I grew up in the kind of place where everyone got cars on their 16th birthdays (from jeeps to BMWs if you were really lucky) and pretty much everyone I knew had a second home some where (sounds normal, right?) So In the 8th grade, when I went with my youth group to help lead a vacation Bible school in inner city Washington DC with all my "normal" friends, we were a little shocked.
My thirteen year old brain tried to understand how we could be walking distance from the White House, and be surrounded by such poverty. I remember escorting some of our VBS kids home to their apartments, only to find their moms asleep on the couch from working all night shifts with babies in front of the TV eating Cheetos and drinking Big Red out of bottles.
One of the places we visited while there was called Lazarus House. It was an apartment complex filled with a community of people recovering from drug addiction. They came to Lazarus House after going through treatment to literally join the land of the living and the sober. We sat there, a bunch of punk kids, while one of the apartment dwellers sang us Amazing Grace in a voice that could have been Aretha Franklin’s. I remember looking out the window while she sang, while watching drug deals (in full disclosure- I was told they were drug deals, as apparently Lazarus House was located in the largest open air drug district in DC.)
There was something that happened to me in that moment, when I knew I wanted to spend my life to bring justice to places of injustice. Isaiah 58 became a scripture that I wanted to live out (I wasn’t totally in love with Jesus at the time, but something in me got this whole part of God’s heart).
10 and if you spend yourselves in behalf of the hungry
and satisfy the needs of the oppressed,
then your light will rise in the darkness,
and your night will become like the noonday.
11 The Lord will guide you always;
he will satisfy your needs in a sun-scorched land
and will strengthen your frame.
You will be like a well-watered garden,
like a spring whose waters never fail.
12 Your people will rebuild the ancient ruins
and will raise up the age-old foundations;
you will be called Repairer of Broken Walls,
Restorer of Streets with Dwellings.
A LOT of searching years happened after that day as I wrestled to discover what Isaiah 58 would look like in my life. I had NO idea when starting to raise funds to bring our little guy home that this would be the beginning of a million things God was bringing together since that day in DC. So when it came time to naming this new business idea, I knew I wanted it to encompass the essence of the opportunity God gives each of us to stand up and be a voice. The day I officially decided on Noonday Collection- a friend living in Ethiopia (they rock- go check out Ordinary Love Ministries, they are liquid love), emailed and said “I have been praying for you and wanted to leave you with this verse from Isaiah 58:10". It was pretty much the push from God to just go for it!
I love the new living translation of IS 58:10. It says “help those in trouble”. Is the women who just found out her husband died of AIDS only to discover she now had HIV in trouble? I would say yes. Is the adult orphan who just worked for 2 months laying bricks, only to not be paid by his employer in some trouble? Or what about the woman abused by her husband, who finally has the nerve to leave? When you purchase from Noonday Collection, you truly are getting the chance to live out IS 58:10.
I also LOVE how the scripture goes on to talk about how “you will be called a restorer of streets with dwellings.” I LOVE picturing homes (even second homes with BMWs) that line streets across America opening themselves up for Noonday Collection trunk shows. I know for you it is a fun night out of fashion with the girls. For the people that we are purchasing from, though, it literally means restoration. So thanks for joining this story- for helping those in trouble to provide for themselves and for wearing and sharing their story! Hopefully you are a lot cuter for it, too.