I know a girl from Detroit, she’s 24 years old and loves Dunkin’ Donuts. She’s beautiful, blonde, athletic, and some would say “fun sized” (aka short). Oh, and she’s also a twin! Her looks contribute to her beauty, but I’m talking about the way she looks like Christ. That’s what makes this girl beautiful. Meet Mary!
While she grew up in a Christian home and was “in church all the time,” Mary remembers making her faith personal on a missions’ trip she took in highschool. Through the missions’ trip, Mary realized how important ministry was in the Christian life. Two weeks before she enrolled in college, God redirected Mary and placed her in Bible college. Through the help of good friends who helped her identify her strengths and weaknesses, Mary decided to pursue a degree in counseling.
It was through another friend that Mary was introduced to Vision of Hope. After hearing about VOH, Mary spent one year surrenduring to God; because she wasn’t sure she wanted to come. “Decidign to come to VOH, I was willing to give up in a sense.” The processing time was Mary’s laying down of her own will for the sake of following the will of her Savior.
Eventually, Mary’s heart for discipleship and God’s faithful stirring in her heart pushed her to apply and accept the intership at VOH, arriving in July 2013. One thing Mary appreciates about the internship is the chance to “go deeper.” Like many (though not all) church-raised christians, Mary loved being with people, but was unfamiliar with how to answer hard, heart-wrenching questions and get to the root of the issue. In Mary’s words, “It’s always been easy for me to have fun, but I wanted to learn how to go deeper with non-church girls.” Specifically, Mary is excited to be an intern who can share her own personal journey and struggles with the residents as she seeks to help them look more like Christ. Past bouts with identity issues motivates Mary to help other girls establish their identify in Christ, rather than culture.
Another thing Mary is learning as an intern is love. “I’m learning how to love people that aren’t easy for me to love initially. It’s easy for me to love my friends, and I’m good at it.” For Mary, it was revolutionary to CHOOSE to love, regardless of whether the love was mutual. As many of the residents, interns, and staff have experienced, some people don’t love you back! For Mary, learning to love regardless of the other person’s response taught her to question her motives. “What am I here for?” Mary would tell herself, “it’s not about giving AND receiving, but loving like Jesus did… [Jesus loved] sinners who mocked and crucified Him.”
Another area God is helping Mary grow is in her identify in Christ. As an intern, it’s extremely tempting to play the “compare” game, on and off shift. “I wish” and “whys” run rampant in the mind of an unsuspecting intern. Mary in particular has asked God to help her keep her mind alert and turned toward His truth in this area. “God is constantly showing me how to be me… I’m going to be more effective as me than as ‘her.’ We wouldn’t be as effective if we were all the same… that’s part of the body of Christ.”
As Mary looks toward her next 6 months as an intern, as well as her plans after the internship, two words come immediately to mind: “No idea!” Since Mary believes God has her at VOH for a purpose, she wants to throw herself fully into a year of learning, though she doesn’t know how exactly He’ll choose to use it after the internship.
As she continues life as an intern, and a child of the King, Mary meditates on 2 Corinthians 4:5, which says, “For what we preach is not ourselves, but Jesus Christ as Lord, and ourselves as your servants for Jesus’ sake.”
“It’s pretty self-explanatory… and I need that straightforwardness!” Mary remarks. “Ultimately, my time is Christ’s time. God is going to show me what’s next even though I don’t know right now. [Right now] I’m here for [the residents] and not what I want.”