.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.
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.