Giving enough?How much is enough? This is a question we all must face. My husband and I look at it in two ways. How much is enough for our family’s needs? And how much is enough for us to give?

We have valid concerns about our own needs and wants. We want to take responsibility to plan for our retirement. And, we deserve a reward for our labors, don’t we?

On the other hand, we look at how rich we are! We have a home, an indoor shower and each other, as one of the women here pointed out to me the other day. It is easy to take these things for granted. How can I focus only on ‘me’ when others don’t have what I consider the minimum?

But my reason for giving goes deeper than this. My Spirit needs more than what pleases me.

Before I started working at Community of Hope, I was a substitute teacher. I felt like I was a valuable member of the team. Still, I longed to be able to use all the gifts God had given me. I didn’t think it was possible. Then God gave me courage to hear His years-long gentle call and pursue my dream. When I found the Community of Hope, I took a huge leap in faith. I was hired with no money, just an idea backed by the Church of North Portland. That was enough. My heart is no longer longing for ‘something more.’

I still wonder sometimes if it is worth it. I work twice the hours for half the pay (that’s not too much of an exaggeration!) I have to cover any empty shift, whether it’s convenient or not. The women here have found effective ways to protect themselves when they experience challenges. Sometimes I get hurt as they fight to survive. I have had to face my own sins and weaknesses and learn from my mistakes.

Why would I make the sacrifices needed to do this work? Why would my husband and I risk our financial future and sacrifice time together so I can follow this dream?

The answer is simple. Because it’s worth it. More than worth it.

  • I get to see the woman who comes off the street with tears in her eyes because she has a place.
  • I get to high five a mom who got a job and celebrate the housing she has found.
  • I get to see volunteers find their lives transformed as they work with the families.
  • I get great hugs and smiles from the kids.
  • I get to have deep and challenging discussions about past hurts and current challenges and watch as residents (and I) make decisions to risk changes that transform our lives.
  • I get to have my life enriched by so many people.
  • I get to see the community and churches work together in ways that are rare and amazing.

How much is enough? As I see God meet each of Community of Hope’s needs, I am learning to trust that He will take care of all my needs. I have more than enough. As I wonder how much more I can give, I find strength to give more than I thought was possible. I can give more than enough. Life is good. Life is very good.