Updated: Dec 20, 2021
I've had this post in my head for over a month. I was originally going to share it at Thanksgiving, but chickened out. Now, today is Aaron's birthday, and it's still on my heart, so it seems like the perfect time to tell you all a little more about the guy behind Haven Homes of Detroit and how he makes me so proud. And- fair warning- these thoughts have been in my head for way too long to be anything except a little bit on the long side.
I have to admit, I was a little bit nervous to see how it would go starting a non-profit with my husband. My parents worked together in ministry growing up, so I had a realistic picture about the ups and downs of working and serving with the person you are married to. For those who know us well, we are so much the same in most ways, but we approach things totally different in other ways- we are both driven and stubborn, but I'm overly analytical while Aaron leads with his heart and all the emotions.
For those of you that know our HHD story, you have heard that I had a dream for outreach in Detroit a while before Aaron. I wasn’t sure if he would ever see the same vision. A little more than 2 years ago, our circumstances lined up, and Aaron felt like he was supposed to leave strength and conditioning. He actually was in the final interviews for his dream job that would require us to move across the country. At the same time, I was having to travel more for work, and we were working through how we would balance it all. After more time thinking about it, He realized that he was spending too many hours at work for a job with tradeoffs he wasn't willing to make any longer. He left strength and conditioning to start a job with more flexibility, and he started Axe & Hammer. I will NEVER forget the day he came home and told me that he felt that the Holy Spirit had told him that he wasn't supposed to take any income from Axe & Hammer. Around the same time, he started doing outreach with All Worthy of Love and was meeting women in desperate need of love, care, rehab, and a stable place to live. One night the team had the privilege of helping a woman leave her situation on the streets. Aaron got home after midnight that night after spending hours on the phone and taking a woman over to Detroit for safe housing and rehab. He came home frustrated at the lack of accessible housing. In a tragic, but all too frequent turn of events, the woman he took to rehab that evening left soon after, returned to the situation of being trafficked, and was murdered by her pimp.
Ever since then, I've watched Aaron catch the same vision I have and work so hard to turn it into a reality. He reached out to a lawyer and completed the paperwork for Haven Homes of Detroit. He has continued to flip homes with Axe & Hammer, and never has taken any income from it (other than what's required to buy tools and operating costs). He has worked hard to build relationships with people who now support HHD. He has learned all about finances and housing laws to make sure, along with our lawyer, that we are operating Haven with the utmost integrity. He works so.hard on his flips to provide income for HHD. He works at our Haven house without heat or electric without complaining- he just layers up his long underwear, bought a generator to run his tools, and gets it done. In addition to all the work he does, he has been an amazing support and partner to me as I have worked on the marketing pieces and fundraising for HHD. He has become my trusted voice in what works well, and when things aren't going as planned, he is the voice of reason and practicality. I have told him so many times that the biggest blessing to date with HHD is realizing how good we are at being partners in this venture. His heart has grown and his diligence for details has increased. He values hard work and his life has become of sacrifice to our family and the women he pictures living at Haven.
We aren't perfect and Haven will have ups and downs, but I am so honored (and I mean that with all the weight of the word) to be on this journey and live out this vision we have together. I cannot imagine a better business partner, better confidant, a better spouse, or parent to create Haven Homes of Detroit. And so today- on his birthday and through this holiday season- I am so excited to celebrate Aaron! Thank you, Aaron, for all you've done for me, the kids, and those you have a vision to serve. We are all so blessed to have you in our lives and watch you own this vision you've been given as you have launched Haven and continue to work to turn our dream into a reality.