Reach Out

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As I can I want to offer a fresh word of encouragement sharing from my experience how our Father God meets us in the middle of loving and living out our faith to draw others to freedom. 

I fully believe we are offered so much more than we ever experience as Christ followers. We settle for a life in bondage to the elemental nature of this world and continue to live as Hagar when in fact we are daughters of Sarah.

Galatians 4:31
31 So, brothers [and sisters], we are children not of the slave woman, but of the free woman.

-Callie

Callie 2

 

 

23 Let us hold on to the hope we say we have and not be changed. We can trust God that He will do what He promised. 24 Let us help each other to love others and to do good. Hebrews 10:23–24

The more time and connection I have had with those coming out of extreme and traumatic backgrounds the more I am convinced that healing of family, restoration of mothers and fathers, building bridges for attachment and walking beside people for the long haul is the best and right approach; AND it takes many hands and hearts to accomplish. I have shared the struggles that many of the women and teen moms we have walked with have experienced and have had to learn to parent through: domestic and intimate partner violence, sexual abuse, pornography as a viewer and as an unwilling participant, abortion, addiction, family abuse, homelessness, and the laundry list of mental health, post traumatic stress responses and unhealthy attachments.

As House of His Creation I stepped into the arena of housing, offering an opportunity to experience healthy family in a 24/7 experience, to walk through decision making and have a safe place to heal, to grow and to learn. We have kept the core of doing this through family living programs meaning houseparents and family serving as the on-site staff team. We have done so through years of open doors to teen girls and young adult women pregnant and parenting. This has been set up a whole lot like foster care.

Over the years we have walked with many others setting up homes and programs to serve in these arenas many with houseparents, some with single live-in house moms, some with shift staff. We have walked through women's decisions to place their children for adoption and the relationship with a new family, with those who have been in foster care and aged out, and those who are determined to do life differently so their children do not enter foster care through the state. We have walked with women choosing to parent their own child and opening their home to foster children from their community. This is all leading to one very important thought...

We are not the only ones working in these arenas and programs are not the whole answer. We need everyone who is moved by the needs of those around us to consider how to be part of offering help, hope and family.  Addressing care and breaking cycles for a mother and child is imperative. Getting to the younger men and women sooner can take years off of their cycles of abuse, neglect and abandonment.

I had the privilege of being in a training with Rachel Lloyd, founder of GEMS, a housing, wrap-around and resource program for exploited youth in N.Y.C. What stuck with me the most was this statement:

Get people to care about trafficking, then care about the kids, then care about caring for other people’s kids.

It is our hope that knowing this and walking with us will “stir you up to love and good deeds” Hebrews 10:24

I have talked with many people who assume that entering the arena of helping youth and adults whose lives have been impacted by sex trafficking requires a phd in counseling, a black belt in a martial art and the abilities to withstand abuse like a marine. While there is a place for all these skills the every day needs of the MAJORITY of those affected globally by sex trafficking is someone to care. Someone to see them. Someone to know their name and listen to their story. See that though the reality of the abuse and experiences are almost unspeakable...as a child, youth or an adult they are a person that needs someone to do the mundane of life showing them how to shed their harmful protective behaviors, learn to trust and learn to care and be cared for.

If you want to learn more and hear how you can intersect in someone's story here is a link to "The Life Story".

THE LIFE STORY            

If you want to learn more about vulnerable children all around us and how you can step in here are some resources:

THE PROBLEM

To learn more about Rachel Lloyd and GEMS go here:

GEMS STORY

  May you be moved to care about those around you! May you be stirred up to love and good deeds. May this encouragement hit the mark and open doors of opportunity you did not see before! 

 

 

 

Psalms 62:5-6 TPT

I am standing in absolute stillness, silent before the one I love, waiting as long as it takes for him to rescue me. Only God is my Savior, and he will not fail me. For he alone is my safe place. His wraparound presence always protects me as my champion defender. There’s no risk of failure with God! So why would I let worry paralyze me, even when troubles multiply around me?

As a young teenager in the church where I grew up I had a song that resonated with me and became a life song. I no longer remember the title but these lyrics bubble up at decision and marker points in my walk with Jesus. 

"I'll follow you every day, when I can't see my way. I place my trust in you. I'll sail the seas take me anywhere you please. Jesus you know how I love you. Jesus you know how I love you."

Today, my birthday, is another marker moment in my life after moving from PA to FL in July. I have been living out this song in a whole new way. Following where Jesus led us into a hard unknown. We have many obstacles and decisions to make to get to the purpose of our move but in the mean time we are learning again to lean into the process and enjoy the journey.

Today after several weeks of obstacles to moving on our renovation project, getting started on our mini zoo, decisions on how to move forward with the path to serve the girls we are here to serve, and facing the reality of limited supplies and resources...but, when I went looking for a Promise instead of a Problem, I found it.

We have had no rain for a month and I asked the Lord for rain and some signs of His love for me that can fill me up to share with others. He reminded me to come into His presence and soak in His promises. He asked me to share a kind word and pray for a woman who sold us chickens; He sent rain late afternoon with a lingering full rainbow visible from our backyard over our house; and new hummingbirds came to our feeders. I had many kind birthday wishes and received flowers from out maternity housing team. Each kind word, each reminder stilling the voice that would have me focus on what is wrong, what is not working, and what I do not know and instead simply calling me to "stand in absolute stillness...waiting."

It is a day when I again choose Jesus as my safe place, to place my trust in Him, and follow where He leads.

May you be able to rest and wait for the Lord. May you know that when you seek Him you will find Him. May you be able to remain confident in His faithfulness to see you through.

 

I'm confident Your faithfulness will see me through
My soul can rest, my righteousness is found in You
With every moment left, in every borrowed breath, let this be trueThat all my heart, for all my life, belongs to You Song by Steffany Gretzinger

https://youtu.be/G3qGssYNdkU

 

 

 

 

The above group of images represent the past 17 years, promises to me and encouragement for me to persevere as the Lord walked me through His plans to understand my call, being led by His Spirit and trusting His care and kindness. 

Luke 22:26 TPT

But this is not your calling. You will lead by a different model. The greatest one among you will live as one called to serve others without honor. The greatest honor and authority is reserved for the one who has a servant heart.

Stop and listen, close your eyes, open your hands to the need of the moment...My calling is Not to open a thousand homes...but be present in this one. My calling is NOT to be known by everyone....but to know and see the ones in front of me. My calling is NOT to fix or hold back ...but to unbind and declare. My calling is NOT a cause but individuals. 

Do you know what your calling is? It has taken me a long time to know my calling and a long time to find out what is NOT mine.  The last few years have made very clear that though my heart has many passions and that I desire to be part of "great things" I have to follow the still small voice leading me on a path that is less traveled.  I have chased after causes and done my part but each road led me back to the individuals in my life. I had a season of teaching and training, a season of leading, a season of building and networking, and recently a season of being led back to the purposes and calling I was made for...my heart is knit to my husband and our call together is to create homes of healing, places of rest and reason to hope. 

I was asked recently to share what has brought me out of the dark places in my life...the low places, the lost places, the wounds from friends and ministry partners, the stopped endeavors, the health set backs and the Not now and Not Yet...I looked back at past blogs and it seems I circle back to the same theme often. Being content in who I am and how I was made. Taking off any hindrances to loving and serving. Engaging fully.  

I realize I shut down or cut myself off from others when the way to FULLY serving and FULLY loving seems blocked or rejected. I have had to grow in wisdom and confidence that the shame and hurt I have taken on can be walked through and overcome. I have had to learn that it is never about imposing my will on others but being willing and obedient to serve and to love. It is never my responsibility for how another will receive or what they will do with what I offer. If I want to fully enter in to finding the treasures hidden in the dark...then I must be okay knowing the way to them is not glorious or without hindrances. So, I have to keep choosing to refocus my eyes, to realign my thoughts, to rest and return...

I have had to be honest with myself about how I see myself, the lenses from others that have added to my call, distracted from my call or led me away from my call.  I have had to stop searching and learn to say no when I am focused on anything other than where the Holy Spirit is leading.  I have had to grow in discerning the cautions and protections I utilize from the still small voice saying "go this way."

I have to be firm in what is NOT my calling to fully enter into what is. I am called TO walk alongside of Hagar as Sarah and to fully live out a surrendered life to Jesus sitting at His feet, walking into hard places, fully trusting His plans an purposes and knowing that the Causes that are dear to me will be addressed in the Individuals I love. I have to know that the mistakes I make and the times I fall short He is faithful and will always extend mercy and grace. The more I learn this and accept it the more the oil of His love, grace, and mercy flow not just to me but through me.

May you know clearly what is NOT your calling. May you extend yourself and others the grace and kindness needed to FULLY Love and FULLY engage.  May you LEAD as you SERVE and be content in WHAT IS YOUR CALLING.

 

11 With this in mind, we constantly pray for you, that our God may make you worthy of his calling, and that by his power he may bring to fruition your every desire for goodness and your every deed prompted by faith. 12 We pray this so that the name of our Lord Jesus may be glorified in you, and you in him, according to the grace of our God and the Lord Jesus Christ. 

2 Thessalonians 1:11-12 

 

 

They will rebuild the ancient ruins
    and restore the places long devastated;
they will renew the ruined cities
    that have been devastated for generations.

Isaiah 61:4

A father to the fatherless, a defender of widows,
    is God in his holy dwelling.
6 God sets the lonely in families,[a]

Psalm 68:5-6a

Isaiah 61 and Psalm 68 are foundational and undergirding scriptures that have built, shaped and marked House of His Creation. As we have expanded into a new state and are working to open a home for teen girls; it is not lost on us that the physical process we are going through to ready the property is the same process we live out with the girls and women we serve.

This property is a diamond in the rough and we see so much potential. It very much is a picture of why we are here and what we are called to do. This property has evidence of being well loved and cared for, however, the restoration that was started on the house was not completed and could not hide the evidence of neglect, misuse and devastation. There is glass and debris scattered through the yard. The house restoration was done with little care to continuity or long term use and more to flipping the property for a sale or as the realtor said "lipstick on a pig". Fire ant hills dot the lawn and the stream is untended. The remnants of a bridge are tucked under a makeshift new build held up on one end by a car jack. The shed has good pieces of lumber but needs to be torn down and rebuilt.  

This is contrasted by a crepe myrtle that was cut down re-blooming, an island of palms and other flowering plants visible from the back porch, birds and hummingbirds instantly came to feeders and fun little frogs and lizards run around in the yard. The color of the house adds a light and joyful air to the house pointing again to days when it was loved and cared for.

So it is with the women and girls we have seen over the years. They come to us trying to cover the hurt and devastation in their lives yet the makeover they come with cannot hide the brokenness in their hearts, the hurt in their souls and the wounds on their flesh. As we get to know them we also get to see glimpses of joys they have known, the one person (if not more) in their lives who tended to them. We see evidence of the beautiful creation of each individual and we set the stage for them to be restored.

The house and yard will be transformed over time, by many hands, through planning, skill and perseverance. The house will be finished and new, beautiful spaces that have not existed before will come into being prepared to be places of healing and hope. The ancient ruins will be restored and the life that was stolen and hidden away will have opportunity to grow in the soil of the love of Christ.

We are grateful for this front line view of these intricate processes. Seeing graves turned into gardens, seeing dead places made alive, seeing the kingdom of light push back the darkness...

20 Now to him who is able to do immeasurably more than all we ask or imagine, according to his power that is at work within us, 21 to him be glory in the church and in Christ Jesus throughout all generations, for ever and ever! Amen.

Ephesians 3:20-21 NIV 

 

 

Here’s what I’ve learned through it all: Don’t give up; don’t be impatient; be entwined as one with the Lord. Be brave and courageous, and never lose hope. Yes, keep on waiting—for he will never disappoint you! Psalms 27:14 TPT

In the past year I have had my eyes opened to the sacred, cherished, intimate moments where the Lord meets me and I see so clearly His loving kindness, compassion and mercy. For me these moments come in relationships and more often than not in a moment of ministry or service. Some of these moments I have captured in past blogs but something recently brought the whole year and these moments into sharp focus.


I was honored to support a young woman in our program through her delivery. I was reminded so clearly that my presence was valuable and important. That it was a gift and a sacred moment where I could offer covering and support and be part of the team focused on seeing her son brought into the world. It was not planned as she came to us a month from delivery. When it was time she had no planned support person. I was there, I was prepared, and I was able to serve her in this way.


As I reflected on this experience others came to mind, a previous birth supporting another young woman in labor, my part in ministry teams helping women grieve and heal from past abortions, sexual assault and violation, and the trauma of abuse and teams building programs and places of healing and hope. 


Then I reflected on the even more intimate moments: Sitting with a young woman reading through a study on Hagar, seeing herself in the story and seeing the One who Sees Her. Sitting with my daughter and a young woman at a coffee shop waiting for a bus offering a moment of friendship so she did not have to be alone. A phone call from another young woman sharing her joy at being able to foster a child and the hopes she has for herself and her daughter. Having the chance to embrace a returning woman whose life had seemed over and her heart had seemed dead, and within weeks she was able to express joy at being alive and ready to pursue a future.


It is in these intimate moments where we see the Lord’s goodness, and for me it is where I experience the deep intimacy of being and bearing His fragrance, His presence, His compassion…being part of His revelation of deep love and affection. I experience being included, valuable, and beloved.  These are the moments I hide in my heart and fuel me on the journey.

May you experience intimate, cherished moments that remind you that you are valued, wanted and loved. May these moments fill you to overflow to those around you. May you be brave and courageous and never give up.