Tag Archives: direction

Part 1: God whispered “Nehemiah”

Nehemiah rebuilding Jerusalem

Image via Wikipedia

Do you remember when your toddler was learning to build with blocks? They would take those 2 or 3 blocks with those little mitten hands and try over and over again to stack them up successfully. During the process they would undoubtedly get frustrated when the blocks would fall over. They might eventually throw them or trying to push down even harder to get them to stay stacked.  The irony is the pure joy they get in knocking them down again themselves. 🙂

My heart was drawn to a different type of building this morning. God drew me into Nehemiah. He’s been whispering parts of this story to me for a year and I’ve only read and studied it bits and pieces. This morning I read its entirety and God has brought me to my knees.

The parallels between Nehemiah rebuilding the wall of Jerusalem and our building The Sparrow’s Nest are obvious. But I just wanted to share a few points that God specifically showed me this morning.This week I’ll share a 4 part series over what God gave me from Nehemiah.

1. Prayer : It seems so obvious. But Nehemiah gives us the example at every start, every turn, every adversary, every thanksgiving to pray to God .

Nehemiah 1:10-11 They are your servants and your people, who you have redeemed by your great strength and your mighty hand. O, Lord, let your ear be attentive to the prayer of this your servant and to the prayer of your servants who delight in revering your name. Give your servant success today by granting him favor in the presence of this man.”

Nehemiah’s heart had been broken by the despair of his people. Nehemiah knew this would be a huge undertaking . Building the wall again would not be a popular project. Nehemiah also understood he would need the support of powerful people. But the very first thing Nehemiah did was to ask God for forgiveness before favor. When Nehemiah was given the opportunity to ask permission of King Artaxerxes, Nehemiah quickly first prayed to God and then answered the King.  When the opposition was in full force against rebuilding the wall, Nehemiah and his men prayed to God and made preparations to meet the threat.

I believe with all my heart in the power of prayer. I also believe we will not be successful in this endeavor without on-going, consistent, bold prayers. Just as Nehemiah did, we need support from powerful people, we need guidance and direction in our decision making, and we will need prayer warriors posted at our doors to protect the young women and those precious babies.

The next 120 days are a critical part of our history. My instinct is to get through the fall and start wrapping things down for the holidays. But God has always had a different plan. I believe God has some incredible wall building coming down the pipe this quarter and I challenge you to boldly pray what your role will be in this endeavor. I ask you to pray for generosity in spirit, time, and money. I ask you to boldly pray for protection, guidance, and direction. YOUR prayers will determine our steps.


Toe Dipper or Cliff Diver?

Cliff diving with JT

Image by 4ELEVEN Images via Flickr

Are you a toe dipper or a cliff diver? Do you need to test the temperature of the water or do you jump in with both feet first? However you’re wired we can use you at The Sparrow’s Nest!

Things are rocking and rolling and we need more manpower to keep this momentum and keep moving us closer to opening and ultimately helping young girls and saving innocent babies lives. We need leaders as well as “doers.” These are specific tasks you can look back on in 30 years and tell your grandkids “I helped at the beginning to form The Sparrow’s Nest into what it is today.”

We’re pulling through our strategic plan and specific needs are starting to surface. The following list is very fluid and will be defined more clearly in the coming months. Send Carissa an email at carissa@thesparrowsneststl.org if you would like more information about certain needs. Just because you respond doesn’t mean we’re signing you up for life! 🙂  All of the committees that develop will either be led by a Board Member or will have board representation. Make sure to send these needs on to friends, family members, or community contacts whom you think might be better equipped for these jobs.

In all of these things continue to pray for The Sparrow’s Nest and for these tasks to be completed in a quick and timely manner and that they would be filled with integrity and honor.

facilities: Volunteers Needed to: Identify all codes, licenses, and ordinances required by state, county, and city to operate a residential treatment home for minors. Volunteers are also needed to help find a general site for the facility. Volunteers are also needed to develop procedure and policies for the management and upkeep of the property.

Residential Services: Volunteers are needed to develop policies and procedures for residential services for the girls and their babies. This would include developing plans for parenting and life skill curriculum, educational plans and expectations for the girls, intake, etc. This would also include developing medical plans as well as physician and hospital relations.

Personnel: Volunteers are needed to develop a expectations of staff that will be used to form job descriptions. Volunteers are also needed to help develop  a framework of human resource development and payroll.

Community Relations: Volunteers are needed to develop a community relations plan designed to support a continuing intentional relationship with the community. Volunteers are needed to act as liaisons with churches and civic groups and The Sparrow’s Nest. Volunteers are needed to develop and host periodic networking events to link comment and church resources together.

Marketing/Development: Volunteers are needed to develop and maintain general outreach material such as newsletters, flyers, brochures, videos, social media campaigns. Volunteers are needed to research and/or write grants for funding of The Sparrow’s Nest. Volunteers are needed to hold fundraising activities for raising general or specific funds.

Finance: Volunteers are needed to continue to develop and maintain systems and procedures for management of funds as well as review monthly statements. Volunteers are needed to complete all IRS requirements as well as annual report.

Administrative: Volunteers are needed for upkeep of database, developing office procedure, maintaining calendar and scheduling, writing thank you cards, organizing mailings.

Do your expectations lead to disappointment?

What do you want for your kids? I’m sure we’ve all thought about this. We want to be happy, to be healthy, to have an education, to have somethings better and easier than we did, but other things we want them to work for it. We want them to have friends and relationships with people who love them and look out for their best interests. We want them to go to Heaven after living a full and wonderful life.

I’ve been challenged lately with the thought of wanting things for people rather than from people. I’ve never felt comfortable with the phrases of “I deserve this” or “Aren’t I entitled to this.” I’m more of the mind set “You get what you get and you don’t make a fit.” But even with that I don’t want people to feel indebted to me.

For my friends the things I want for them are simple but complicated. I want for them to go to Heaven. I want for them to feel needed, and appreciated, and loved. I want for them to serve and feel fulfilled on their chosen path.

It’s easy to want things from people. But then I think we always end up feeling jipped, or short-changed, or somehow I think our expectations will lead to disappointment.

What do you want for your children? What do you want for your friends? What do you want for yourself?

Just Shootin’ the Breeze Tonight

When all is said and done I may just write a book about this experience. Maybe I can give someone a clear path on learning how start something like The Sparrow’s Nest. Because the Lord knows I could use such a book.

I’ve always been a dreamer…someone who can see the big picture. I’ve always figured the details will work themselves out or someone else will figure those things out. This time is different. Suddenly it falls on me to determine the details and the minutia. So tonight, I’m just going to process what’s in my head tonight here on the blog. Just shoot the breeze and let you know what I’ve been up to lately

So far this week my time has been spent developing our mailing list with about 2-3 other volunteers. We’re gearing up for our first big mailing at the end of April. However, I’ve impressed even myself by setting up an Envelope Stuffing Party on Tuesday March 29 at 6:30. Yes, I know…a FULL MONTH before the letters need to go out for our 30K in 30 Days Campaign in May. I have to say I’ve impressed even myself. 🙂

My main goal right now is the 3o K in 30 Days campaign. I really need the community support to be able to start applying for startup seed money grants from foundations. We’re switching our online giving to Secure Give in a week or so. Then you’ll be able to set up your monthly giving. I hope you are starting to pray about what your family can do for The Sparrow’s Nest each month. I have no idea the blessings that will come from that act of giving from you but I know it honor God. That’s when powerful things start to happen.

I met with Casey Graham who really helped me laser in on our fundraising goal and made it a little more streamline. AKA what is the bare minimum we need to open. Turns out the house is not our major obstacle. We need major financial help for the staffing needs.I also met with Steve Awtry and Tammy Romain from Christian Family Services to share our vision and dream a little dream together. I contacted Melanie McIlroy as our real estate agent. I hope to start looking at some properties with her.

I’ve sent out what feels like hundreds of emails hoping to talk with church leaders and civic leaders. I’ll start following up with phone calls for the next two days. I’ve also been following up with a few businesses I thought might sponsor the 5k race on April 30. The link is up at http://www.bridgewaybh.com

I have quite a few books going right now to learn as fast as I can. I’m reading the Zen of Fundraising, Emyth, Guidebook to Group Homes, and How to Influence. I wish I could just lay them on my head and the knowledge would pour forth. I’ve applied for two small grants mostly to help our blog and website. That was interesting trying to guess at what they wanted me to say.

It seems like everything is important and urgent at the same time. It’s hard to come up with a game plan. I’m mucking through it but I have to say it’s probably not very pretty.

I would appreciate your prayers. Prayers for wisdom and guidance for me. Prayers for clear objectives and direction. Prayers for our funding. Prayers for our board’s creativity and problem solving. And always prayers for the girls, prayers for their babies, prayers for their families.