“She considers a field and buys it; with the fruit of her hands she plants a vineyard.” (ESV) – Proverbs 31:16
A writer from the Proverbs 31 team once wrote, “Vacant fields lay all around us…in the prodding of one’s heart toward new ministry. In the face of new mothers in shelters downtown. In the eyes of orphans a world, or a street, away. How many times have I stood before an empty field? And how many times have I walked right past one without consideration? Sometimes, the eyes of one’s heart must squint to see it, but there is hope amidst the overgrowth. There is great potential waiting to be unearthed from these desolate fields. When you stand before that vacant field, and consider the great expanse of the work it will take from barren to harvest, don’t let fear turn you away. We have much to make of empty fields if we are ready to put our hands to the plow and get a little messy. You need only consider your next right step.”
At age 19 I found myself pregnant due to unfortunate circumstances. Fortunately for me, I had a great support system of family and friends that loved me through this difficult new journey of being a mom at age 19 – which allowed me to never question choosing “life.” I gave birth to a beautiful boy, graduated from college 2 years later, all while working full-time, and then soon started my MBA program. A few years after that I met my husband, who adopted my son, and we soon had an adorable daughter as well. To me, this seemed to all come together as it should, and I know that God was at the center of it all.
Yet, there are many young women that also face becoming a teen mom, but do not have anyone to love them through this time of fear and crisis. They do not have a support system, they do not have faith in God – their lives are filled with uncertainty of what tomorrow will even bring for them. Without support, it is extremely tough to push through a crisis and conquer. These young women then find themselves either alone still choosing “life” or NOT choosing life, as they can’t imagine a way to live their dreams and have a child at the same time.
In the Summer of 2015, “I took my first step.” I began to pray, and seek Christian council, which lead to the creation of a prayer warrior team that has now reached over 80 individuals that are supporting this ministry effort in prayer. In addition, I started working with several nonprofit groups in Anoka County with missions that all centered around Homelessness. It was during this time, that I began to reaffirm that there was an unmet need in the community – long-term shelter with support and mentoring for young moms and their kids, while providing safety as each mom learns how to confidently raise her family and break the cycle of the family generations before her.
In 2016, God placed individuals in my path that felt called to the same purpose, based on their own life experiences, and we began to form our Board of Directors. We also came across “Colorado Hope House” – a nonprofit started in Colorado that serves teen moms and their kids experiencing homelessness. This organization is now becoming a sister organization to guide us through Elevate’s journey ahead!
One of my prayer warrior’s reminded me during this journey of Hebrews 13:2 – “Do not forget to entertain strangers: for by so doing some people have entertained angels without knowing it.” This verse has now become the foundation on which we stand with our mission. In February of 2017 we became an established 501(c)3 non-profit organization!
In November of 2018, we were introduced to the Oak Haven Church Congregation. A Pastor Home turned Missionary Residence was in transition, and the congregation was voting on how to move forward with the property. God’s timing, again, is rarely our’s, and while the church voted to remove the home, God stepped in and spoke to our team, the leaders of the church, and the congregation. Through much prayer and conversation, Oak Haven’s earthly plan was changed at the beginning of 2019, and Elevate signed a 10-year agreement in February 2019 and renovations began shortly thereafter! In partnership with Knights of Columbus, Oak Haven Church, Oak Hill Church, and so many more volunteers we were able to change a 2 bedroom, 2 bath home into a fully renovated 4 bedroom home with 3 full baths. We were now set up to support a Residential Housing Advocate and 3 young moms and their families in Anoka County.
Finally, in the summer of 2020, amidst a very unprecedented time for our country with pandemic and so much more, we moved in our FIRST Residential Housing Advocate and our FIRST mom and her two kiddos. In the next few months, we then began to build our volunteer team, which is still looking to grow every day! By early Fall, we added our next two moms and their kiddos. A FULL HOME of chaos and love came to fruition amidst the falling leaves and apple orchard season.
Life is not easy. Even if things “come together” with God at the center, He still does not promise it will be easy, and He continues to show me this in new ways every day. Yet He promises, as we promise as an organization to do for each mom that works with us, to be by our side and stay with us through every hill and valley.