted faith foundation in Jesus. – Excerpt from January 2016 Good News (Client Publication)

“Let your roots grow down into him, and let your lives be built on him. Then your faith will grow strong in the truth you were taught, and you will overflow with thankfulness.” Col. 2:7

The foundation scripture Beth Moore used to illustrate how to be rooted in the measureless love of Jesus is from Ephesians 3:16-19 of The Voice translation:

“Father, out of Your honorable and glorious riches, strengthen Your people. Fill their souls with the power of Your Spirit so that through faith the Anointed One will reside in their hearts. May love be the rich soil where their lives take root. May it be the bedrock where their lives are founded so that together with all of Your people they will have the power to understand that the love of the Anointed is infinitely long, wide, high, and deep, surpassing everything anyone previously experienced. God, may Your fullness flood through their entire beings.”

I would like to share some personal feedback from our Bridgehaven clients who attended the Beth Moore Live conference…

Share about your experience from the Beth Moore conference:
“I love it. It was a great experience. Her message was so powerful. Her words were impactful and enlightening.”

“It was extremely encouraging and a call for a new beginning, a new walk with Christ!”

“My experience was great! Beth is so relatable and I felt like she was speaking right to me the whole time. Everyone was positive and loving. The whole atmosphere was great. I would love to go again.”

“It was simply amazing! I really had to think about my roots, my family tree. I felt overwhelmed with this feeling of warmth and I just knew I was where I belonged!”

What touched your heart from the message?
“Beth’s candor and honesty but also a new way to read my bible. My current to-do list includes reading the books of Matthew and Ephesians from beginning to end.”

“When she talked about going to our deepest root and uprooting it so that we can create fruit and live a healthy life.”

“The children. Now I’m sponsoring a young boy in Central America!” (Compassion)

“The personal stories. The woman who had the chronic illnesses; how her faith is struggling and watching everyone pray over the women who needed prayer.”

What did you learn from the Beth Moore conference?
“To focus on my deepest root. That I need to work down before I can build up.”

“I realized this before but if felt like a confirmation from God that all I needed was really the love of God, nothing else matters.”

“That God has been there since the beginning.”

How are you moving forward from the teachings?
“Moving forward, I am resolved to live a life of praise, to worship God in the good and bad times. At the root of everything is knowing and staying aware that God loves.”

“Trying to live a more honest life.”

“I’ve been praying more, reading at least 10 minutes a day.”

“More bible studies. More time with God. Working on my personal relationship.”

Thank you to those of you that donated tickets to the Beth Moore conference for our clients. Lives were changed. Connections were made. God was exalted!

Dawn Michaels

Dawn Michael

Director of Client Support

An Answer to Prayer

Dawn Michael, Director of Client Support, and Kay Baskerville, a Bridgehaven volunteer, share a recent story of God’s amazing provision for a client in the video below:

For more information about Mary’s Inn, visit their web page.

We Are a Family of 6

“We are a family of 6; we have been married for 1 and a half years and together for 5 and a half years. We have a 10 year-old son, 9 year-old son, and 6 month-old twins. We learned about Bridgehaven through a friend who attended Earn While You Learn classes. Our friend knew of our struggle with having new twins; the financial burden, the emotional depletion, and the lack of support. Our friend encouraged us to sign up for classes and receive the material benefits, as she shared her personal testimony of value from Bridgehaven.

My husband works and has a good job, but we don’t qualify for assistance. We are above the line to receive some assistance. We live paycheck to paycheck and our money is tight. We needed something to help ease the burden of having twins. We would spend $30 or more a week just on diapers.

We didn’t know what to expect coming into Client Support at Bridgehaven but we signed up for a cooking class together. I learned so much about my husband from the cooking class, as we were able to cook side-by-side. In our home, one parent is cooking while another parent is with the kids.

Being a single dad, before marriage, I didn’t have a lot of cooking skills. We just got by but through the class I learned more cooking skills that are healthy for my family and makes my wife happy. I enjoy cooking and providing for my family.

We are so thankful for Bridgehaven. We consider our classes at Bridgehaven our “date night.” We are able to have a break from our kids and also from caring for my dad; I am becoming his primary caregiver. We trust the people at Bridgehaven’s Children’s ministry to care for our twins. We don’t worry about their care while we are in class. We know they are being cared for. Our daughter had acid reflux and it was stressful seeing her suffer. I received some great advice from the Children’s Ministry Coordinator that helped reduce her reflux.

We have learned so much about each other through the classes and Wellsprings(1). We do our own Wellspring reflection, then share and talk about what we wrote. There have been times when I have been in tears in the Wellspring room; tears of thankfulness for my husband and seeing the need I have of sharing that more with him. I really do appreciate him and need to tell him more.

We really enjoy the classes, Wellsprings, and Service Learning Projects(2). We are people that love to give back and doing the Service Learning Projects in Client Support help us feel useful and serve a larger purpose and it allows us to give back to a place that has helped us in so many ways.

I encourage young and new dads to come into the EWYL program with an open mind, to not be discouraged, and to know you can learn a lot here. You can learn how to provide for your family, talk to others in class, and it helps provide financial relief.”


(1) Wellsprings are a 30-minute reflective exercise using different spiritual disciplines. Bridgehaven implemented Wellsprings as an additional means of evangelism and to introduce people to various ways of experiencing and knowing God personally. They are meant to fill, refresh, saturate, and encourage all of our clients.

(2) Service Learning projects are hands-on projects (another component of Wellspring) for those clients to have a spiritual pathway of service. Clients participate in the organizing of food and clothing items correlated to Client Support. Examples (Sorting socks, labeling food, bagging items, etc.) It’s a tactical means of engaging, empowering, and using client’s gifts and skill sets to give back to a ministry that has poured into their lives. We are seeing a personal fulfillment and desire to serve others more through these various outlets.

God is creative in touching our lives and we are so blessed to see miracles, transformation, and growth happen in so many lives!

Leading Many to Righteousness

shineEach semester we choose class topics and materials for our Earn While You Learn program prayerfully and strategically. The class schedule is laid out to empower clients with knowledge that will promote healthy families and relationships, emotional health, and spiritual truth.

Our exciting and abundant fall class lineup exemplifies all of these vision points for Client Support. Let me introduce you to just a few of our classes and how they are initiating a journey of personal, cultural, and generational reformation.

“Reformation, like education, is a journey, not a destination.” Mother Jones

Screen Time

This class focuses on healthy family guidelines surrounding technology usage and exposure and is especially relevant in today’s society. Our class instructor, Jasmin, teaches the effects of technology on neurological development in children and identifies common myths of technology while helping parents to establish truth, safety, and fun parameters in using technology.

A client taking this class says she has recognized the value of “play” and “interaction” with her children. Prior to this class, her children would watch videos of other children playing. The parent purchased the toys in the video and realized her children lacked skills of play and enjoyed watching other kids play. What a turning point for this family and for generations to come!

His Story

Jo, one of our long-time instructors, is teaching this 10-lesson topical study covering fundamental beliefs and practices of the Christian faith. This class provides biblical answers to life’s most important questions, including “Who is God?”, “How can we be saved?” and “How shall we then live?” It is designed for believers at all stages of growth.

Clients in this class are excited about learning how to look up scriptures and how to apply the Bible’s truth to life issues. Clients are posting scripture in their homes and teaching their children about God’s truth!

Buy. Eat. Live with ISU Extension

This new partnership and class with ISU is a 9-week course taught by Donna, focused on learning how to budget and make healthy meals for the family. Donna teaches food safety, how to meal plan, provide new recipes for families that are healthy, cost efficient and broaden ideas of cooking with fruits and vegetables.

Dare to Discipline

Sandra teaches this class designed to help parents lead their children through the tough job of growing up. This practical, reassuring class teaches parents how to meet their children’s needs of love, trust, affection and discipline.

Several clients have recently encountered Jesus in a profound “first love” experience. They are learning, growing, and walking out their faith through parenting and asking great questions. This has led to a follow-up discipleship class.

IPAK (Influential Parents Accountable Kids)

Pastor Mark does a great job of teaching IPAK, which is based on the Love and Logic parenting approach. Love and Logic is a process by which children grow through their mistakes and learn from the consequences of their choices. There are two basic rules in Love & Logic:

  1. Set firm limits in loving ways without anger, lecture, threats or repeated warnings.
  2. Set limits using enforceable statements, regard mistakes as learning opportunities, and resist the temptation to nag.
Prenatal

Joy is teaching a 13-week condensed version of our 22-week curriculum that covers the entire length and development of pregnancy, labor, delivery, birth, and breast/formula feeding. We celebrate and honor those in the class with a group baby shower on the last day of class. Those that qualify through attendance, can receive a crib or car seat. Bridgehaven is very pleased to be able to offer this level of gift made possible through a grant.

Baby Basics

This 8-week course led by Cindy goes through a baby’s first 12 months of life including social, physical, and emotional developments. Topics include: teething and colic, when to introduce foods, sleep, and home safety, infant massage and sign language. A guest sleep consultant shares helpful practices to help establish routines.

Conversational English

This course is for international clients who desire to learn the written and spoken English language. Our instructor, Shawna, uses creative means to demonstrate and teach American culture as well as learn customs, values, social situations, history and holidays.

ESL

English as a second language is for our Hispanic clients. Lilana teaches the written and spoken English language and also teaches a bible study in Spanish.

Clients in both ESL and Conversational English have graduated and are employed!

Dawn Michaels

Dawn Michael

Director of Client Support

“Be a Blessing Project” Report

We had a great outcome for the 2016 “Be a Blessing Project.” Let’s continue the momentum with prayer!

Client Support and those associated and connected with Bridgehaven have been planning, preparing, and praying for our “Be a Blessing Project” for several months. The “Be a Blessing Project” was our annual back to school supply drive, which we held on Wednesday August 10th. We collected basic school supplies for those entering kindergarten through high school.

We had a great turn out and enjoyed the privilege of witnessing firsthand the level of impact on lives.

“For the Lord your God has blessed you in all the work of your hands.” Deuteronomy 2:7

Overall, we served 46 families and a total of 102 kids for the 2016-17 school year! We had a total of 13 faithful volunteers share their gifts of organization, compassion, gentleness, and support during this influential event. What a joyful impact of Kingdom legacy!

Peace, peace to you, and peace to your helpers! 1 Chronicles 12:18

The clients that participated in the “Be a Blessing Project” commented on how thankful they were for the school supplies. They also took away much more than physical goods. Clients experienced and encountered sincere love, kindness, and peace from the ministry volunteers, as well as from each other. I saw volunteer clerks shine as beams of light, radiating the love and presence of Jesus, as they helped ease anxiety and fear by supporting and coming alongside clients through practical means offering spiritual and emotional support. Smiles, hugs, thanksgiving, appreciation, and excitement filled the atmosphere of Client Support, as people came together, united on a Kingdom mission.

As these children have already started the school year, may we keep them lifted and covered in prayer. I believe God is desiring to raise up a powerful generation that will be filled with His Spirit. I encourage you to continue this momentum of Kingdom goodness by joining me in praying over children and declaring the promises of God into their lives.

My personal prayer over this generation of children and youth is this:

“May all children be filled with the Spirit of God; with skill, ability, and know-how, according to God’s will for their lives. May they exercise these gifts and abilities for the building up and expansion of the Kingdom of God. May their God-given influence cross cultural and secular barriers and break through to new levels and lands of promise that have not happened in the past. May they grow and be raised up, like Samuel, in the presence of the Lord and articulate to leaders; God’s direction, heart, and wisdom in all matters. May God give them knowledge and intelligence in every branch of literature and wisdom along with the ability and desire to understand, problem-solve, and interpret mysteries and complex manners. May all children and youth be of righteous character and demonstrate goodness to the oppressed and abide in peace in the midst of unsettling times.”


7 Prayers to Say for your Children

Here are powerful communication tools for the journey of engagement, learning, and connection with children. I pray these conversation starters will open up opportunities for parents and leaders to lay a biblical foundation and application for children. May these tools also aid in relationship building, adding enrichment in conversation, and help lead the way for knowledge, awareness, and reflection.

Questions to ask Kids

Thank you to everyone who has, and is, contributing goodness, prayers, time, money, resources, and service to make this love project happen at such a level of Kingdom success and love!

As one body, united!

Dawn Michaels

Dawn Michael

Director of Client Support

Be A Blessing Project

blessing project
God cares about the process of preparation and learning and the impact of giving. Genesis 12:2 highlights a covenant promise of God; blessing us so that we share the blessing covenant with others.

We are preparing for the Back to School season. In a short time, advertisers will start promoting the latest school fashions and shopping centers will have local school lists on display. This preparation season, leading up to the start of a new school year, can be met with excitement or discouragement. Factors including finances, stress, routines, deadlines, and relationships can affect the level of enthusiasm or discouragement experienced by many families.

In the past decade, a legacy of support, encouragement and provision has enriched the lives of parents and children heading back to school for those in our Earn While You Learn program. Bridgehaven Client Support collects donated basic school supplies to support our active clients in the Earn While You Learn program.

Last year, it cost an elementary student an average of $649, middle schooler, $941, and high schooler, $1402, for school supplies and extracurricular items. The desired outcome and prayer for this Blessing Project is to ease the financial burden and stress for families, to promote community connectedness and establish Kingdom demonstrations of God’s goodness. One current client shares her testimony of the financial burden that is lifted from her shoulders, as she knows that Bridgehaven can help her family be prepared and equipped for school.

In 2015, Client Support was blessed abundantly with donations that allowed us to serve all of our clients that signed up for the distribution which included 54 moms and 117 kids. A majority of the children blessed were in elementary, which is the academic age where children begin to dream of their futures and see themselves equipped for their future callings.

Last year, we even had an unexpected donation of a graphing calculator. We held a drawing for the calculator which was open to eligible high school students that had a need. The family that received the calculator was abundantly blessed and thankful for this timely and unexpected gift! The mom of the high school student who received the calculator, shared that she is very thankful for all that Bridgehaven does; if it wasn’t for that gift, her son would have gone without a proper calculator. But with this provision, he was able to be focused on learning with no fear of lack or ridicule from peers. That act of love demonstrates the level of impact and support that flows in and out of Bridgehaven.

Another level of impact of this Blessing Project is the volunteer service in making this project possible. Last year, 6 volunteers logged 11 hours of service that included: set up, organizing, pre-packaging, shopping and tear down. This level of service does not go unnoticed at Bridgehaven or from our Father who ranges His eyes to and fro over His people (2 Chronicles 16:9). My desire is for all children to be burden-free and confident in knowing all of their needs will be met according to God’s glory and riches! This is an element of establishing Kingdom demonstrations of God’s goodness and covenant, as people are moved in radical love and show others that Love looks like something tangible.

If you would like to contribute to the love legacy for the 2016-2017 school year, please bring donations to Client Support at Bridgehaven by 3:00pm on Friday August 5th. Click here for a list of the basic school supplies needed for the 2016-2017 school year.

Dawn Michaels

Dawn Michael

Director of Client Support

Enlarging Our Territory

client support

“Oh, that you would bless me and enlarge my territory! Let your hand be with me…”
1 Chronicles 4:10

We have been in our new Client Support area (former Treasures Store space) since the end of February 2016. One of our goals with this remodel was to improve our client experience. Now that we have several months in this new space and are settled, we asked our volunteers for feedback on the changes that have been made.

Q. Share some personal insight on the new Client Support space.

  • “We certainly put our best foot forward for our clients and I believe that pleases God.”
  • “Clients love it, we love it! We love the look, decorations, and rooted tree.”
  • “Love the new improved space! Storage space is an improvement, room for more and ease of use.”
  • “I like the window for natural sunlight and to see the clients come so we can help at the door.”
  • “We do “let our little light shine” and we surely “don’t hide it under a bushel.”
  • “The more I make their shopping personable, the more they appreciate and give back smiles.”

Q. How do you see the expanded space has improved our ministry?

  • “Clients have more space to be able to shop for their families more effectively. Providing such a nice space shows the clients respect, which in turn promotes appreciation and more interest in what we have to offer.”
  • “All materials are easy to see and find.”
  • “It is more open and more accommodating for clients. We are able to stock more and provide more food options. All this and His loving care and education they receive from our support staff/instructors encourage them to invite their friends and family.”
  • “It looks more like a convenience store…come and see.”
  • “The positive feedback from staff, volunteers, and clients is a testimony of what God is doing thru Bridgehaven. For the staff and volunteers, the new space has allowed us to better serve the women.”
  • “Volunteers and clients don’t feel so cramped and it makes it so much easier to serve the clients. It is a more positive experience for them.”
  • “It has helped incredibly! We love the new space and extra room for storing all our food and specialty items.”
  • “More efficient, welcoming space, attractive, less stress for volunteers, staff, and clients. Clients don’t have to wait as long for their turn to shop, hence less time out of their day. We are able to receive more donations.”

Q. Where do you see God leading Client Support?

  • “He is using the ministry to reach more and more people. They learn from the classes and are helped with their needs.”
  • “Opening new doors, allowing Bridgehaven to expand our current outreach.”
  • “I see growth for clients and an increase of blessings on them and on Cedar Rapids. We are bathed in prayer and sustained by His people.”
  • “To support, influence, and partner with greater number of families in our community for healing (spiritually and physically) as we personally pray with clients each week. I believe God is touching hearts as He feeds them and their children, as He relieves financial stress from their lives, and as they feel our love for each of them; individually caring about them as a person not as a project.”
  • “I see no end to what God can do for Client Support. The ministry is genuine and I can see the clients from week to week grow in their spiritual lives and share stories of what is going on in their life.”

Q. What have you seen that has caused you to praise God?

    IMG_4180

  • “I’ve seen friendship and smiles among clients grow.”
  • “I’ve been blessed by the clients and it’s been my privilege to serve them. It was so neat when the new area was opened to see the reaction of the clients. It was like seeing “Disney” for the first time.”
  • “I helped a client pray for her father-in-law.”
  • “I love seeing how God provides so much for this ministry. Blessed to be a part of this!”
  • “Praise the Lord, a client mentioned a fellow classmate was having difficulty and was looking out for her!”
  • “It’s thrilling when an instructor lets us know a client has trusted Jesus. Her salvation and family being led by her is truly a blessing.”
  • “Clients tell us thank you over and over. They are happy for the things they receive and happy to see us each week. I was gone one week and they noticed it and said they missed me. It is amazing the donations we receive from stores and individuals.”
  • “I love being able to pray with clients…some have had accidents at work and need physical healing…some have worries and concerns about finances…some just want to feel others care about their family/situation and they aren’t alone…Jesus is healing them and I get to be a part of that…so cool!”
  • “I see the women conversing with each other more in this space then I did before. I have also been able to have conversations differently; feels more welcoming, inviting, and loving.”
  • “When moms who’ve recently had a baby and have been referred to Bridgehaven for a layette, arrive to pick it up, they are intrigued about the “store.” They will comment about it and that opens the door to explaining that they too can “shop” once a week, as they take classes. That leads them to ask questions about class topics/options which usually elicits an amazed response about the wide variety offered. And that is how God directs some of our clients to us!”

We praise God for this new area and the blessing it has been to both clients and volunteers. We thank our donors who have made this possible.

Dawn Michaels

Dawn Michael

Director of Client Support

The Yes in our Hearts…

eternityLast week in staff prayer, I shared from the book Through the Storms by Tony Cook. The new revelation from this book inspired me to seek after a deeper truth and application of James 1:2-5 and to begin consciously choosing joy, faith, patience, and wisdom in the midst of trials. This combined with the encouragement I received from the new song by Lindy Conant and the Circuit Riders, Take Courage, has caused my heart to shout, “There is a Yes in me for you Jesus!”

“Consider it nothing but joy, my brothers and sisters, whenever you fall into various trials. Be assured that the testing of your faith [through experience] produces endurance [leading to spiritual maturity, and inner peace]. And let endurance (patience) have its perfect result and do a thorough work, so that you may be perfect and completely developed [in your faith], lacking in nothing. If any of you lacks wisdom [to guide him through a decision or circumstance], he is to ask of [our benevolent] God, who gives to everyone generously and without rebuke or blame, and it will be given to him.” James 1:2-5 (AMP)

I’m encouraged with the new revelation of this powerful strategy. I will decide now to purposefully say “yes” to having the courage to choose joy, faith, patience, and wisdom even when my natural man wants to lay down and sink into self-pity and despair. Our Father does not want us to just survive the storm, but mount up with Him, as we are seated with Him in heavenly realms. All authority has been given to His people. May we keep our eyes focused on Jesus and tenaciously seek after His will and respond with a “Yes that carries through eternity.”

I have learned, through personal trials, that when I choose to pull down every thought that tries to set itself against the Word and promises of God, I have the opportunity to know Jesus in a more profound and deeper way. My mind and emotions are renewed as I experience eternal transformation into the image of Jesus. Refined faith and confidence bubbles up with knowing Jesus is who He says He is and I am not forsaken. Joy surfaces, knowing there is an eternal process occurring and I will overcome the trial because of the blood of the Lamb and by the word of the developing testimony.

Martin Luther said, “Faith is the ‘Yes’ in our heart.” May we be encouraged and purposeful in saying, “Yes” to pressing into joy, faith, wisdom, and patience. May we declare, “Yes, I choose to follow you Lord even when situations rise up against me.” May we always carry with us the courage to say, “My King has conquered every mountain top.”

Dawn Michael, Director of Client Support

Dawn Michael

Director of Client Support

Waves of Influence: Families United

Quote

“Be of the same mind towards one another.” Romans 12:6

A unique privilege of being a part of the ministry at Bridgehaven includes meeting courageous men and women who are “about positive change” through family support. I recently interviewed a client who has created a group called FAMILIES UNITED. Sarah Hammond, President and Founder of FAMILIES UNITED, and several other Bridgehaven clients, have joined together in the formation, vision, and logistics of FAMILIES UNITED. This is a wonderful example of the “waves of influence” going out from Bridgehaven to positively impact other families in our community. Sarah shares her story.

Dawn: How did you become aware of Bridgehaven and what have you experienced through our Earn While You Learn program?
Sarah: I was new to Iowa in 2015 and I was going through a divorce, I needed support. A friend told me about Bridgehaven and I made an appointment. My first class was on “Surrender” with Robbin. The class was small and I quickly developed great friendships with several others in class.

Sarah Hammond

Sarah Hammond, President and Founder of FAMILIES UNITED

I don’t know where I would be without the support of Bridgehaven. I have grown a lot and met people that have been a great support in my life.

Dawn: What is FAMILIES UNITED?
Sarah: FAMILIES UNITED’ mission is to decrease poverty, domestic abuse, DHS involvement and instability for all families in the community. We want to reach out to the moms in the community and their families to offer support, activities, and referrals that they may not be getting from their own family or in the community. We also want to provide them with a family-like setting so that they will have a “home away from home.”

FAMILIES UNITED is an entity that has 3 branches: DADS UNITED, TEENS UNITED and MOMS UNITED.

MOMS UNITED is the most intense program we offer with a Big Sister program. Our Big Sisters are mothers that have struggled in one way or another and have become survivors. Our Big Sisters share their wisdom, knowledge, and community resources with others. The members have the opportunity to reach out to the Big Sisters outside of the meetings for carpooling, advice, or a listening ear.

“When you get into a tight place and everything goes against you, till it seems as though you could not hang on a minute longer, never give up then, for that is just the place and time that the tide will turn.” ~Harriet Beecher Stowe

Dawn: Share the history or inspiration behind MOMS UNITED.
Sarah: My adoptive family modeled and imparted helping others; this got me interested in human services. Over the years, I have observed that there was something missing in support groups which made it easy for me to create FAMILIES UNITED. Jane Boyd endorsed FAMILIES UNITED and termed it a “grassroots effort to develop successful and productive adults.”

Dawn: How do people become involved?
Sarah: Email momsunitedcr@gmail.com or visit Momssarahann on Facebook.

Dawn Michael, Director of Client Support

Dawn Michael

Director of Client Support

A Mind and Heart to Work: Hand Me Another Brick

Nehemiah 4:6
What is the “work?” What has the work been? What should the work be now? What is the wall?

These questions were posed to us at the Care Net National Conference this year by Roland Warren, Care Net President. These questions were meant to provoke current examination and future vision as related to the mission, function, and heart of pregnancy resource centers around America.

A “Nehemiah illustration” helped bring revelation, clarification and understanding of what God is calling us to in this next season: Vision, unity, re-evaluating, and work.

Roland Warren led us into reflection of the heart and determination of Nehemiah; to see the wall rebuilt in Jerusalem. Upon hearing the news of the wall and gates being destroyed, we read that Nehemiah “sat down and wept and mourned for days and fasted and prayed [constantly] before the God of heaven.” (Nehemiah 1:4).

During those days of sitting, weeping, and fasting I imagine Nehemiah reflected upon the condition of the wall and what that meant for the future of Israel. The thoughts of loss of vision, protection, growth and hope for the nation probably vexed his spirit. I envision Nehemiah received strategy from God through seeking his face day and night by being in constant prayer. I believe constant prayer and abiding in God enhanced and solidified Nehemiah’s courage and steadfast spirit to not be moved by future enemy harassment of distractions and fear of war.

We see Nehemiah gained focus, purpose and understanding of how to rebuild the wall, receive favor with King Artaxerxes, and lead the remnant with divine strategy and leadership. These skills were sharpened for the work of re-building the wall.

The wall was a symbol of protection, establishment, dominion, survival, strength, and recovery.

During the week of the Care Net Conference, Roland cast the vision God has given him: for us to re-evaluate the “wall” and incorporate a mind and heart to work to the next level of ministry for the building up of the Bride of Christ through effective evangelism, discipleship and connecting our clients to local churches and faith communities. An intriguing fact was presented at CareNet; more salvations are occurring at pregnancy resource centers then in churches. We have the amazing opportunity to work together as the Body of Christ to reach those who are lost.

So the question arises, how can the Bride of Christ arise, prosper, and build the Kingdom of God?

Nehemiah 2:10bThe book of Nehemiah lays out a plan of process and action. The remnant did their part by coming together; re-constructing the wall as one body, they all took part in the re-building process and each had a function. We see the people were vigilant, focused, courageous, and willing to work together for the greater purpose and future of the nation of Israel. They kept their eye on the vision and direction God had given them.

I have faith in and stand with this vision. I believe through unity and a righteous examination of the condition of the “wall,” we together can begin to repair breaches of the wall that have allowed vulnerability for the Bride of Christ.

Opportunity. Transformation. Paradigm shift. Possibilities. Building the Kingdom of God.

With Nehemiah unity and focus!

Dawn Michael

Director of Client Support