Why is Trusting God so Hard?
At the beginning of this summer, I wasn’t sure if the nonprofit world was for me. I knew I was passionate about community development, but I wasn’t sure if it was just a side interest or a calling. Growing up, my top two self-identifying adjectives were always “compassionate” and “caring.” I’ve always known that I wanted to “help people” when I grew up, but I didn’t know who or how. As I grew older, I was set on finding a career where I could both help people while still providing a livable income.
This summer, the Lord called me out of my seemingly secure vision of the future and asked me to truly trust Him. With my future, with my career, with everything. Because I wasn’t viewing my future through the right lenses. Mine were clouded by fear, a desire for material comfort, and societal expectations. God called me to step out into the unknown with Him, trusting He is good and His plans are for our good. And boy, what fulfillment comes in His calling! As I interned with Children’s HopeChest, I realized every day that God has placed social justice and community transformation on my heart. Before this summer, I had learned about injustice and poverty and had been overcome by emotion. Fear crept in that I couldn’t handle this line of work, that the injustice of our world was just too heavy to face. However, God has been showing me that I am called to channel that compassion and anguish into action and advocacy. To be fueled by my compassion and to do something to change those very injustices that are heavy and overwhelming.
Jumping into His Call
This summer I had the opportunity to support the Marketing Team here at Children’s HopeChest. I learned so much about donor analysis, social media, and the ways we intentionally build community around every person involved with HopeChest. We see each donor, sponsor, and church community as an integral member of the HopeChest family and the body of Christ. Not only have I gained many skills that will help me springboard into my career, but I also have gained invaluable connections and a supportive community. The Barn, our HopeChest headquarters, is like a huge family. From eating lunch together to taking walks around the property every few hours, the staff here prioritize fellowship. I have felt so supported and encouraged throughout this summer and have made such sweet friends along the way! I am inspired by the passion and calling each staff member has to make the world better and bring the Kingdom of God. What renewal comes with being surrounded by people who care deeply for the world and the Lord’s children!!
From the Classroom to the CarePoint
This summer was an incredible opportunity to put what I’ve been studying at Baylor into action. Through social work courses and classes focused on vulnerable communities, I have learned that supporting communities through sustainable programs is essential to breaking the cycle of poverty. HopeChest takes this understanding a step further by empowering local leaders of the community to decide what is best for their people. There is such respect for the people and such beauty in the autonomy they have over their lives and the lives of their children. So many vulnerable communities have been damaged by a Westerner’s good intentions. Without the cultural understanding, it is so easy for us to decide what’s “best” for a community, without truly seeing their worth. We often try to “fix” the community without listening, without asking for their input, without respecting their leadership. HopeChest is changing the narrative. At HopeChest, our focus is on long-term relationship, Community-to-Community partnership, in which local leaders are supported by North American churches and truly empowered to transform their communities. This is such exciting work to be a part of! I encourage you to dig deep into HopeChest’s vision and pray about the ways the Lord is leading you to be involved.
Following Christ with Immediacy
The overarching theme of this summer for me has been answering God’s call with immediacy. In the book of Mark, the disciples drop everything and follow Christ immediately, the sick are healed immediately, demons are defeated immediately. There is a sense of urgency that I hadn’t noticed before. God began to show me that He wants us to answer His call immediately. Not out of a sense of haste or ignorance, but because we know the importance of His call and believe in His faithfulness. I struggle with trusting God with every aspect of my life. So, naturally, answering God’s call with immediacy is pretty difficult for me. This summer has been a time of such growth, especially spiritually, and God knew exactly where He was placing me.
Throughout my time at HopeChest, I have been prayed over and been held accountable in my faith. I have been able to share my vulnerabilities and fears, which were met with love and acceptance and encouragement. I never thought I could find such a solid Christian community in the workplace, but God met my skepticism and fear with abundance and overflowing blessings. What a joy it is to answer the Lord’s call and walk in confidence with Him with our brothers and sisters in Christ! Thank you, Childen’s HopeChest, for giving me the confidence and experience to step into my career with boldness and joy.
Ashlin Gray is a student at Baylor University, studying Social Justice & Poverty Studies, Spanish, and Non-Profit Marketing. As the Donor Relations Intern at Children’s HopeChest, Ashlin supported donor analysis, social media presence, and sponsorship reporting. Ashlin is passionate about empowering vulnerable children and their communities, and humbly learning from other cultures. On a sunny day, it’s likely that Ashlin will be kayaking on a lake or hammocking with a good book and a cup of tea!
If Ashlin’s experience sparked your interest, you can check out our current internship and volunteer opportunities, here.