Thursday, April 8, 2010
If you have read my blog then you know I have a foundation called Hug Away. People have often asked me why & how the foundation came to be. Well....it came to me at a very low point in my life. I am talking suicidal, depressed, what is the point of all this low. That was the fall of 2000. That September I had a very vivid dream. I seem to only remember dreams that have a purpose or meaning for my life. This dream was so amazing that when I woke at 2 a.m. I grabbed a legal pad and began writing down everything. I knew without a doubt that God had spoke to me in that dream. Afterwards I went back to sleep and when I woke up later on that morning I felt different. I was at peace. It was like God was telling me "this is the point Elaine." All I know is within a few days the suicidal thoughts were gone, I was no longer depressed and I knew what the point was!
I am a visionary, a dreamer and when I think of something I want it to happen now! What I didn't realize at that time that God was going to send me on a little journey before I proceeded with the dream He had given me. This journey would test my faith in more ways than I could have ever imagined. More importantly this journey would bring me closer to Him.
After we adopted our second daughter I had told one of the social workers at the agency we adopted from that one day I would be working here. She said "Elaine you need a degree." I told here that would not be necessary. A little over a year after "the dream" a friend called and asked if I would like to come and work part time for her at the agency. Are you kidding me? I ended up working there a almost 6 years. I would not replace the everything I learned working there for all the college degrees in the world! Seriously, not only did I learn many wonderful things but I met so many amazing people. That knowledge and some of the people I met would help me on my journey to full fill this dream.
One day in 2006 God laid on my heart about helping others with the cost of adoption. This was something that was close to my heart. When Mike and I were adopting cost was a huge factor. We knew that God had called us to adopt and He would provide. I don't mean He was going to dump a check or a bucket of money on us. He would show us ways, put people in our life that would help and we would get creative. One of the ways He provided was through adoption grants. On one grant we received way more money than we needed to finish paying for adoption so we gave that amount back so someone else could be blessed.Hug Away began as a ministry through our church. And right off we raised enough money to help several families with adoption grants. It was amazing! The only thing we asked of these family's was that at some point they give back so someone else could benefit.
In 2009 request for grants were few. This was kind of a good thing because there was no money and only two faithful donors. It was not looking good at all. For the first time I thought maybe I had made a mistake and maybe this wasn't what God had called me to do. So in September 2009 exactly 9 years after God had given me that amazing dream I was considering shutting the doors on Hug Away....well if we had doors! But there was one scripture that continued to come to my heart every time I wanted to quit.
Revelation 3:8 'I know your deeds. Behold, I have put before you an open door which no one can shut, because you have little strength, and have kept My word, and have not denied My name.
My main spiritual gift is mercies. I mean on a scale of 1-10 it is 110! Then comes faith, discernment and exhortations. I always knew I wanted the foundation to have the capability to help as many families and children as possible. So when we moved from under the umbrella of our church and became a non-profit I told my lawyer to make sure our paperwork stated we would work in other countries helping orphans and children who could not be adopted.I believe all children deserved to know they are loved, feel safe and not go hungry.
Let me back track a bit. I grew up in an environment where things that most families would take for granted was not provided. I will leave it at that. But no matter what has happened in your past you can overcome. God used that situation in my life and planted a desire in my heart to make a difference. Just saying. OK on to the journey.
So my heart was torn and I had no idea what to do. Then something truly amazing happened that proved God was not ready for this door to shut. a friend called and asked to meet with me. She along with her husband worked in Ethiopia for many years as missionaries. They now have a ministry called the Oromo Project and travel to Ethiopia several times a year. When we met she told me a friend of hers from Ethiopia was coming to visit and she thought we needed to meet. Myself along with my husband and two friends who had traveled to Ethiopia went to our friends house for dinner to meet this man. He told the story of him and his wife finding children hanging around the gate of their home. They were hungry not only for food but also for an education. They wanted to help them but how? They took their own money and found a building and rented it. They started a school so the children could learn and have a meal. They are both Christians an believed God would provide for these children. They had no idea how this would happen but they trusted God.
I sat there almost in disbelief. I am listening to this man thinking "Only God could bring a man from Ethiopia and sit him here in front of me and have him speak to my heart." Everyone was so moved and you knew without a doubt this meeting was no accident. Later I went up to the man and told him that the prayers him and his wife prayed were going to be answered and that God had just answered my prayer. That is all that had to be said. We knew. We hugged each other like we had known each other forever. Yes, God was keeping the door open.
Hug Away has partnered with this couple. We have a school in Ethiopia that needs our help and 110 children who need sponsors and more to come. Just like my husband and I believing that God would provide for our adoptions, just like this couple knew God would provide for these children, just like scripture told me only God could shut the door we all believe that God will help us help them. He will provide.
The journey continues every single day and I learn something new every day. Is it easy? Not always. But it is so worth it! When we first started the foundation I just knew that the money would come rolling in. After all who wouldn't want a child to have a home or help an orphan? Wow, was that a rude awakening! There are so many causes and needs in the world and people have a lot of choices of who to help. I also want to mention that after we became a non-profit and the donations were slowing down "I" just couldn't figure out why? After all "I" was doing everything "I" believed God had asked me to do. And "I" was trying to hang in there and stay faithful. Then it dawned on me, "I" was the problem. I had taken the focus off God and replaced it with "I." Not a smart move. Once I realized the problem and put the focus back on God things began to happen.
I am blessed to have been chosen by God to take this journey. He chose me at the lowest point in my life. A time when I had lost all hope and faith. That is how He works sometimes. You know why? It makes those watching us ask questions. And when they ask we have the opportunity to share not only our story but we can share about God and what He can do with if you let Him. Oh, remember that legal pad I wrote on after the dream? I still have it. It reminds me that God is always with us, we just need to be still and listen and stay on the journey.
Posted by Elaine at 2:47 PM