"This past Club Hope has to be one of the best Club Hopes I’ve ever been too. Not much had changed. There was nothing new to add the the agenda. No crazy behavior other than kids being kids. But for me this was so altering for my heart. God had been preparing me for this club beforehand.
You see, I have this tendency to go to Club Hope with a certain agenda and expectations. I’m going to make sure the kids aren’t too crazy and the behavior is always controlled. I’m going to dig deep into the personal stuff and pull out what’s been going on. (Lots of pride from me huh?)
But a friend of mine sent me a verse that God was stirring in my heart: 'How foolish can you be? After starting your new lives in the Spirit, why are you now trying to become perfect by your own human effort?' (Galatians 3:3 NLT)
I had been doing that a lot lately and not even realizing it. I would go in and try to do things by my own effort and walk away frustrated or disconnected or both.
Today was different.
Today I came and I just wanted to love the kids. I didn't want to change behaviors or force conversation. I just wanted to understand where they were at. I just wanted to love them with no expectations in return. It seems simple but sometimes life and your own plans have a way of complicating things and missing the whole point.
There was one girl in particular - one I met at Impact Clubs this year. I was the one who went to her house and found her family and brought them. She remembered me when I didn't remember her. She just slid up next to me and hugged me. And when I realized who she was, it was like God was showing me how much He's still using me even when I forget or get caught up in little things. Her face was just so glad to see me and be near me. It was like I understood what God wants from us. I was just really humbled today.
The story doesn’t end there.
During group time they made me almost cry. At one point one of the girls started talking about fear and how she gets that feeling of fear like someone is walking behind her waiting to attack her but in reality there is no one there. A lot of the other girls agreed. And so I asked them what they did to make the fear go away. Some said think positive or think other thoughts. I asked them what happens when that didn't work? They just said they stayed afraid.
As I kept questioning them, I asked them, "what do we actually do for you? Why are you here? What’s the point of you being here? Sure we provide a safe place for now but what happens when you go back home? What do you get here that you bring back home?" (My tone was forceful, almost accusative because I wanted them to understand that I wanted real answers--not just answers they'd think I'd like.)
One girl answered "You give us hope."
My heart just broke. Like wow. Hope. Real tangible hope. Real truth. That no matter what God is always with them. God is powerful and true. That they can believe that no matter what comes their way. That God sees EVERYTHING that is happening in their lives. He see all the pain and sorrow and moments that life brings and he CARES. He cares about them so much and they can believe that.
I told them all of that and it's so crazy to be privileged to be the one to declare these truths to them. They just let me speak and they even gave their feedback but ultimately today they just needed to know God cares.
It’s so simple that it’s easy to miss. I’m so glad I put my perspective right so I didn’t miss it.
Our Valentines Day Club Hope event this past Saturday was a huge success thanks to the teamwork of our amazing volunteers! A special thanks to Rachel LaFlamme for decorating Valentines cookies and Bethlehem Church for providing gift bags for the kids to hand out to their moms!