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  • Writer's pictureThe HUGG Collective

“We can’t take our kids where we’ve never been.”

Tara Hutton spoke these words last week and boy did they do a number on my heart. Like a pair of hands squeezing the life out of me but was squeezing life INTO me.

Read on to see just how much I needed to hear this message. It may just be a message you need to hear, also.

In fact, so many of the words she said in last week’s Know Better, Do Better Series, felt hyper-convicting to me. Although her emphasis in her podcast, Mama’s Well, is on foster and adoptive parents, all parents will benefit from the tools and resources she offers. Afterall, these little people behind our smartphones (ha ha) are the future adults inheriting this broken but beautiful earth. Don’t we want them to DO better and BE better than us?

If yes, then shouldn’t we be asking, “Where is my parenting taking my children?” Let’s face it, we are taking them somewhere whether we are intentional about it or not.

Who remembers the infamous anti-drug commercial of the dad hovering over his son’s bed holding a joint asking him, “Who taught you how to do this stuff?” The kid refuses to answer but after multiple inquiries the commercial jumps to the climactic and oft-repeated message of the late 80s-- “YOU, alright! I learned it from watching you!” A haunting narrator jumps in with the message--“Parents who use drugs have kids that use drugs.”

The dad in the commercial failed to realize that his actions spoke louder than his words. He had “taken his son someplace” and didn’t even know it. Or maybe he did know--but didn’t want to deal with it.

I get it. Just a few weeks ago, I was having a conversation with my almost 17 year-old son about resisting the temptation to drink alcohol with his peers. We are in the throes of teenage parenting, offering counsel and consequences while walking the delicate balance of keeping the communication lines open. Here I was, lecturing him about the silliness of feeling like alcohol is needed to have fun all while sipping my glass of red wine. The same glass I hold most evenings. I could feel the hypocrisy coursing through my veins and in that moment I asked him-- “Jack--have I given you the idea that alcohol is a big part of my life?” Of course, he answered “no.” But it wasn’t a fair question. I knew in that moment what I had to do.

I’m not saying I will never drink alcohol again, but like I stated before--I can’t take my son where I haven’t been and in this season, I want to set an example that alcohol need not be even close to important in our lives. It is a privilege and a disciplined delight to be able to enjoy a glass or two of wine but if it’s become more than that in my life--then it must go. So hellloooo herbal teas and seltzers. Pray for me, people.

What about you, friend? Is there an area in your life that you need to work through so that you can escort your children to a better future? Let’s not settle for a mindset that goes, “Wellll, that’s just the way it is……” Instead, let’s believe that we were called to go deeper and do better for our children. I think it starts with being ultra honest with ourselves.

While this is NOT an expert opinion or a thorough approach to dealing with our junk so that we can be better parents, I do think it’s a good place to start.

Grab that baggage. Unpack it. It can be with a trusted friend, a spouse, a counselor, a therapist or a church leader. Have an honest conversation with your kids--believe me, they see it whether you acknowledge it or not. In fact, you putting words to it will affirm their intuition. For me it was my almost daily ritual of drinking wine, but I could easily mention a plethora of other unhealthy behaviors. Hey--one thing at a time, right?

I, 100% believe that WHEN we get through the hard places, we can start to take our kids to a beautiful place in their future. The one that we always hoped and dreamed for them.

You can check out Mama’s Well here and be sure to LIKE her FB Page!

Good friend, follow your father’s good advice;

Don’t wander off from your mother’s teachings.

Wrap yourself in them from head to foot;

Wear them like a scarf around your neck.

Wherever you walk, they’ll guide you;

Whenever you rest, they’ll guard you;

When you wake up, they’ll tell you what’s next.

For sound advice is a beacon,

Good teaching is a light,

Moral discipline is a life path.

Proverbs 6:20, The Message.

  • Writer's pictureThe HUGG Collective

For our FIRST Know Better, Do Better interview--I interviewed Co-Founder, Carrie Gibson of Grangou.

Grangou is the reason we went to Haiti.

In 2014, my husband, whom I lovingly call Dr. Dan, and I had an orphan care ministry in our church and Carrie’s dad visited with our group one evening. He talked about street children in Haiti and how his daughter, Carrie, had felt called to start a home for abandoned and vulnerable boys. That evening, he said one thing that stuck with me and ultimately led us to start HUGG:

“The street children are seen like cockroaches on the streets. People don’t care about them.”

I imagined dirty boys covering the sidewalks and streets trying to wash cars, hustle and beg for food. Can you imagine being so rock-bottom that you have to beg for food?

That day, I decided to care.

Years before, Carrie had made the same decision to care. Before she went to Haiti, she felt God stirring her heart towards a cause. In her words, “God started preparing my heart for this work several years before Haiti. I had this thing that said ‘“you’re supposed to be doing something different than what you are doing.”’

From recycling to a backpack ministry to praying about adoption. She knew God was preparing her to CARE BIG about something.

Watch how the story unfolds here and learn how Carrie’s obedience to that still small voice led her to do something big for a group of street children in Port-au-Prince, Haiti.

Carrie’s story resonated with me because that was EXACTLY how I felt before I started HUGG. For me, it was a sense of holy discontent. I learned about how so much of the world’s chocolate is harvested by enslaved boys in parts of Africa. I learned how the people of North Korea were suffering. I remember one time Dr. Dan came home and found me crying in the midst of clean laundry on our bed. He thought I was crying about our kids but instead I shared about Indian women who shaved their heads so that we could have hair extensions! For real--it was heavy and my poor husband wasn’t exactly sure how to help.

Looking back now, I see that God was preparing my heart to care for something so that I could be used for His purpose. In my first blog, I share how Pastor Pierre told me that the boys we worked with were also being prepared for the ministry that would come.

God stirs our hearts before He calls us to action. We don’t always know where or what He is prompting us to do but if we move towards that stirring and pray--He will lead us towards a deeper purpose. Maybe you are caught in the stirring right now. Perhaps your heart is burdened by SOMETHING but you have yet to know what it is.

Keep praying and believing that God will slowly move you in the right direction--even if it takes jumping into a ministry to figure out that is NOT your ultimate purpose. The point is that He stirs you to care as a way to prepare you for your next steps. Trust Him and trust your heart, friend.

  • Writer's pictureThe HUGG Collective

Congratulations to Max for receiving his Bachelor of Theology Degree!

Why is this a SUPER BIG DEAL?

Because 8 years ago, Max was an orphan living on the streets of Port-au-Prince. Both of his parents died when he was a young boy and he was forced to live with an Uncle who mistreated him and kicked him out of his house.

God led him to HUGG where he immediately became an exemplary employee and began using his paycheck to feed needy children from his village in Canaan.

Several people from the U.S partnered with Max to help his dreams come true. First, we sent him to seminary school so he could become a pastor and secondly, we helped him start a home for 12 boys to be raised by two couples whom he hired from his church.

Learn more about Max’s Ministry, Forgotten No More Haiti.

You can also learn more about his U.S Partner and Co-Founder, Jennifer Breedlove HERE.

Because of God-inspired and strategic partnerships, Max is living out his own James 1:27 calling and living out his God-given potential. We believe that we can end the cycle of orphanhood in Haiti through people like Max.

What if we could launch 10 more/ 20 more/100 more Maxes into communities in Haiti? Can you imagine the impact?

There are other young men like Max living in our Transition Home training to make their mark in their communities. That is why our FIVE PILLARS are critical and why it is worth our investment. This is more than a sponsorship--when you partner with us financially you are building up young men who have the potential to bring the orphan crisis in Haiti to an end. It won’t happen tomorrow or maybe not in our generation but ALL world-changing movements start somewhere with someone.

We believe the time is NOW--in Haiti--and it starts with YOU.

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