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.