And God is able to bless you abundantly, so that in all things at all times, having all that you need, you will abound in every good work. 2 Corinthians 9:8
I am all about a good hashtag. I mean, I loooove clever hashtags and support the overuse of them much to my son’s dismay. In fact, there was a stressful day in my former work life when I spent most of the day speaking in hashtags. But there is something about #blessed that makes me itchy. Don’t get me wrong…I think it is great that people appreciate what they have. And I totally think we should be more aware of the blessings God surrounds us with. However, #blessed is so overused and misused…I can’t do it. During our prayer time this week, Michelle, our marketing coordinator, presented a lesson on gratitude. It was wonderful and really got me thinking about all the ways Bridgehaven has been blessed but I refused to be #blessed so instead, I will be #thankful.
First, I would be a horrible development director if I wasn’t first #thankful for all of our wonderful donors. I met the sweetest lady this week. She has been retired from Alliant Energy for years and participates in their volunteer program that allows employees and retirees to complete volunteer service in the community and earn money to donate to local organizations. She and her husband stopped in with a check and were so delightful. I was able to share more about what we do and they were amazed by our impact in the community. “I can’t wait to tell all my friends about how wonderful you are.” That is a good day in my world. There are stories like this that happen every day. Some donors support us every month without fail. Some write checks with lots of zeros and a nun in Cedar Rapids mails in coins. And no matter what the amount is, it is always humbling when someone wants to join us in our mission.
A big piece of supporting that mission is Treasures. Treasures is located on 8th Avenue and is such a joyful part of our ministry. This resale shop houses some of the most spunky 90+ year old volunteers you could ever meet. These gals, and a few gentlemen, come in every week to make sure merchandise is sorted, cleaned, priced and sold for very reasonable prices. They take pride in having a beautiful store that features customer service that will knock your socks off. And those who donate to the store provide beautiful items and fabulous clothes and we are humbled to be chosen when there are so many options in our community. All of this, from the sorters and cashiers to the donors, provide support to the ministry in a meaningful way and fund our pregnancy support center in ways that were unimaginable when the original women were hosting pop-up garage sales across town when this aspect of the ministry began. I hate to be too cutesy but Treasures really is a treasure in so many ways.
Bridgehaven is also wealthy in the way of volunteers. Would you guess it takes over 200 volunteers every month and over 450 throughout the year to run our ministry? These volunteers do everything from drive vans to pick up food at Target to counsel the men and women who walk through our doors every day facing an unplanned pregnancy and they are led by a dynamo staff member, Leanne, who cooks them turkey dinners, gives tours and has a heart for this ministry that is contagious. Our volunteers are so talented and so giving of themselves. It is really a testimony to watch them serve.
Where can I even start in describing the staff at Bridgehaven? It is a gift to watch them love clients and work with people in all circumstances surrounding pregnancy. I have watched them pray with clients, celebrated with them as they tell stories of transformation and seen their hearts break when they are unable to help those who come here. These women, and Dale, are completely dedicated to serving the Lord through our clients and it is so cool to watch them work every day. I am in awe of their patience, kindness, hard work and love.
Cedar Rapids is a community rich with non-profits who do great work in so many areas. It is great to see how people support all these different organizations and it makes it even more humbling when donors, volunteers and staff members choose to become part of the Bridgehaven family. The work is important and we are able to help more families every year because of a huge group of people. Our light grows brighter in the community only through the goodness in those who choose to give and to serve here. It is trite to say we are #thankful but there really aren’t words to express what it is like to see God moving in the hearts of everyone involved with our ministry.
God can pour on the blessings in astonishing ways so that you’re ready for anything and everything, more than just ready to do what needs to be done. 2 Corinthians 9:8