Tuesday, August 28, 2012

.if.we.have.nothing.


.we.have.hope.

.Over. these past couple of days God has been so good in showing me rays of his hope and his love through watching the women and children here at HOH. Some days are hard to see past the smoke and the here and now to see the glimmers and rays and bright lights of HOPE that God gives.

.It’s. always easy to see the mess of life before seeing the big picture or the light at the end of the tunnel. That’s true for anyone..anywhere..any time. I often share with others about my walk through and away from addictions in this way. Describing them as intense and covering it’s like I look out all I see is my addiction.



.All. I can see is the hardness of saying no to whatever that thing that I don’t want to do is up in my face...again.

.You. know you have been there. Be it addiction to drugs, alcohol, coffee, brownies…that feeling that all you can think about is that one thing that you CAN’T do or let yourself have.

.I. know I’ve been there. On my floor crying out to God to move in my heart…to teach me how to WANT Him the way I used to want vodka or self-injury or any of my other go-to addictions.



.It’s. in those moments that I began to learn the power of the ultimate hope we…as followers of Jesus…have.  That even when my _______________________ (fill in the blank with whatever addiction I was fighting or you are fighting) looked to be bigger than God and sometimes better…all I had to do was to chose to look past that thing that was so close to me. The reason why it looked so big was just that…it was just near. I have learned and am learning that those things…past addictions…come in waves. They look really big and hard and unstoppable as it’s coming but in the end it hits the sand and it looses its power.

.That’s. hope. That’s God. That’s the hope he has put in our hearts as Jesus followers.

.Sometimes. it’s easy for me to get caught up in the here and the now living with the girls and women at HOH. It’s easy to see the girls being typical girls and being mean to one another and want things to be different. It’s easy to go to a place of thinking that these girls have a long road ahead of them.



.This. week God did a really sweet thing in teaching me more about himself and his character…his deep desire to see his people restore and healed.

.There. is one girl that I have connected really well with. She is 13. Spunky. Fun. Tender. She and I would have been troublemakers together if we were the same age.

.She. also has one of the more brutal stories of the girls here at HOH.

.This. precious little one was found in a ditch at the age of three. A Nicaraguan family adopted her…in Nica adoption isn’t because you necessarily want a child…it’s more like you want a servant. Her adoptive parents began pimping her out at a tender young age. She was (and is) a fighter. She became uncontrollable and would not obey orders to service the clients that would come in to her home. Her “family” would chain her to a stone wall. This precious child had chains on her neck and around her ankles and was lead in to service the “clients” when she was called upon. She’s lived off and on at the HOH over the past couple of years and has experienced great growth and healing.

.I’ve. had the privilege of living next to a real life hero.

.She. is a survivor of unthinkable pain.

.She. is what I think of when I think of hope on display for all to see.

.I. say that because the other day she and another girl had teamed up and were just being mean and ugly to me in what they were saying. I ignored what they were saying and I walked to my room. She ran before me and jumped in my hammock. I sat on the steps of my porch and crumpled in the hurt that God had for her. Seeing her reason for being so mean and ugly to me (to anyone) as an out-pouring of her hurt and pain on the inside. I sat there praying for her and for hope of healing. She got up and gave me the “I hate you” look and walked away. I continued praying for her as I sat there on my porch. As I felt God come close I felt such an overwhelming sense of his love for her…for the other girls…I was brought to tears.

.God. loves us just so much…we’ve only scratched the surface.

.She. came back around the corner saying mean hurtful things once more. She sat on the bottom step calling me names as I sat with my head in my knees not wanting her to know I was crying…sobbing may actually be a better word. She realized I was crying and picked my head up. As soon as she realized I was crying she immediately burst into tears.

.So. there we were…sitting on my steps…crying…and hugging one another.

.She. said she was sorry for calling me names. I let her know that of course I forgive her. I told her I love her and God loves her a whole lotta. We sat on my porch hugging and crying…and eventually giggling for a long time.

.Here. was a young girl who struggles to express any kind of real/raw emotion…crying with me.  That right there is hope my friends! That no matter how far gone we are…no matter how hurt and broken we are…there is hope. The source of all hope is Jesus and that he lives. That the Holy Spirit lives inside of those who have surrendered their lives to him…there is always hope.

.No. matter what my precious girl has been through she has hope. Hope for beauty instead of ashes. Hope for healing. Hope for life in Jesus. HOPE!



.No. matter what you or I did or will ever do will take away the hope that Christ has offers us…if…we are his child.  Nothing you or I have been through will dictate our future as a child of God because there is always hope.  

.As. a child of God there is always hope.

.Absolute.

.Unadulterated.

.Pure.

.HOPE.



P.S. Here’s my “on the lighter side of things” story: So Sunday we were in the back of a taxi driving to one of the local markets in Nica. One of my favorite things to do here is ride around in taxis because you get to see so much and I just LOVE it! Anyways..so we come up to a stop light and there on the right is a white brick building with green and white stripped awnings. My first thought was, “Wow! That’s a really nice building for Nica!” Then I noticed there were a lot of people around the building and in the doorway. I quickly read the sign and determined it was a restaurant. I said, “Hey guys let’s eat lunch there it looks like they probably have good food!” As I’m saying this I re-read the sign. I’m trying to stop the words from coming out of my mouth because upon my first quick reading of the sign I didn’t see the smallest, yet most important word, “funeraria”, which in Spanish means funeral parlor. Yep…that’s right friends…I wanted to dine at the funeral parlor. 

Sunday, August 19, 2012

.ain't.got.no.words.

.ok.maybe.i.have.a.few.



.These. past couple of weeks at HOH have flown by. Teams coming and going. Days starting and ending. Work to be done. Babies entering the world. Most importantly many women coming and leaving their life of prostitution. We now have a full house at HOH. We have a total of 19 women..the youngest being 15..that is living in the residential program at HOH. One of the women just welcomed her 4th child..a little girl..into the world Aug. 14th.





We have a total of 26 girls living in the dorm as well.

.Needless. to say nothing is quite on campus any more. :)

.I. am a bit overwhelmed with even what to say. I just really want to share some pictures of my family here with you. I want to show you how beautiful God is through them. I want to show you who I do life with every day. This is a picture of God's heart..and mine.

.Enjoy.



God Is Able
He Will Never Fail
He Is Almighty God

Greater Than All We Seek
Greater Than All We Ask
He Has Done Great Things




Lifted Up
He Defeated The Grave
Raised To Life
Our God Is Able
In His Name We Overcome
For The Lord
Our God Is Able




God Is With Us
God Is On Our Side
He Will Make A Way
Far Above All We Know
Far Above All We Hope
He Has Done Great Things




God Is With Us
He Will Go Before
He Will Never Leave Us
He Will Never Leave Us




God Is For Us
He Has Open Arms
He Will Never Fail Us
He Will Never Fail Us




For The Lord
Our God Is Able






Sunday, August 5, 2012

.everything.is.a.mess.


.But.God.



.Another. yay God moment happened just yesterday! Oscar went and picked up two new women to move into the residential program at the House of Hope! Two more lives on the way to restoration and leaving their life of sin. God is good.

.Some. things I never want to get used to about being at the House of Hope is seeing brokenness and broken people. I have found myself talking to Jesus this week a lot about wanting him to burn the faces of these precious children and women in my mind and in my heart.

That I would not forget the look in their eyes.

That I would not forget their voice.

That I would not forget what God has brought them out of…and what he desires so desperately to do in them.

That I would not become hard or desensitized to the stories of these people whom I love dearly.



.This. week I’ve had the privilege of being the person that the girls have shared hurts with. I’ve cried with and over several girls this week in just hearing what aches their hearts and what happened at school that day to make them have a bad day. Just the other night one girl was acting out of sorts. I got her alone and she just started crying and through broken sobs she said “Yo quiero mi mama.” Then she just melted into my arms and I held her as she cried deep tears. I felt as though I could feel her heart breaking…and the ache she felt. For this girl to say that she wanted her mom is a bit of surprise. You see her mom was willing in her “sale” into a brothel when she was 10.



.What. she said reminded me of how deep our desire is to be wanted and to be loved unconditionally.  She later said that she didn’t really want her mom, but she was just feeling alone…and needed a little bit of a mother’s love…or to feel that type of love.

.I. count it an honor to be able to be Jesus to that precious little child. To hold her. To give her God’s love for her in a physical way. To cry with her. To give her some ice cream and assure her it’s going to be ok. These are the moments here that I cherish and feel closest to God. These are also the moments that are the hardest here. It’s not for the faint of heart to be on the front lines of battling human brokenness. To be God’s hands and feet in picking up the wreckage of humanity and what we have done in our sin.



.On. the same hand it’s being on the front lines of seeing what God has done and is doing!

.Oh. he is just that good.

.This. is part of what God used to prompt me to write a verse for the women who live here. I spent yesterday writing cards with Ephesians 2:4-5…which starts with “But God…”
That’s right!!
We were dead. We were broken. We were a mess. BUT GOD!

We were hurting. We were in pain. We were in decay. BUT GOD!

We were his enemy. We were on the outside. We were aliens.

BUT GOD!



.I’m. so thankful for the “but God” scriptures. That no matter how broken and how far away we are from God he will work through it…he will bring restoration and healing and wholeness. 


.Love. you all a whole lot.