Day of Giving

Tuesday, November 25, 2014

The day of giving has come and gone. My 27th was by far one of the greatest birthdays I've ever had. You see every year I set myself up for failure and disappointment when it came time for my birthday. I had these expectations (mainly from my close friends and family) that they would shower me with love and time and that the day would be about me.

I wanted breakfast in bed. 

          I wanted coffee brought to me while I was working. 

I didn't want to have to cook and I wanted the day off. 

Every year the day turned into a lonely time. No one came and brought me breakfast. No one brought coffee. I got depressed.

Photo Courtesy of Matt Vivanco Photography
Then one day early in 2013 I realized just how selfish I was. Yes, it's great to have a day to ourselves. To get pampered and loved on. But if you didn't, would you still be filled and satisfied? So, starting with my 26th birthday I decided that no longer would I make the day about me. But that the most satisfying and fulfilling thing would be to make it about Him and to honor those around me and give back life. He gave me life, why shouldn't I share that with others?

This year I really felt inclined to work with a woman's home/kids home of some sort. When I found the Florence Crittenton Services Center online I knew instantly it would be the perfect fit. I connected immediately with the coordinator Narria and even volunteered weeks in advance before our big day.

Photo Courtesy of Matt Vivanco Photography
I knew I wanted to throw them a big party. I wanted these girls to know that they are not damaged goods. That even though they are at a different season in their life then say I was, that didn't make them any less than I. We are all sinners. We all need Him.

Weeks leading up to the event were stressful and in all honesty the night before I was a bit panicked on how this would all turn out.

Would my volunteers show up on time? Would the show up at all? Would we have enough time to do all that we want to do and will the flow be good?

Photo Courtesy of Matt Vivanco Photography
I knew that because I wanted to actively serve { and serve every where } that I needed to delegate tasks. So that is what I did. I had Christin { good 'ole bestie! } act as our event coordinator. Any issue, problem, or change went directly to her. I wanted the freedom to minister freely, to connect openly, and to serve wherever they needed me too.

I wanted these girls to feel normal for one day. Yes, they stay in a home, but you know what? They still deserve all that we deserve.

The day came. I was running off of 2 hours of sleep. I wanted my volunteers to know how much I loved and appreciated them so I purchased them breakfast and then eventually lunch. We got to the center bright and early at 7am. It was just me, Christin and my friend Cody to start. I got with Narria, figured out everything they needed, and we immediately go to work.

Photo Courtesy of Matt Vivanco Photography
Two of our biggest projects was to clean the kitchen, reorganize all of the pantries and to also turn their cafeteria into a winter wonderland for an event coming up. Cody and I immediately got started on the kitchen. As our volunteers trailed in they started in on the other projects.

We had a lot to do. We were also styling all of the women; doing hair, makeup, nails, and helping them to pick out clothes. Matt Vivanco, of Matt Vivanco Photography graciously offered his services and took portraits of the women and children as they wanted. He also took photographs of the event itself as it was going on. I will forever cherish these photographs.

Photo Courtesy of Matt Vivanco Photography
To say the event went flawless is an understatement. It did go flawless. It far exceeded my expectations! There was a moment when a young lady stopped me and she said, "Can I ask you a question?" I responded, "Sure!" She went on to ask me if it was really my birthday. When I told her it was she responded with, "I don't understand why you are here on your birthday doing these things for us. I wouldn't be. I would be making the day all about me. But I'm really happy you are here and I'm really glad you came."

I almost lost it. It is for these moments that I live. It's those Christ like moments that really fulfill me. My birthday is truly not about me. 

We also had four woman share their stories. We had a woman talk about being more than just a single mom, not letting that just become your story. We had one share about anger and motherhood and dealing with difficult and strong willed children. We had another talk about caring for yourself and I shared the story of the princess and the pea { I will blog that later }. These woman were not only being pampered but they were being loved on. We prayed several times throughout the day both over them and in private and used our time with them to really try and leave a footprint on their hearts.

When the day finally wrapped up some of the girls hearts were being opened. Tears where shed and lives where changed. Most importantly everyone assumed my goal was for us to touch them; but in reality I knew if these people came and served their lives would be changed. My life has been a constant change over the last three years of service to God and my community. I wanted that same life changing experience for them.

So, from the bottom of my heart. From my soul; thank you. Thank you to every single person that came out, both men and women. You made the start of my 27th year the most incredible start I've ever had. God is gracious and good and kind; and He's got a plan for all of you. For me. Thank you.

Until next years event!

Photo Courtesy of Matt Vivanco Photography

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