I ve been working for Champions of Hope for three months now. Three months isn t long, but it s long enough to be a little settled ‚Äì long enough to have replaced my office chair with an exercise ball; long enough to no longer find my bosses intimidating but rather to be grateful for a man & woman who shepherd more carefully than they direct and who are passionate about what they do; long enough to be able to contribute as many ideas as I do questions.
Three months is still a short enough time for the inner-city culture to feel new and to sometimes grate against my very suburban upbringing. And it s short enough to still be introspective & reflective as I attempt to create good habits, form accurate opinions, and understand the community with depth & realism.
As I think through my first few months, there s a question mark hanging over my head and asking: do I do things that matter? Because I often sit across the table from a lot of kids whose circumstances are heartbreaking and even mind-blowing. And my ability to step into their situation seems inadequate at best.
The reality is I sit across from kids whose parents are incarcerated and then try to invest in their life by bringing them a homemade birthday cake. As though frosting and flour can even begin to heal the confusion they face. And I know girls who only have a faint memory of a father, and I respond by inviting them over for crafts and pizza. As though CiCi s has any power to bind up what has been wounded. I step back and feel like I m naive to believe that what I do might matter or to believe that people s lives might be written into a new story.
But then I remember my Savior, and I have the audacity to hope.
I don t place my hope in birthday cakes & pizza dates‚Äì those things are as silly as they sound. But I will be faithful, even in the little things. In remembering birthdays and encouraging the women who mentor these girls and in chaotic attempts at Bible study. Because I believe that Jesus will show up.
And, as He grafts these kids in as part of His people, they will no longer be called Forsaken, but they will be called Hephzibah, meaning my delight is in her. (Isaiah 62:4). I believe that the Lord will become the Father to the fatherless and the restorer of the streets. I believe that He will give these kids a new story: those two words have become my prayer and my banner. Write a new story in their lives: a story of redemption, a story filled with God s glory.
And, in this hope, I am able to exhale. Because laughing and baking and grabbing hot chocolate at Cafe Brazil are opportunities for trust to be built and new stories to begin. So, I step back and pray. That the local park, my kitchen table, and the restaurants throughout Deep Ellum might become sacred places‚Äì places where the Lord rescues people and tells them that they have a Father and a Savior and a real hope in Him. I have the audacity to believe that He just might show up‚Äì and write beautiful stories through the lives of these kids.