Earlier this summer my home group started serving a meal at Parent Life once every month or two and I had the pleasure of meeting Devin. She and her husband, Mike, are fundraising support to be full time Parent Life directors, and are the go to people for the young moms and dads during the week when they need support. Fast forward a few months and I started feeling a calling to volunteer at Parent Life and finally decided to do it! I have been a mentor mom in training now for 4 weeks and am excited to partner with this awesome organization. I wanted to bring awareness to these people and how dedicated they are to impacting these teen parents through Parent Life, so we did a lifestyle shoot and I had her answer some questions about Parent Life!
Until the end of the month I will be giving a free local lifestyle shoot to anyone who donates $500 or more to Parent Life. You get a tax deduction and $75 OFF a lifestyle session that you would normally pay straight to me! All you need to do is sign up for a one time donation through this link and then email me the receipt! We will schedule your lifestyle session in January or February.
Not sure what a lifestyle session is? Click here to see three different shoots!
Lifestyle Photo Session: $575 FREE with your tax deductible donation to Parent Life of $500 or more!
1 1/2-2 hour photoshoot in your home
200+ digital downloads to print on your own
6×8 40 page booklet album from the shoot
Must be scheduled between now and the beginning of March!
Parent Life is a holistic ministry, that shares the message of Christ in a very non threatning way to teen parents. We host classes each week, we also provide dinner and diapers to each family. We use a mentor format for our program that allows us to reach more teen parents on a more intimate level.
What are the biggest needs facing teen parents?
I think the biggest need is having Christ following adults to look up to, to show these families the love of Jesus. These parents have often been hurt by the church because of the choices they have made, instead of being embraced as God’s children who chose to give life to their babies. They also typically have many physical needs, diapers, formula, food, tutoring, etc.
How does Parent Life help meet those needs?
Parent Life mentors and staff provide encouragement, and a support system to help these families make the right choices and give their children the best shot at life. We impact two generations at a time. We also have an incentive program called the Baby Boutique, which is a room filled with new and gently used items where families earn “baby bucks” by keeping their prenatal and well check visits, report cards, check stubs and church attendance.
How did you find out about Parent Life?
In 2007 my friend told me about this spa event that this new group was hosting. I was 16 and pregnant with Kane. Free massages? I’m there!
How did this group change you?
This ministry has meant different things for me at different times in my life. In the beginning I most definitely had a huge wall up, and I was not willing to let anyone in. I also had no interest in hearing about there God. I had a “no one can tell me anything attitude”. With time those walls began to be broken down by my mentors who consistently poured into me each week which ultimately led me to a life long relationship with Christ.
Tell us about your family…
My husband (Mike) and I are a blended family. We have two beautiful boys Kane, age 9, and Ayden, age 5. We have a wonderful co-parenting relationship with Kane’s biological dad and his girlfriend, Josh & Sam. Mike and I have both been involved at Parent Life for about nine years. We felt a strong calling on our lives about two years ago to join Renee (Director/My Mentor/My Bestfriend) on staff. Having no idea what that would mean for us we submitted to Gods specific task for us, well kind of. lol. When we found out that we would be considered local missionaries and that would mean we had to raise our support to work at Parent Life we submitted verrrryyyyy slowly. God really has taken the last two years to prepare us for the journey into the mission field. We have slowly taken little steps of faith (and a few huge ones) to get to where we are today. I am partly funded and work part time as the Assistant Director. Mike is even more part time than I working about ten hours a week as our Young Fathers Coordinator.
What do you hope to change by being fully funded and full time at Parent Life?
Mike currently works about 70 hours a week between all three of his jobs. He does this because he believes in the calling God has put on us to go on mission and his position in our home right now is provider. By being fully funded my husband would be able to let go of his extra job and make an even greater impact on the 20 teen fathers that currently come to our program. He will also get to be even more involved in our at home life and be more present for our children. Renee (Director) works very hard managing this ministry that God has blessed her with. However 60 families, 15 volunteers, dinner and diapers each week is a lot for one person. I have been working part time which has been such a big help. But I desire to help carry the yoke equally with her. It is heavy at times but seeing what this ministry has done for my family makes me so passionate to help make a lasting impact on the families who stand where I have stood.
I haven’t written a personal post in a while and this makes me feel a little vulnerable going from hundreds of textless posts of family photos to deep waters, but here it goes!
This year has been like the last battle scene in a movie for me. I used to live my life very vocally on my blog and Facebook pages sharing every trivial and personal thing with the unseen internet world, but once I had kids and moved three states in five years I decided that I didn’t have time to share as much. Those last four years of moves and having two more kids really put my soul through the grinder. It took me through trials that I would have never imagined and took me through tights spots where there was only the option to go into deep depression or leap higher in my faith in God. I am relieved to say that although I did go through some really dark days I did stay the course and reach higher in my faith and God showed up and delivered me. After finally making it back to our “homeland” of Lubbock last spring I thought that all of the emotional baggage that I picked up in the last several years would just resolve itself. I lived expectant that it would after we had been here a while and to my surprise it did not. I had picked up some false beliefs about myself, God and others along the way and the fruit of it was really showing up in a negative way in my life. After a hard winter last year I decided to go to Joy Prouty’s photography workshop and after I got there I put on my photographers’ mask and tried to be happy and passionate about my craft. I couldn’t though. I cried everyday (multiple times a day!) at the profound and soul searching things she would present to us. I was in a cabin with two other girls who had gone through similar things in life and they encouraged me to go to counseling. I felt like counseling was the final “giving up”, but had no other good option of escape left. I left the workshop outwardly broken, but hopeful.
The next week I signed up for Family Coaching with Pat Murden in Lubbock. I was nervous, but after reading Brene’ Brown’s “Daring Greatly” book the week after the workshop I was determined to be brave and vulnerable and get things figured out. For six weeks I went through the really hard work of uncovering and dumping the garbage out of my soul. She told me the first day that I came in that I would leave 6 weeks later with a “spring in my step and a twinkle in my eye”. I didn’t believe her, but I thought that anything would be better than my current state! I have always been peppy and positive, and it irked me that inside I wasn’t feeling this way anymore. I crave authenticity in my life and needed the smile on the outside to reflect truth on the inside, something that I had mostly been masking for years. Pat propelled me through my pain and after three weeks I began to realize the truth about my life and how I could actually “live in the garden” instead of the dump. I took some courageous steps and began to live a vibrant life again free from a twisted religious view about God that I had slowly come to embrace and free to engage the world around me with something real and true to offer. My life literally transformed from being stuck in religious muck to living a life free to love others and truly love God (I did leave six weeks later with a pep in my step if you were wondering).
It was about that time when I was filling out some visionary papers on what I would do if I could do anything in the world, I wrote a journal entry about how I would love to serve in a pregnancy crisis center. About thirty minutes later I received an email from our home group about something called “Parent Life”, I clicked on the link and watched this video.
I sat there and cried for a good ten minutes, pulled myself together and prayed. Did God want me involved here? This was too coincidental to not be God trying to speak to me. I signed up to help provide an occasional meal but didn’t do anything further. Months went by and I started feeling this draw to volunteer there, but it would mean quitting our home group because they were at the same time each week. I waited for several more confirmations from what I thought God was trying to tell me and then I committed to replace my Tuesday night home group with volunteering.
I feel inspired to help Parent Life financially and bring awareness to this local ministry. Josh and I attended their fundraising gala last month and they only met 1/3 of their goal and to keep their doors open they need more support!
Parent Life is a Christian organization that helps educate and train teen parents on life issues, provides a community that many of them no longer have since they are teen parents and also gives diapers and physical needs as the teens earn “points” through the program.
I have been rich, successful and beautiful and I have been poor, broken and “nothing special”. I have seen the world through both sets of experiences as the same human and that experience has changed me profoundly. To feel the partiality that I was shown in both cases for my benefit and also to my sadness was very telling and taught me first hand about the importance of helping people through life no matter who they are. To love your neighbor as yourself and not base worthiness on partiality. I always tell people that I have had more diverse experiences in my 20-30s than most people have in their entire adult life, my life has been one roller coaster of extremes relationally, physically and emotionally. I know that God allowed me to go through so many things because He has a huge plan for me to impact others with impartial, radical and unoffendable love. The “washer” of life does that to people. Here is where my business comes into this!
So, for anyone who is interested here is my DECEMBER DEAL!!
– Donate a tax deductible $500 or more to Parent Life Lubbock and help support this Christian ministry that provides education, life skills training, community and DIAPERS for these teen parents.
Just send me your email donation receipt and I will get you scheduled! This would be great to donate from your company or family business and use the lifestyle session as a gift for a client, family member or employee also!
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Hi! I'm Lauren! I love adventure, spontaneity and fun. Photography has been my career for 13 years and I am STILL in love with it. I want to be great in everything I do and want to work hard to create something unique and personal for YOU!