We have officially added to the family (the Hope House family, that is)! Within 72 hours we went from 26 girls in the Hope House to 42, ranging in ages from 9-21...that's 18 new names, personalities, stories, challenges, and dreams added to our family. We are elated! With our team working together, we are diligently trying to create a place of peace, security, acceptance, faith, hope, and restoration for these girls. Though each girl has the same hair and eye color, their personalities and stories could not be more different.  We believe God has a specific plan and purpose for each one - just as He does us.

Many times people ask us, "How are the girls?" "Are they excited to be in the Hope House:" Our answers are always, "Good" and "Yes" because they are true... but, like every other teenager in the world, sometimes the answer isn't so black-and-white. You see, it is assumed that transitioning into the Hope House would feel like a warm blanket on a cold day. However, sometimes it's more like a blanket of sandpaper. Just like adults, many of the girls are confronted head-on with things they've never experiences in their lives before: house guidelines, expectations, and responsibility. These things are difficult for anyone to adjust to, no matter the age. Also, added to the new guidelines is the reality that no matter how "bad" or "hard" their previous lives were, these girls are no longer with their biological families - and when you miss your family, you're not thinking of the environment - you're thinking of the people.

All of these components wrapped together can, in fact, seem like sandpaper.

But what do we know about sandpaper? We know that when sandpaper us used correctly and with care, something smooth and new arises - something beautiful. Ask anyone who builds furniture - the sanding determines the end result. That's our goal in the Hope House - the end result. We believe that God has each one of these girls in the palm of His hand, and that He understands every thought and feeling of their hearts. The good news is that the same God who has been patient and loving with us (meaning you and me) through our times of "sanding" is just as patient and loving with each and every one of our precious girls. As a team, we are praying that we would embody the heart of God as we walk with these girls as they step into their future.

We've seen girls come from a life of abuse and be forever transformed by the love of Jesus.

Girls who once carried the weight of shame are now free and full of life. Girls who have never felt valued now know that they are fearfully and wonderfully made...they traded their sorrow for joy! It really is amazing grace, and we are simply honored to be a part of the process.

Psalm 34.5 says, "Those who look to him are radiant; their faces are never covered with shame."  

Our prayer is that through life at the Hope House, every girl will live radiantly with the love and freedom that only Christ can give...and that their lives will inspire others around them to trade in their shame for radiance, too.

- Jessica

Jessica Kissinger