Headshot image of Julie Gatewood

Julie Gatewood, a member of Omega Espresso Bar’s Board of Directors, expresses her heart’s desire that God’s unconditional love will transform lives through OEB’s presence.

Editor’s Note: This article is the fifth in a series written by the members of Omega Espresso Bar’s Board of Directors. Each one will be answering questions or sharing why he or she is committed to playing a vital role in Omega’s story as it unfolds.

I believe I began growing to love Omega Espresso Bar before it was ever a concept.

It began when my dear friend Susan asked me to commit to pray for one of her co-workers named Janna. As she shared a bit of Janna’s story with me I felt my heart sink: alcoholism. Something I knew all too well.

My older brother had been trapped in an alcoholic cycle for most all of our lives. I knew the ugly reality of its hold on someone and how it would creep up over and over and over to devastate not only the life of the person it had its hold on but also all who loved them.

My thoughts turned toward my friend Susan and the ache she would feel watching this woman she had grown to love fall into the trap alcohol leaves for someone looking for escape. But something inside my heart ached for this woman too, so I prayed. Each time I prayed for her my heart began to love her long before I even met her face to face.

Susan would update me and give me specifics to pray for, as well as share funny stories of their crazy personalities together at work.  My heart ached for Janna to know and understand that God loved her right where she was no matter how broken or “bad” she felt.

Finally the day came when Janna grasped that God, like her friend Susan, loved her for who she was. WHO she was! Not what she could be or who she could become but who she was right then and there.

Days turned into months, months to years and Janna traded the deceiving lure of alcohol as an escape, instead turning toward the saving grace of her Savior who loved her. A love that came with a passion so intense she continues to hold on to it everyday.

Susan and Janna shared with me the “What If?” that came to Janna one day: “What if there was a way to show other women with no hope, God’s hope? What if HE used my past for HIS good?”

This time I felt my heart leap!

I began to pray for this place to become a reality. A place where women with broken pasts could come and experience what it feels like to be loved for WHO they are. A place where a hope-filled future could be theirs through the training and employment opportunities that this little coffee shop–with Janna and Susan’s expertise–could provide. Where they would rub shoulders with people who will love them as God loves them and experience the same thing Janna experienced when she began to work alongside Susan and her other co-workers.

To this day, as I pray for Omega Espresso Bar my heart already loves the women who are waiting—waiting for a place like this to open. I have not met any of them face to face nor do we know any of them by name yet, but my heart loves them. I see them working, growing and learning how to achieve a sustainable life through the skills they will learn at OEB. I see them grasping the greatest gift of all: how much God loves them for who they are, right where they are, no matter what.

Now, serving as a member on the OEB Board, I love my front row seat to the unfolding of the “What If?” and I feel the ache of waiting for its realization. Would you join us in making this “What If?” a reality?

Women whose past renders their employment opportunities almost non-existent are waiting. Waiting for OEB to open so they can work in an ethical environment that will demonstrate the love of Jesus Christ and empower them with skills to build a future in which they can thrive. Waiting for you to walk into Omega Espresso Bar so they can serve you—with a cup that represents so much more than just a cup of coffee.

Would you please join me in praying for these dear ladies?