When the Lord gets a hold of you, you know it. Back in late April of this year, I felt Him urging me to volunteer my decorating services to Gateway Cottage of Hodac. I said, "Lord, my life is so busy. I don't have time." But He didn't want to hear my excuses.
So, I walked into Hodac, introduced myself and asked to speak with the Director, Kathy Hart. I was told that she was out of town so I left my contact information for her to call me when she returned. I walked out of there and said, "Oh well, Lord. I tried. Maybe another time." But He was persistent. He wasn't going to let me give up that easily so before Kathy could call me back I called her. We met and I explained to her that I wanted to volunteer my decorating services to the cottage. She told me that the playroom/family room could use a makeover. Excitedly I agreed. I thought, "This will be a slam dunk. This room probably just needs a simple redesign (decorating with what they already have). I'll be in and out in a day." But when she opened the door to the large playroom, my first thoughts were, "Lord, are you serious? This room needs a lot more than a redesign! Where am I going to get the money for supplies to decorate?"
Two days later, He answered me. Charlotte Perkins contacted me about writing a weekly column for the Houston Home Journal. Again, I thought, "Lord, are you listening to me? I'm too busy. I have a husband, two children at home, a full-time job, a decorating & staging business, Director for two organizations, the Butterfly Project that you gave to me and now you want me to write a weekly newspaper column?" And it was a resounding, "Yes". So in my first article for my column, I touched upon the Butterfly Project asking for volunteers and donations. And the phone calls started coming in from wonderful people who volunteered their money, time and effort.
Then the Lord nudged me to step outside of my comfort zone and visit local businesses asking for donations for supplies. First, I visited the three largest building supply companies in Warner Robins asking for paint, flooring or lumber donations. Since they were large businesses, I just knew they would come through with a couple of gallons of paint or flooring and lumber remnants. Disappointed, I left each one empty handed. So then I turned to some of the small businesses of Warner Robins and without batting an eye, they donated to the project.
As we began our project, 13 WMAZ covered the story on it and explained what Gateway Cottage was. As it was aired on the evening news my telephone number was flashed on the screen for volunteers to call if they wanted to help. Immediately my phone started ringing. But it wasn't from volunteers, it was from women seeking help for their addictions. These women did not know that a rehab shelter like Gateway existed. I explained to each that I was "just the decorator" but since I'm not the type of person that will turn my back on someone who is willing to help themselves, I gave them Hodac's number. All in all, I ended up referring about six women to Hodac.
Not only has the Butterfly Project transformed a shelter into a home, transformed lives of its volunteers during this journey but it also was a resource for other women reaching out for help. So, the next time you feel God tugging at you, listen to Him. If you don't, you may never know that your actions are a blessing to others.
Donna Hunter Glenn is a weekly columnist for the Houston Home Journal and Warner Robins Times Newspapers and is the principal decorator and owner of Addressing Rooms Interior Decorating and Home Staging in Warner Robins, GA.