I am so excited to share this post today. This is a topic I have been wanting to share for quite a while, but the timing was not quite right. In part, I was simply waiting for my roses to bloom to give the full effect. I promise, that will make sense. The other reason I needed to wait had to do with waiting on a conversation to take place. Today that conversation took place, and I am so excited to share part of it with you. But first, a sneak peak in to what our family has been up to lately.
The last couple of weeks have been busy with trying to finish out our homeschooling year strong, spend time out in the sun, and enjoying the opportunity to go to the park. Annika and I completed the WorldVision 6k for water on May 22. Thanks to such wonderful donations, between the two of us enough was raised to provide water for five people! Such a huge blessing that could not have happened without the willing generosity of others. Over the last couple of weeks, we were also able to drop off a meal and get a peak at our new nephew, too. I admit, that was a highlight. Annika was able to go see a movie one night which was a blast for her. While she was gone, the boys and I watched an Octonauts movie together. It has been so much fun to soak up all these moments.
Over the last few weeks I have also had the chance to watch something beautiful happen in my backyard. Shortly after we moved in, I noticed what looked like a small rose bush. I wasn’t entirely sure what it was though, because there were no flowers. If it were a rose bush purposefully planted, it was an odd space for it. We were still in the season that there should have been evidence of it having flowered, but the only things visible were thorns and leaves. I was told it was likely it was a rose bush that went wild due to lack of care, and probably would not flower anymore. But I didn’t want to give up on it. A year later, I saw one rose bud on it. But shortly after, Jarrod mowed the lawn, unaware I wanted to keep the little rose bush. So that was mowed right down, too. I was so sad! This year I noticed it had grown back. It was still small, but growing again. Then the neighbors decided to remove their hedge so they could extend their privacy fence. In doing so, they released a part of the rose bush that had apparently been growing up and vining into the hedge. There was a good ten feet of leaves and thorns on a stick suddenly stretching across my yard. It actually took me a moment to realize it was a part of my rose bush. I decided to go ahead and trim it down to a manageable size and zip tie it to the fence. I wanted to give this rose a chance to grow, to blossom. I was amazed at the outcome.
Watching my flowers come back reminded me of the passage in 2 Corinthians 4:8-9. The ESV says it like this, “We are afflicted in every way, but not crushed; perplexed, but not driven to despair; persecuted, but not forsaken; struck down, but not destroyed;” Darrell Evans has a beautiful song called Trading My Sorrows that uses this passage. I keep thinking about that song, these verses. This ties in to why House of Hope in Orlando stands out so much to me. The ministry they have there is amazing.
Today I finally had the chance to touch base with Angela Lloyd, the Executive Director of House of Hope. This “meeting” between us has been in the works since I think about January. But life has been so busy and full for both of us that it was put on hold for a while. Angela and I first connected through the Polaha Chautauqua, as she was a guest in November when the topic of faithfulness was discussed. Her story with her own son (also a Daniel) was so similar to mine, it felt like she was telling my story! I reached out to her that very night, and over the last handful of months we have been building on that common ground. We found common ground in our faith, in our experiences raising differently abled children, and our heart for the youth. You see, House of Hope is a ministry that reaches out and helps turn the lives of hurting teens around. It’s a place for at risk youth to get that chance they need to have love poured in to their lives simply for who they are, where they are. They minister to the broken youth who have gone through traumatic ordeals and started making destructive choices, and teach them to let Jesus in to mend their wounds. I asked Angela if she could describe her favorite thing about being involved with House of Hope. She shared the most rewarding thing is watching the transformation happen in the lives of these beautiful children. They come in angry, guarded, and lashing out. But through the unconditional outpouring of love and speaking the truth to them, they blossom and grow. They are not the same when they leave.
Just like my roses, these kids have been beaten down and discouraged. Trauma has left them feeling they can only have their thorns exposed. House of Hope provides them with the love, pruning, structure and stability to let their inner beauty show. To be vulnerable enough to blossom in to who God created them to be. If you are looking for an amazing ministry to invest in, please consider House of Hope. You can learn more about their amazing history and what they do, as well as see how you can support the ministry by checking out http://houseofhopeorlando.org
If you are struggling this week feeling crushed and downtrodden, I pray that you would lay your burdens down at the feet of Jesus and choose to carry His Joy and Hope in your heart instead. You are loved, so much more than you know. As always, feel free to like, comment and share. Have a blessed week.