If I had to describe my experience with House of Hope in a word, I think I would choose…
Of course God’s first call to join the staff of House of Hope fit this description well. I was already in a job I loved with a wonderful ministry. I had just finished major, multi-year undertakings and was ready to enjoy a quieter season of “coasting” for awhile. But God gave me a vision to see women live in health, freedom, and community in western Iowa and made it clear my next step was House of Hope. So began a three-year journey that was, yes, disruptive.
I expected to spend a season really learning the ins and outs of this ministry and its mission. I did not expect God to turn me inside out in the process.
One of the things I love about the House is that it is a “we” place. House of Hope is not about the polished and perfect stooping to save and serve the broken and the weak. At the House we recognize that brokenness and strength reside in all of us. Thus the core values of authenticity, community, and surrender to Jesus invite us all to be both the givers and the receivers.
To be the receiver. It was something I had longed for but it terrified me as well. But if we cannot embrace this role, than Jesus shares the same words to us as to Peter refusing to be washed, then you have no part with Me (John 13:8).
To be vulnerable, to be limited, to get off the treadmill of performance. This was Jesus’ disruptive invitation for my life in my time at House of Hope.
It started almost immediately as I jumped into a year of taking Phases I, II, and III of The Ultimate Journey. I was laid bare, the truth of my performance addiction exposed, the grace of the gospel experienced as never before, and paradigm shift of the incarnational nature of life with Christ spurring me to wrestle and question and lay down my life again and again and again.
While I treasure my three years at House of Hope as perhaps the richest, most healing, most transformative time of my life, it was one of the hardest. Disruption usually is.
There were so many times I wanted to quit, walk away, slip back into the safe patterns of self-reliance and performance. But it was the House of Hope community and the tangible presence of Jesus in it that held me. It wasn’t that these women and men were doing everything right. It was that we understood that real freedom work means that we are reactive at times, defensive at times, messy at times, but we continue to walk the thing out together.
Now that I’m here in western Iowa, nearly two-thirds through my counseling graduate program, and moving closer to the vision of a House of Hope-like community here, I am absolutely certain that I needed those three disruptive years at the House before I could be here in this season.
I still get triggered sometimes by old lies of rejection and not-good-enough-ness. I still am tempted by the old pattern of self-reliance and performance. But my time at the House gave me new eyes to see, a new relationship with my own soul, practical tools for freedom, and a certainty that I have tasted the goodness of truth. It is real, and thus even when it doesn’t feel that way, I can remember and press on.
I miss the House of Hope community deeply, but it is my joy to celebrate God’s continued and undeniable work through this ministry. And with joy, I invite you to not only support this community with your resources, but to let yourself be drawn more deeply into it and experience God’s disruption for yourself.