Wednesday, February 14, 2018

Living and Leaving a Legacy

by Joyce Piskorski

Congratulations on your Graduation
Dawnovan, Deidre and Tiffany!

October 14, 2017

A legacy (as defined by the Merriam-Webster Dictionary) — is “something transmitted by or received from an ancestor or predecessor or from the past.”  

Each of us, as we live out our lives one day at a time, are establishing the legacy we will leave behind for others. The graduation of three beautiful young women from Deborah’s Legacy House, has caused me to pause and reflect upon the legacies they are leaving behind as they enter a new phase in their lives.  

Their names, Deidre, Tiffany, and Dawnovan bring a smile to my face as I remember the stories, the tears, and the laughter, we’ve shared.

Arriving at the house was the first step these ladies took in living the verse in Isaiah 43:18 which says, “Forget the former things; do not dwell on the past. See, I am doing a new thing.”  As they became part of DLH they were choosing to leave behind unhealthy coping mechanisms, toxic relationships, and generational patterns that were destructive.  

Over time, as they “unpacked their suitcases,” so to speak, I saw that they had brought some valuable items with them: 
Hope - Wanting life to be different, and believing that it can be. 
Commitment - Being willing to stay the course even when it was hard. 
Courage Willing to venture into the unknown,  moving in with people they didn’t know.
Strength Facing a new day when it would have been easier to stay in bed.
Trust Choosing to trust those who proved themselves trustworthy, even when it wasn’t easy.

It has been exciting to walk beside them and see them increase their sense of self and to understand their strengths and talents. I’ve seen them share a sense of humor, laughing together as a group, and at times, laughing at themselves. I’ve witnessed them speaking the truth in love to each other, and being both encouragers and confronters.  They have displayed perseverance and patience, especially as it pertained to being reunited with their children.

There was a period of time when these three ladies were the only residents at the house.  I remember telling Jill at that time, “Those three gals are a winning combination. There are three success stories right before our eyes!” It was beautiful to watch it unfold. 

Interacting with these ladies and getting to know them has been a tremendous blessing in my life. Over and over, we have witnessed the hand of God at work, and marveled at His attention to detail.  The most exciting thing, however, has been watching them grow in Christ as they trusted Him to be there in both good times and bad.  

Now as their graduation approaches, and I reflect on their legacy, I see it as one of trusting in Him, relying on Him, and sharing about Him. Summed up, they are living out Philippians 4:13 - I can do all things through Christ who strengthens me.

Wednesday, June 29, 2016

Legacy is NOT Staffed 24/7

(This is the third in a three part series explaining what Legacy is all about.)
by Stephanie Miller

How else does DL's approach differ from other programs? To quote a much overused African proverb: It takes a village. This quote refers specifically to raising children, but really- aren't we all on the path to maturity? No one has arrived. 

At DL, our village is peopled with staff, board members, residents, and volunteers, as well as non-resident referrals who join us for a particular class or Bible study. Our desire is to create a sense of true community among our tribe members: looking out for one another, keeping each other accountable, and sharing life together in a deep and meaningful way. To phrase it another way- we bear one another's burdens, light and joyful or dark and heavy.  
One of the best ways to bear a burden is conversation with coffee!

An important part of burden bearing, however, is establishing healthy boundaries: who is responsible for which burden? Staff members envision the Legacy program working best when residents have ownership over their own success. Staff positions exist to encourage without enabling, challenge without discouraging, and connect without creating dependency. Our daily schedule allows for both accountability and freedom- providing frequent check-ins, classes, devotions, etc. but ample time for outside employment, healthy relationships, and self-improvement. While DL is not staffed 24 hours a day, we do have a staff member available 24/7 via cell, in case of emergency.

Our hope is that graduates will see themselves as an integral part of this larger Legacy community and stay connected long after they've achieved their personal goals. After all, it takes a village. Who better to mentor a new community member than someone who has walked the same path? 

A great example of graduate turned mentor is our very own Toni Martin. Watch the video below to see how this former Legacy grad stays connected to her community:


Tuesday, March 29, 2016

Community Highlights

So much good news…

  • Jaycee's Putt-N-Crawl Event raised a "shocking" amount for DL- Funding expenses for 22 days this year!                                          (See adorable photo right ;)
  • KNOP-TV aired a wonderful piece highlighting Legacy's very own Toni Martin!
  • Rhonda Quaney, local blogger and precious friend of Legacy, featured DL in her most recent post!
"Why all the attention?" you may ask. 
Legacy's annual banquet is right around the corner! April 7th - a week from tomorrow - to be exact. In honor of the event, I've asked Toni Martin (recent program grad, newest Legacy staff-member, and this year's KEYNOTE speaker!) to share a bit about her "Life-at-Legacy":

DL: What did you first think when you walked through DL's door as a resident?
Toni: Wow I am being given a key to this beautiful house and these people don't even know me!

DL: What has been the most rewarding?
Toni: To be a part of community and having intimate relationships with other women in community...weaving together as one.

DL: What has been the most challenging?
Toni: Being totally honest as to where I am at...for support to continue to walk forward in life in a positive manner.

DL: What has been the funniest memory?
Toni: Making homemade cabbage sauerkraut and Shelly lost her fingernail in was already in jars before we knew it!

DL: Tell me about your new job? Any surprises?
Toni: I am currently the Survivor Leader at DLH - I have been given the gift of being able to walk alongside other women and give them the gifts I've been given and continue to receive at Deborah's Legacy!  Surprises-The look from the opposite angle is amazing - how I can assist opposed to what I need.  What I have realized is to continue to love unconditionally no matter what.

DL: How have you seen God working in your life or the lives of others at DL?
Toni: My life has become more structured - daily devotions, prayer, Bible studies, living God's will and not my own.  God works daily in my life today, only because I have allowed Him in and accepted Him into my life, watching the ladies grow during living at DLH.  Them noticing God moments is always fun.

Please consider attending the upcoming banquet to hear more of Toni's amazing story and how Legacy continues to impact the lives of women in our community today.  

Monday, January 25, 2016

Legacy is NOT Compulsory

(This is the second in a three part series explaining what Legacy is all about.)
by Stephanie Miller

A quick google search of the word "freedom" reveals an abundance of pithy sayings and wise idioms. All the "greats" have weighed in on the topic: Thomas Jefferson, Abraham Lincoln, Ghandi… Even Bob Marley has thrown his hat into the ring. Thucydides (a REALLY ancient Greek historian), however, seems to nail "freedom" directly on the head:
The secret of happiness is freedom. The secret of freedom is courage. 

Freedom takes courage. The women at Legacy are choosing to live courageously. Seeking freedom from a host of issues, it is a courageous choice to stand and fight rather than turn and run. Legacy's program is 100% VOLUNTARY and is a launching pad rather than a “jail sentence”.  But as the familiar saying goes, freedom is never free.

It takes years to forge our chains. Breaking each link takes courage and effort. In order to successfully complete Legacy's 3 phase program, participants are expected to pursue personal growth in 5 key areas: 

1. relationships 
2. finances 
3. health 
4. work
5. faith

Residents are presented with the opportunity to fight for their freedom- Freedom from addiction, abuse, unhealthy lifestyles, weak boundaries, employment obstacles… If participants are not interested in earnestly pursuing growth through active participation in all that Legacy offers, then staff will help residents find alternative options, without judgment. 
We all want freedom from the chains that bind- and in Christ- we are finally free indeed.  Oh the irony… By temporarily surrendering a few freedoms (curfews, shared living space, scheduled learning, etc), our prayer is that residents may ultimately receive true and lasting freedom. 

If you are interested in supporting courageous women who choose to fight for freedom - please visit our webpage. 

Tuesday, December 15, 2015

Community Highlights

Resident Spotlight- Toni

"I arrived at Deborah’s Legacy in March after being released from jail. Upon moving in I was broken, scared, and didn’t know who I was. All I knew was that I didn’t like the person I had become. Deborah’s Legacy offered me many things, and my acceptance of these things is a big factor in where and who I am today. I was offered the love of the Lord, a solid foundation, acceptance for who I was and where I had been, and unconditional love. These were all new to me, but everything I needed. I have grown and am continuing to find out who “Toni” really is. I am grateful today to be able to say thank you to all of you that support this program. My journey has been amazing and will continue to be."
Toni is in Stage 3 of the Legacy program- Mentoring roommates, saving for her future, and making a transition plan for her next stage of independence. We appreciate the heart she has for the community and look forward to the role she can play as our first graduate. 

In 2015, Legacy has...

  • welcomed 7 women into the program
  • celebrated 4 level advancements
  • helped 6 women find employment
  • referred 20+ women to outreach programs 
Generous people from North Platte and beyond lovingly support our residents' efforts to maintain recovery, heal from wounds, enjoy stable employment, and find safe housing. Such support sends a powerful message of hope to women who walk through our doors. Find out how you can join our Legacy community by visiting our redesigned webpage and clicking on the serve or donate tabs. 

Monday, December 7, 2015

Legacy is NOT a Government Agency

(As promised in the previous post, this is the first in a three part series explaining what Legacy is all about. A foundations class, if you will… “Life at Legacy 101”) 
by Stephanie Miller

 The most terrifying words in the English language are: 
I’m from the government and I’m here to help.
~Ronald Reagan

If you agree with Ronald Reagan's famous quip above, you'll appreciate the unique, faith-based, non-governmental ways Deborah's Legacy seeks to reach struggling women in our community. 

Let me state upfront that DL gladly partners with a number of wonderful government agencies including: DHHS, Workforce Development, Heartland Counseling & Consulting, North Platte Police Department, Lincoln County Sheriff's Department, Midwest Nebraska Drug Court and others.  We appreciate the important services each agency provides and have seen incredible examples of the love and dedication motivating these public servants. So no government bashing here.

Legacy, however, has purposefully chosen an alternate path. While the government can legislate obedience and punish disobedience to affect change, a life transformed by the gospel of Christ changes a person from the inside out. This is lasting change.

Such a task is "messy" and hard to systemize at times.  Loving people well (like Christ loves us) includes holding them to certain standards as well as forgiving "seventy times seven" (Matt 18:21-22).  At Legacy we strive for a balance between accountability and freedom, truth and grace. So, we attempt to run each decision, each rule, each activity through that messy & inexact filter… 

Here's a glimpse at several practical and specific ways DL offers Christ-like love to each resident:
  • Giving each woman her own house key. This simple gesture powerfully communicates love to our residents, many who are trying to escape some sort of imprisonment (both literal and figurative): jail, substances, unhealthy relationships, poverty.   By simply giving them a key, we are saying, “We believe you can do this! Welcome HOME, where you are valued beyond measure.”
  • Giving each woman an individualized welcome basket including a Life Recovery Bible, beauty products, journal, other personal items, and a note from our staff or prayer team. We want each woman to know she has been prayed over and loved before she has even stepped foot onto Legacy property. The message we hope to communicate: "You are loved for who you are, not what you do."
  • Offering personalized attention. We want each woman to know we are “for them” in a very practical, individualized way- prayer in the ER, a supportive shoulder in the court room, cake to celebrate milestones, tears over coffee in times of defeat. We hope to foster a sense of "one" community (including residents, staff, volunteers…)- A community of fellow strugglers who share burdens and walk this difficult road of life together. 
  • Praying for each woman in a meaningful, concentrated, intentional way. God has assembled a team of Legacy prayer warriors, who humbly and fearlessly engage in spiritual battle on behalf of the entire community. Recognizing residents as sisters and fellow strugglers, our team meets weekly to pray for and encourage one another.
  • Connecting ladies with faith-based resources. Because we believe Christ is what truly changes lives, we encourage our residents to tap into some of the amazing faith-based resources in our community: counseling, legal support, church, recovery programs etc…We are so thankful for the many Christian professionals who have partnered with Legacy to provide services to our ladies! We also offer our own classes as well, covering everything from healthy finances to healthy relationships, all based on Biblical principles.

Again, while our faith guides Legacy, our desire is to love and serve all.  Therefore, we strive very hard to avoid any sense of “legalism” or “required belief” in order to succeed here.  Legacy residents represent a diverse cross-section of beliefs- ranging from Christian to Wiccan, Jehovah’s Witness to “unaffiliated” …  We hope to love and serve each, to the very best of our ability, as a sister and a friend.

In addition to the unique opportunity our status as a faith-based nonprofit provides, there are challenges as well. Government funding comes with “strings attached”, and we have therefore chosen to forego such funding. That's where you can potentially "stand in the gap". If our vision resonates with you, please consider joining our Legacy community by donating your time, talent, or resources. You can visit our webpage to learn more.

Thanks for reading, please share with your friends, and check for updates regularly!

Monday, June 29, 2015

Welcome to our new blog! Thank you Heather and Rita at CoffeeShop Designs for successfully translating all our imaginings into a beautiful (and usable) reality! (Isn't our new logo amazing?!)

We have so many things to share; it's difficult to know where to begin.  Perhaps it's best to "start at the very beginning…"  To actually learn the story of how Legacy came into existence, you can click here. But instead of chronological beginnings, let's talk philosophical beginnings, shall we? (Don't leave yet! I promise we won't dig too 
deep!)  I'm talking about the vision-guiding, what-are-we-all-about and why-do-we-do-what-we-do     kind of philosophy. "Life at Legacy 101".

We have learned a lot in the few short years since our first resident walked through that door.  God has shown us (and is STILL showing us) who we ARE and who we are NOT. The Legacy program provides a unique opportunity and we (above all else) want to hold fast to the vision God has called us to. So in the upcoming weeks, we plan to unpack that vision for you, reminding ourselves and clarifying to others what it is that sets Legacy apart.  Our next few posts will cover 4 basic differences between Legacy and other agencies:

1. Legacy is NOT a government agency.
2. Legacy is NOT compulsory.
3. Legacy is NOT staffed 24 hours/day.
4. Legacy is NOT easy.

Putting a thing in writing and broadcasting it to the world has a way of keeping one accountable to the vision.  It also helps communicate that vision to potential residents, volunteers, donors, or referring agencies. Either way, it's a win/win!

In addition to vision-casting, we will also be posting about Legacy events & happenings, insights into what God is currently teaching our little community (the good, the bad, & the ugly), as well as how you can come alongside Legacy in the days ahead. Whether you are a tried-and-true supporter or are just hearing about Legacy for the first time, we are blessed by your interest!  Thanks for stopping by our new little corner of the web. We hope to see you here often.

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