Written by Jenna Brown
Did you know that 96% of issues adults process through in counseling are rooted in their childhood?
... thats a really big number.
If you didn't know, 'The Nest', originally started out as 'The Mother's Nest'.
In the beginning, we weren't planning on starting a non profit organization. We weren't planning on really doing anything besides having a group of moms over in my house to share a meal and talk.
We weren't planning it, but I know that it was planned long ago, long before me.
Through the process of our sons birth (born in 2013), I had a near death experience. From that, I moved into a season of suffering from PTSD (post traumatic stress disorder) and PPD (post partum depression). I struggled to bond with my son until he was about one years old, and struggled greatly in that first year after having him.
In my healing "process" I really wanted to find a space to talk about these things with other moms, but everywhere I was turning seemed to be superficial, and I felt like an outsider in my own skin. So I started creating that space instead.
Little by little more vision was handed to me and our team by the Father.
It started as a seed (as everything does in the kingdom of God), and he has made, and is still making something incredibly beautiful out of it.
Little by little, we became a non profit organization (501c3).
We started programs and services.
We purchased a building (been there for 3 years now!)
We had a board of directors
And little by little, things kept developing.
What we noticed, after we had created this "safe space" for moms to come and be who they were, and to show them the heart of God to truly nurture THEM, protect THEM, serve THEM as they poured out their lives for these little ones, was that their whole families truly needed it as well.
We saw the need of the single mom.
We saw the need of the dad.
We saw the need of the family to know who they are, and what in the world they were doing with their children raising them in this world.
And honestly, I saw it in myself.
When I was pregnant with our second child, Reyna in 2015, I started going to trauma counseling. This is a bit different than your typical cognitive behavioral counseling, as one part of my brain had shut off in the PTSD (which is an incredible protective mechanism given by God in trauma, however it cant stay that way forever ;)) and in my counseling, the strangest things were coming up.
I was going to counseling to truly just get me through the next birth of my next child without dying or having a mental breakdown.
It was strange that instead of processing through my birth however, I was processing through my broken family history.
I was talking about the seemingly meaningless memories. Ones that some would probably laugh that were "traumatic" for me.
But thats truly where The Nest shifted.
Once again, in a story that started with me.
I started to see that my birth was just a trigger of something that had been hidden deep within.
Pain from my childhood that had never been uncovered, because parts of my brain had hidden it away for long time.
And I clearly had work to do.
Through that process, (THANK THE LORD for incredibly patient counselors and for EMDR therapy) I really began to have a heart to see this around me.
And somewhere in the process, God gave me this picture of a plane.
Picture a plane, descending, preparing for landing, checking out the runway.
Now picture the runway being your family system you grew up in.
God spoke to me in this season that his heart was for the FAMILY unit to be a landing strip for GOD to land as children grew, and no longer would it belong to the enemy.
If you talk to most individuals, they dont realize that their family had brokenness in it.
Why? well because..it was normal to them.
This is how you get recurring cycles of abuse, neglect, alcoholism, addiction, abortion, poverty, prejudice and racism, and many other of the cycles in our society that the non profit and ministry sector of the world is adamantly trying to fix.
Which is noble.
I love partnering with this city, so many passionate individuals that are attacking specific issues, social justice platforms, etc.
But I started to dream bigger.
What if this is preventable.
What if at the center of God's heart is for every "issue" to be abolished?
(it is, in case you didn't know)
What if instead of approaching the world with bandaids, we approached it with a scalpel.
What if we looked longer than just this generation we saw right in front of our face, and poured into the next generation that saw a bigger picture.
"21 For he must remain in heaven until the restoration of all things[a] has taken place,[b] fulfilling everything that God said long ago through his holy prophets." Acts 3:21
This phrase that I have repeated over and over again that God gave to me in my prayer closet was
"God created in families, he's going to restore in them too".
What if restoration of the world, started with the restoration of the family?
What if family truly is the first picture of who you see God to be?
What if God created it this way for a reason, and its NOT a lost cause?
What would happen if parents actually got a hold of that?
What if dads were empowered to show the Father heart of God through knowing their own identity, and calling that out and instilling that in their children?
What would that do to a fatherless generation?
What if mothers were nurtured, cared for, and no longer oppression so that they could be the beautiful picture of the holy spirit that they are meant to be to their children? as comforter, nurturer, constant, teacher?
What if marriages looked like Jesus' relationship with the church. His dedication, his commitment, his covenant?
What would this next generation look like?
I saw this often, and most of you know. In the VERY beginning (like day one) of The Nest (then known as The mothers nest) God gave us Isaiah 61 that this would be our cornerstone.
Our dream was to make MIGHTY OAKS out of mothers, fathers, and children.
and I say this often.
The OAK tree is already within the ACORN.
It just needs planted in fertile soil and WATERED.
We get to be a part of the watering at The Nest.
We get to be the soil for many.
We know that the oak tree, that mighty oak, that beautiful picture of covering for children to enter into, majestic in its beauty, is already within the people who walk through the door, no matter where they are at with Jesus.
We know that it is within everyone to become that mighty oak.
We know that the way the kingdom works, is that God has already PUT THAT IN there.
If he put the ability for an oak tree to come from an ACORN.
how much more would he have put the ability for a FAMILY to show the heart of God within it?
So what do they need?
A little watering.
A place to be planted.
A place to grow.
And a place to provide shade.
Here we are folks, The Nest.
What started out as no "vision", and just a simple weak "yes" has become something that I believe flows from the original intent of God's heart. It has NOT been easy, and most definitely has NOT been perfect, but I am proud of what The Nest stands for and is today.
Why? because I know its my Father's heart.
His heart to nurture, protect, call out identity, and create a safe haven for this next generation.
Let me ask you friends,
to dream a bit bigger with me.
So often we put our minds in boxes, into systems, believing that all we could ever do was provide a bandaid. (which are important, because you bleed out without the proper bandages ;))
But what if we prevented the cut in the first place?
What if our children didn't have to sit in counseling offices for trauma healing?
And even if they did, what if we didn't waste time on the fruit of their lives, and got to the root of them.
IF EVERY CHILD IS PLANTED INTO A FAMILY, AND EVERYTHING IN THE KINGDOM IS THE SEED, WHAT ARE WE DOING ABOUT THE SOIL?
dream bigger with me.
See that preventative is the heart of the Father.
That once we fix the root, the fruit will take care of itself.
"So if the tree is good, it will produce good fruit; but if the tree is bad, it will bear only rotten fruit" Matthew 7:18
24 “Everyone who hears my teaching and applies it to his life can be compared to a wise man who built his house on an unshakable foundation.25 When the rains fell and the flood[a] came, with fierce winds beating upon his house, it stood firm because of its strong foundation.
26 “But everyone who hears my teaching and does not apply it to his life can be compared to a foolish man who built his house on sand. 27 When it rained and rained and the flood came, with wind and waves beating upon his house, it collapsed and was swept away.”[b]
Matthew 7:24-27 The Passion Translation (TPT)