This month we are focusing on our Safe Harbor program, which provides tangible help to families going through a crisis. It ensures children have a safe place to stay. It is not only a positively defining time for the child, but also for the family who steps in.
The Bible verse that guides this program is Psalm 46:1, which says, “God is our refuge and our strength, a very present help in trouble.” Our volunteers embody this verse when they step into a Safe Harbor role. This week, Michelle Bernard shares her family’s story of how their lives have radically changed since becoming involved in this ministry.
The Power of Love Is Life Changing
In the fall of 2016, we felt God tugging at our hearts and calling us to care for the fatherless in our community. We know it’s a Biblical command to care for the orphans and widows, we just didn’t know how that was supposed to look for our family. So, we prayed and we waited.
We prayed that God would show us specifically what His plan was for us and that He would speak to both of us in the same way. Several months later, He answered our prayers and showed us that His plan was for us to become a Safe Harbor family.
In June 2017, we began our Safe Harbor journey and our lives have forever been changed. We have learned so much. We have learned that love changes lives, which might sound cliché, but it’s so true. It’s been 9 months and we can clearly see what the power of love has done in this child’s life and in his grandmother’s life.
From day one, we went in with the intention of loving them as if they were our family…and they truly are our family now. We can’t imagine life without them. Has every day been easy? No, but every day has been so worth it. We have had challenges and we’ve had tears. We’ve learned that kids who have experienced trauma/abuse are going to have some behaviors that are different than that of a child who hasn’t. We’ve learned that it’s important to learn the triggers and how to push through those difficult times. However, those difficult times are far outweighed by the beautiful, rewarding times.
Safe Harbor Is Rewarding
One of the most rewarding aspects has been that Bobby has started saying “I love you” and giving the biggest hugs. He has come so far in trusting us and realizing that we are here for good and that we aren’t going anywhere. We plan to always be here for both Bobby and his grandmother. We are committed to them and that commitment has been born out of a loving relationship that has developed through Safe Harbor.
It has been beautiful to watch the bond form between Bobby and our children. The kids play so well together. His amazing imagination has brought out so much more creative play in our kids. His love for board games has held us accountable to a family game each evening after supper. His love for sea creatures has taught us more than we would have ever known about ocean life. Of course, the kids have their moments like any brother/sister relationship, but that just shows how close their relationship is…they love each other deeply. I recently found this note that our 9-year-old daughter put in his Easter basket last week. She wrote:
“Happy Easter! I hope you have a wonderful day! I love you! I love having you to play with. You have such a creative personality and you have a great imagination. Jesus loves you so much! I would not know what to do without you. I love when we play with your sea animals. Have a great Easter!”
This ministry has truly impacted our entire family. There have been tears through the hard times, and there will probably be more, but there are so many more smiles and laughs. Sometimes we just sit back and listen to all of the laughter. There is so much joy, so much love. It is truly beautiful.
I know many people wish they could change the world, but just think what the world would be like if everyone tried to change the life of just one child. I wish I could shout it from the rooftop and encourage others to become a Safe Harbor family ♥
If you would like to find out more about Safe Harbor and how you can help, click here or contact us at 502-498-4765 to find out more information. Names have been changed for privacy.