I had a request recently on Vision of Hope’s facebook page to include blogs about VOH graduates, what they’re up to, how God is continuing to lead them, etc. Basically “where are they now?” Last week, I interviewed past resident and current VOH intern Martha about her journey with God and Vision of Hope. This blog is an attempt to highlight God’s faithfulness through her testimony.
After hearing about Vision of Hope through Faith’s BCTC (Biblical Counseling training conference) a 21 year old Martha came to Vision of Hope as a resident, seeking help for suicidal depression, unhealthy eating habits, and a chaotic life. “I was desperate,” Martha explains, “but I expected to receive coping skills, not that I would actually change.”
What made the difference for Martha? How did Vision of Hope help her change, not just provide her with coping skills?
“Well, I think for one, I couldn’t escape. I was forced to confront reality and was no longer able to hide. Two, I had never been shown how applicable the Bible was. I knew lots and lots about the Bible, but no one had ever explained that it actually had something to say about my life.”
Among the many things Martha remembers about residency at Vision of Hope, she recalls the challenging aspect of developing humility. To come to Vision of Hope, Martha had to give up her dream and drop out of nursing school. “It was hard to admit that my life was so out of control that I needed residential treatment… It was a confrontation of the chaos my choices had created… My life was only good enough for a treatment center.”
Martha was in the VOH program for 2 years before she graduated. “I am flabergasted and filled with gratitude that I am not who I was. Every single area of my life (from the clothes I wear to the makeup I put on, to the friends I choose, to the church I’m involved in) was transformed.”
After graduating, Martha lived what in her words was a “small life,” being faithful in the little things and practicing daily devotion to God. “God values faithfulness in everyday life… my goal is not to be showy or flashy, but to walk with God one day at a time, faithfully. Faithfulness is the theme of my life.” Upon graduating, Martha sought out accountability and discipleship to continue developing her relationship with God. In fact, Martha is the first to admit that she was not perfect when she graduated from Vision of Hope. In the 6 months following her graduation, Martha speant intentional time continuing to kill her idols and pursue obedience.
How did God guide Martha from graduation to her internship at Vision of Hope?
Martha had wanted to intern since residency. Though Martha didn’t believe she was capable of becoming an intern, she admired their maturity and wanted to develop skills in biblical counseling to help her friends. “The interns’ lives were so attractive to me,” Martha remembers, “they loved God and dealt with hard things.” Martha also wanted to tangibly give back to Vision of Hope. What began as sporadic volunteering as-needed developed into consistent volunteering and an eventual internship in January 2013.
For Martha, interning at VOH is just another context to be faithful and finish what she started. Interning at Vision of Hope has taught Martha that it’s not about what she can give back, but simply offering herself by growing herself in faithfulness to God and others. As an intern, Martha describes her life as not about success or failure, but about learning to say yes to Jesus. “It’s about choosing to faithfully follow Jesus out of my love for Him, not out of a crisis that pushes me to Him. My goal is to live settled before God, not in extremes. I’m making progress, but I’m no less needy,” Martha explains, reminding us of her continual dependence on Christ.
As she looks toward the future and the end of her internship, Martha desires to continue living a “small life” that honors God. She desires to invest in her local church, and to continue working faithfully at her job (oh yeah, did I mention she is working in long-term care as a nurse!). Martha would like to continue her training in biblical counseling and is open to how God would use it in her current relationships. Martha is also looking to get her bachelors’ degree as a step in stewardship and continuing her nursing education. As far as staying involved with VOH, Martha would like to continue volunteering and possibly mentoring if God allows.
One verse Martha has meditated on and and continues to cling to is Isaiah 33:6.
“He will be the sure foundation for your times, a rich store of salvation and wisdom and knowledge; the fear of the Lord is the key to this treasure.”
“I’m no longer scrambling,” Martha declares, “I’m changing all the time but God’s the sure foundation, the firm place I can plant my feet. From there, I can walk my life.”