I’d like to formerly introduce you to one of our Robin Interns, meaning she joined the intern team in July 2013. Her name is Alisha (pronounced uh-LISH-uh, just so we’re all on the same page). Alisha she hails from Ashland, IL; but has lived in State Parks most of her life (her dad has the coolest job ever!). Growing up around more animals than people instilled in Alisha a love for the furry. She originally wanted to help animals, not people. After all, people were “too complicated.” How did God change Alisha’s mind and bring her to Vision of Hope?
Through family turmoil and poor personal choices, Alisha abandoned God from elementary school to high school, “I turned my back on the Lord and on my parent’s instruction…” At 17, God turned Alisha back to Himself through the ministry of two people from her church; they incessantly questioned her about her choices and whether she was living for Christ. Alisha recalls those moments of confrontation as “a precipice,” where she was either going to jump off the cliff, or turn back to God. She decided the latter: return to her Savior. “The Lord replaced what I thought I wanted for my life [to] submission to Him… not my will, but His.”
Two years after graduating from a small Bible College, where she studied Biblical Counseling, Alisha completed the application process for an internship at Vision of Hope. Remarkably, Alisha had started the application process 3 times in those 2 years, but had always left it unfinished. Alisha realized she had to apply what she was learning in her own life before she applied it to others’ lives. In the waiting period between college and VOH, Alisha continued to develop a desire to serve others, but she didn’t know where. She simply knew that’s what brought her joy: “I find the greatest joy when I’m serving the Lord, with my whole life.”
At 2 1/2 months into her internship, Alisha describes her experience as “open heart surgery, spiritually speaking.” It’s a process of being “exposed” to her heart idols and struggles, and seeing her need for continued growth. “God has really taken that idea and run with it, giving me a wake up call in areas I’ve grown lukewarm in.”
Another element of the internship Alisha noticed was a lesson in embracing discipline. “It’s hard in the moment [to recieve instruction] but I’ve been meditating on Hebrews 12.” The passage Alisha mentioned explains how loving discipline is, though it seems unpleasant at the time.
“And have you completely forgotten this word of encouragement that addresses you as a father addresses his son? It says, ‘My son, do not make light of the Lord’s discipline, and do not lose heart when He rebukes you, because the Lord disciplines the one He loves, and He chastens everyone He accepts as his son.’ … [For our earthly fathers] disciplined us for a little while as they thought best; but God disciplines us for our good, in order that we may share in his holiness. No discipline seems pleasant at the time, but painful. Later on, however, it produces a harvest of righteousness and peace for those who have been trained by it (vs. 5-11).”
In the future, Alisha wants to be in full-time ministry. “I’m trying not to hold too tightly to what I think that looks like,” Alisha says. Rather, she’s learning to pray “Lord, Your will be done, not mine,” in the light of Jesus’ own prayer in Luke 22:42.
Throughout her journey as an intern, Alisha has been clinging to a song by Laura Story called “Bless the Lord.” The song begins, “You give and take away for my good / For who am I to say what I need?” It echos the familiar refrain of Job, “The Lord gave, and the Lord has taken away; blessed be the name of the Lord” (Job 1:21).
“That sums up everything about why I’m here, I go into a situation thinking one thing, God shows me something else to take away and refine. He reminds me yet again, the question is who do I love more? Do I love self or Him more?”