Years ago, we worked to come up with one concise phrase to identify the work we were seeing God do in and through us at the Mission: He was and is Restoring Faith, Hope, and Family.
What a powerful thought. The hope of the gospel is that lives can be restored; no matter what the devastation or wounds. As I walk through our shelters every day, I see people in all stages of restoration.
Most of our guests come to us at a point when their faith is shaken, if not lost; hope is non-existent, and for most, their families are broken and seem beyond repair.
In the lives of our guests and program members, the loss of faith, hope and family is raw and visible, and at times, it is heartbreaking and painful to walk alongside them and try to help them know about the God of the universe who loves them unconditionally and has forgiven all of their sins.
This message of love and forgiveness, in every case, is shared with the people we serve by staff, volunteers, and even guests and program members who have, each and every one, experienced those very things. We have each come to understand that, no what defined our pasts, our present truth is that, through acceptance of God’s forgiveness and grace, our lives; our faith, hope and family have been restored through the power of the gospel of Jesus Christ.
Our Vice President of Development, John McGee, his wife Hanna, and their two children, Madalyn and Max, are members of our Rescue Mission family who can attest to the power of the truth and hope that can only be found in Christ.
In a recent conversation, Hanna share with me their family’s journey with God through brokenness to healing, and their heart for serving and sharing the hope they found with others.
“If there was something I wanted people to know about us, it would be that we are a couple, and a family, just like any other. It’s just that, at the most painful part of our journey to restoration, our lives were turned upside down in a very public and even humiliating way. But the truth is, we are so much better for it.
“We have a wonderful family. John and I have two incredible kids: Madalyn and Max.
“Madalyn is 8. She will be in third grade this fall and she is a firecracker, she is just a lot like her dad. She is a lot like me too, but she is very competative. She is driven, and I think there is not too much she doesn’t think she can do. When she competes, whether it is sports or a board game or whatever it is, she wants to win; She has fire in her eyes. In that way, she is just like her dad, because John is the same way. But she also has a sensitivity to people like I do, and it’s fun because, sometimes, her responses are very mature. It’s fun to see, as she continues to get older, just how her personality is maturing.
“Max just turned 7 and he’ll be in first grade this fall. And, of course, he is so different from Madalyn. But he is also so different from John and I, I think partly because we are both the eldest in our families. So John and I are very similar in a lot of things, we are not opposite like some couples might be.
“We find a lot of commonality with our daughter becase she is a first and very similar to how we are; she is a people pleaser like us, wants to be good, doesn’t want to be disciplined so she usually does things right the first time. Madalyn loves everything, and will do everything. But Max, he goes through life at his own pace. No matter what you try with him, he’s going to go at his own hurry up pace. Where Madalyn will be right there, he’s kind of like, “I don’t care. It can be funny and frustrating!
“He’s just his own guy and he walks to the beat of a different drummer than what we are used to. Max is super smart too and he likes plans. He likes to know what’s going on, what is the plan for the day. And he does get very unsure about what is unknown to him until you can show him the plan and tell him, okay, this is what you are going to do.
“And that is where, like with sports, he will never complain, he’ll show up and play, but there’s not that fire like Maddy. Or, I should say, I never saw that fire in his eyes until he started playing flag football. But I think that was because John would give the kids plays to run; they
would have a plan. So for me, it was just amazing what that did for Max; giving him a plan and telling him, ‘Okay this is your job and everyone else has a job, so you just need to do this one thing.’ It was just amazing how much more excited Max got about playing. And also more upset if the plan did not go right. He knew what he needed to do. He knew what his team needed to do.
“The incredible thing about being a parent is watching your kids become their own selves. It’s been fun, as they get older, to try to find new ways to participate in the things that that are each interested in.
(We’ll continue our conversation with Hanna in tomorrow’s post)