As a new addition to the Hope House family, I had the unique perspective of looking in from the outside as I transitioned. Slowly turning to look outward into the world, I grew accustomed to the new life in which God had placed me. Life on the inside of Hope House ministry is so different from that of a 9 to 5. In a workplace, you are expected to complete the tasks you are assigned and you may seek advancement or a pay raise to further your career. This upward motion is a necessity for success in a career and there is nothing wrong with this focus.
This strategy would not work in the ministry at Hope House though. Relationships get in the way of tasks that need to be completed and lines between work life and not-work life get blurred and sometimes erased altogether. The house needs to get cleaned for the next program but there are kids outside who want to play ball or just sit and share life with you on the porch.
This is because ministry is not a job you can clock in and then clock out of at the end of the day. Ministry is continuous, messy, beautiful relationships with people: constantly humbling yourself to the needs of those around you, surrendering your schedule, loving them unconditionally.
After a few weeks at Hope House, I realized this was much harder to do than clean a bathroom or sweep a floor. Cleaning? I could do that on my own, but loving? And not just that, but loving everyone? I felt as if I had failed before I even started. I simply did not have it in me.
As it turned out, I didn’t need to have it in me but rather through me. There was no way I could love radically enough by myself to make a difference. But God could. And it was me He had chosen to use for this specific purpose. It was me He had chosen to act as a conduit for love: love through cleaning, love through planning, but ultimately, love through relationships.
“He must become greater; I must become less” John wrote (3:30). In other words, I had to work in a downward motion: for Christ to increase, I must decrease. I should be seeking the moments where I could lay all of my lists aside and risk being less productive so I could love my neighbor. And the only way I could do that was to recognize my inadequacy to do even that without Christ in me. He says “My grace is sufficient for you, My power is made perfect in weakness” (2 Corinth 12:9). Like Paul, I want to boast about my weakness so that Christ may be glorified all the more.
Hannah Wilkinson – House Director