I asked one of our interns to share what she has learned the most so far from her time here as an intern. Hear Rachel’s story:
But Now I See: Lessons Learned in my First 3 Months as an Intern at Vision of Hope
It’s been both an eternity and just yesterday since my little Honda Accord pulled into the parking lot of Faith Church in Lafayette, Indiana. As would any human starting a new chapter in life, I had expectations for what my time at Vision of Hope (affectionately known as “VOH”) might bring. Yet, many of the lessons I’m learning—along with the challenges I’m experiencing—far exceed my expectations, in the most glorious way. I should expect no less from the God who is able to do abundantly more than I could ever think or imagine (Eph. 3:20).
As a VOH intern, one reality I’m privileged to experience is the vibrancy of Scripture. In my head, I realize the Word of God is living and active, poignant and powerful (see Hebrews 4:12, for example). Yet in my heart and in my experience, it often feels as if the word of God were a pass-time more than a passion. As I work with the girls at VOH, I’m constantly put into situations I haven’t prepared for: I don’t know what to say and do, or how to say and do it for that matter! I walk into conversations with perhaps some expectation or hint of the girl’s struggle; but as I wade deeper, I lose whatever foothold I thought was mine: I realize this is over my head. In these moments of time-sensitive uncertainty, passages like Psalm 119:105 are most real to me: “Thy Word is a lamp unto my feet and a light unto my path.”
I can’t tell you the number of times I’ve desired to help a girl who’s struggling, but—once hearing the struggle–am at a complete loss as to wisdom or encouragement. There are other times when I would rather keep peace than admonish, confront, or train a girl who’s not living in the fullness of what God has for her. In both circumstances, I am tempted to impart human wisdom, because I want to find the solution or feel I have something academic to offer on my own. I’ve learned, often through failure, that using my own words is a risky business, as I am liable to create incredible misunderstanding or dichotomous arguments. In these moments, it’s comforting to know that when I use God’s words instead of my own, I will never be lying to someone or advising them in a harmful way. God’s word and His truth have illuminated a path on which I can walk, and lead others to follow. In my darkness, in my uncertainty, I have a lamp at my disposal. I have a light.
This lesson applies not only to my interactions with the residents, but also in my personal life, specifically my thought life. When I have a hard day, a hard shift, or am confronted with hard news, I can respond in a variety of ways: I can attempt to “make myself feel better,” I can numb out the stress, or I can repeat Truth to myself, even when it doesn’t feel true. If I use my own words, I’m in danger of lying to myself or perpetuating despair (i.e., “This isn’t really that bad, it will be over soon. Everything will be ok. There’s nothing I can do. I can’t seem to shake this. I want out”). It is important to remind myself that ALL truth minus the Word of God—even irrefutable reality or science—is a hollow chorus. It only leads to a hopeless end. On the contrary, God’s word—living and active, a light and a lamp—leads to an endless hope, even in my wandering.