A Shower of Light, Blessings, and Community
“There are no strangers here, only friends you haven't yet met.” - William Butler Yeats
Families aren’t just made, they’re also found. Family is a community that extends beyond those who raised us. Family is formed by people we meet along life’s path, who offer light in times of darkness, and who once were strangers but are now friends.
And on June 6th, we discovered just how much RE + NEW + ALL’s found family has grown and how beautiful and big-hearted they are! Because that was the day our candlemaker, Rachel, was showered with an outpouring of gifts, blessings, and love for the impending birth of her baby girl, Mae, who’s due in July.
We shared Rachel’s story in a previous blog. Her healing journey this past year is one we are honored to be part of, and she’s become an integral member of the RE + NEW + ALL team.
That’s why it was such a privilege to show Rachel how much she’s cared about and witness her joy at receiving so much warmth, kindness, and support. And we’re sharing the story of this wonderful event with you because it’s such a powerful reminder of the many ways blessings occur in our lives if we just open the door and let them in.
Where Two or Three Gather in My Name
Baby showers give us the opportunity to lift up expectant mamas so they know they’re not alone on the path to motherhood, and this shower was no exception. For women in recovery, receiving this support is even more meaningful because it can be hard for them to believe they’re worthy of a second chance, of being loved and having others to lean on.
And so many people were eager to participate in Rachel’s shower and share that support with her. Over 20 women gathered to celebrate her and baby Mae, including representatives from organizations who have played an important role in her journey. Some attendees, who felt called to be part of the event, we’d never even met before!
Because of Rachel, new friends were made, the RE + NEW + ALL family expanded, and new possibilities opened up for beneficial partnerships in the future. We may have been there to bless Rachel, but we recognized it’s Rachel’s light and impact on our lives that blesses and binds us together as well.
A Candlemaking Family Comes Full Circle
The presence of previous RE + NEW + ALL candlemakers also blessed the baby shower, even if they weren’t there in person.
Casondra, our candlemaker who discovered a passion for baking and is now pursuing her culinary dreams, put her talents to work by baking a delicious batch of cupcakes for the event. As a trafficking survivor, Casondra knows the road to recovery Rachel is traveling and wanted to contribute to her celebration.
And the elegant dress Rachel wore to the event also has special RE + NEW + ALL significance. Two and a half years ago, that dress was chosen by the women our founder, Lee Howard, was counseling at A Way Out Ministries on a night when she took them on a dress shopping outing for her wedding.
Those same women would go on to bright futures after becoming RE + NEW + ALL’s first candlemakers. And the dress they picked out would go on to give Lee a beautiful gown for her honeymoon, then be shared with Rachel so she could feel beautiful at an event created just for her.
Blessings for New Beginnings
It was Rachel who truly brought us all together, and she was overwhelmed by the amount of love being so generously given to her throughout the evening.
Once everyone had a chance to socialize and enjoy some snacks, we gathered around Rachel and, one by one, took turns pouring blessings over her, speaking life into her, baby Mae, and their future together. With tears streaming down her face, she allowed herself to accept every blessing and prayer.
What a gift to see how God united us all for this event in such wondrous and miraculous ways, and how Rachel let herself be embraced and cared for by so many. And what a gift to show her how much she matters to us and that she has a community of people she can count on moving forward.
Understanding, encouragement, and acceptance. Isn’t that what family is really about? We would all be wise to remember there is always hope and a way forward with faith and the courage to ask for and welcome help and support when you need it—and to begin believing you’re deserving of it.