“The Lord is close to the brokenhearted and saves those who are crushed in spirit.”- Psalm 34:18
I repeated this verse to myself often when my youngest daughter Lilly died on December 15, 2011. I continued to remind myself of this verse as our family spiraled downhill over the next 6 years. I thought of the verse again in January 2017 when I dropped off my older daughter, Tabby, at House of Hope.
That was a little over a year ago and as I reflect back, I am astounded with how far Tabby has come as she closes in on her time there. The House of Hope program isn’t about “fixing the girl and sending her home.” What good would that do, to send her back into the environment she came out of? Instead HOH works to bring healing to the whole family. That healing takes on many different forms and a lot of hard work. I have had to face my own past traumas and pain which I had numbed myself to. By doing that, I have changed. When parents change, their children are freed to change even more.
In reflecting on our past year, I can see how God has been working in our lives, through House of Hope. Here are just a few of the ways.
Patience. “Rome wasn’t built in a day.” That means our homes can’t be rebuilt quickly either. We have had to accept that our journey through the House of Hope program can’t happen quickly. It has ebbs and flows. Some of the damage done may take many years to finally heal. God’s time is not our time. We’ve all needed to learn new skills, and that takes time to make them habitual.
Trust. I tend to be a wary person and like to be self sufficient. I finally had to admit to myself that I could not help my daughter. I had to get over feeling like a failure. I had to trust that even though she is angry at God, He still loves her and has a plan for her. I had to trust that God wasn’t angry at me and purposely making horrible things happen in my life to punish me. I had to trust Romans 8:28: “And we know that in all things God works for the good of those who love him, who have been called according to his purpose.”
Faith. Trust led to increased faith for me. My faith grew to really believe what God promised us: “Never will I leave you; never will I forsake you.” - Hebrews 13:5 It can be hard for people feeling crushed in spirit to have faith. Even in God at times. But throughout my adult life, I often recognized that God was the only one I could depend on 100%. As I continue to work with House of Hope staff, to see the changes in Tabby, in the other residents, and in my husband and myself, my faith in them and their work has grown more and more. Even Tabby’s younger brothers have also seen enough change in her to know that the House of Hope program works.
Hope. Atheist Friedrich Nietzsche said “Hope is the worst of evils, for it prolongs the torment of men.” He later became completely insane in the last decade of his life. I can not imagine living life without HOPE. Having HOPE - that is what keeps me going. Cling to hope. Do not let anyone steal that from you!
We all have trials in life. It does seem some of us have more than the “average” person. But everything happens for a reason and God is willing to exchange “beauty for ashes.” (Isaiah 61:3) Even though my family still has some issues to hash through, I feel we’ve learned enough through House of Hope to be at a point where we can truly help others. Just as I have learned much through the death of a child, and how to help others dealing with that grief, I have now learned to help others struggling with emotionally “broken” children. I consider this verse, one of “mine”:
“[God] who comforts us in all our troubles, so that we can comfort those in any trouble with the comfort we ourselves receive from God.” - 2 Corinthians 1:4
Thank you God, and thank you House of Hope!