In 2016 I was invited to play basketball in a women’s “rec” league. I put “rec” in quotes because, well, I’ve played on actual recreational teams and this wasn’t that. Anyway, I showed up at our first game and learned that Hope Street was our team sponsor. I got a jersey with a big ole Hope Street logo on it and joined the team at Hope Street one Saturday to clean and paint empty apartments. I walked into apartment 4 and listened to Ashley share about why Hope Street is committed to providing the very best. God loves and values us so much. We have inherent dignity because of who He has created us to be. “This place reflects this,” I thought to myself. There were beautifully painted accent walls, hard wood floors, decorations that someone bought for this place. It felt like home.
I ventured upstairs to paint the bedroom in apartment 9 with a mentor and fellow teammate of mine. At the time I was in a pretty dark place. You know, one of those times where hopelessness begins to settle and you feel it in the pit of your stomach. Your mind is foggy and your energy is low. I wanted so badly to get out of it but I couldn’t. I was in it. As we were painting Ashley walked in. I forget what led to this question but I remember the question well. Ashley asked “what is your best case scenario job?” I had an answer.
That year I was working for another organization and was praying about what was next. I love creativity and people and dreamed of ways I could combine the two in a job I loved. It seemed far fetched but God was preparing a place for me in a beautiful building on the corner of 26th and Capitol.
I met Ashley and Perry, the Executive Director at the time, at a local coffee shop about two weeks later. I wasn’t exactly sure what we were meeting to talk about but Perry, in his very Perry way, asked me questions about me. He asked me about who I was and what I loved to do. The most random question? He listed three mediums: wood, clay and paint. He asked me which one I enjoyed working with the most. That’s not a question you get in a casual coffee-get-to-know-you kind of conversation but this among others things showed me that there was something very special about this place. I can’t quite explain it but there was a knowing that it was okay to be as I was, even in the dark days. I knew this because I was in dark days. Perry and Ashley gave me hugs as we left.
You can’t prepare for what God might have for you on 26th and Capitol. He doesn’t ask you to. I believe God, in His precious timing, softens us in a way that reveals our deepest longings. Or maybe the lack of them. Then, we choose to take another step. Sometimes we can’t quite name our desire or why we are showing up, but if you are open to being a person with another person, I believe something unexpected, prepared uniquely for you, will reveal itself beautifully as you walk through the doors of Hope Street.
(Hope Street Staff Member)
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