Spring is sprung!
Okay, we're a little late on that announcement, but looking back we haven't posted since January! We're a little late on a few things!
The past few months at House of Hope Minnesota have been simply beautiful. That's a word we use so easily, as an all-encompassing adjective, a precise noun, and even to express our frustrated irony.
Defined, it means having beauty, possessing qualities that give great pleasure or satisfaction to see, hear, or think about; delighting the senses or mind; wonderful, very pleasing, or satisfying; excellent of its kind.
And that's the context in which I use it in regards to the past few months in this ministry. God's work is happening everyday in the lives of our teens, their families, and our staff.
It is beautiful.
Watching a resident step forward on her own to pray for another resident who isn't feeling well is a situation that possesses qualities that give great pleasure or satisfaction to see.
Hearing reports from parents about visits with their daughters filled with joy, laughter, and love is wonderful, very pleasing, and satisfying.
Looking back at old pictures, reports, documents, and case notes on residents who longed for death and destruction, and seeing today a new creation in Christ, delights the senses and mind and is excellent of its kind.
There are days I wouldn't believe the past reports on residents if I hadn't witnessed the details and written them myself. The change, the healing, the growth blows my mind. We are required by our licensing to measure and document change in our residents during their stay, weekly, monthly, quarterly. We do, but how do you use numbers and reports to describe what God is doing in their lives? How do you measure divine intervention, revelation knowledge, Holy Spirit healing, and confidence in Christ? How do you write a report on the hollowness that was filled with the love of Christ?
We quantify change for these purposes in many different categories, and it's an interesting focus shift between what the world wants to see and what we know happens here. We measure "Respect of Authority" as demonstrating an ability to follow rules and respect authority with increased levels through program advancement.
The world considers parents, teachers, and police officers as that authority-also staff specifically here. We recognize these authoritative institutions as well, but overarching our emphasis begins with God, for there is no authority that except from God, and the authorities that exist are appointed by God (Romans 13:1). If we can instill in the minds of our residents and their families the need to first respect, fear, and revere the ultimate, absolute authority, understanding the need to respect all other authority easily flows. The walking-out isn't always so easy, but we begin with understanding and always move for more walking-out.
We measure "Social Skills" as demonstrating ability and willingness to behave in way that minimizes conflict. Generally, this is healthy and appropriate relationships, boundaries, conflict resolution, manners, respect, self control, patience. Our focus on social skills as a ministry stems from the Fruit of the Spirit in Galatians 5; love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, gentleness, faithfulness, self control. Is there any other way to have healthy, appropriate relationships, to behave in a way that minimizes conflict, than through these principles?
There are many other goals we measure, and we bring them all back to biblical principle. There is simply no better standard by which to live. The Lord set these in place for us because He loves us. The law is unattainable, and He sent His Son for us for that reason. That's good news all around! It is not of him who wills, nor of him who runs, but of God who shows mercy (Romans 9:16). We serve a God who is not willing that any should perish but that all come to repentance (2 Peter 3:9). We are so blessed to be able to use His Word everyday to guide us in our walk and to share it with others as they heal!