BY CHAQUANA TOWNSEND
Rejoice in hope, persevere in tribulation, faithful in prayer.
A theme that has been prevalent for me as I work in ministry is this: Ministry is hard!
As much as I adore the parents and children I work with, there are times when I am sorely discouraged and ready to throw in the towel. There are times when the children frustrate me to the point of anger and parent relationships cause me to be distant, afraid, and cold. There have been times when I questioned whether or not I should leave Common Ground Montgomery and go elsewhere for employment. However, when my heart gets weary and I am in a place of hurt, pain, frustration, and confusion, the Lord quickly reminds me of why I came here in the first place.
One thing I look back on is the heart and passion he has given me for this precious community. In the summer of 2009, I was a summer intern for the first time with CGM and it radically changed my life. Coming from the inner-city myself, CGM gave me a deeper compassion and heart for the children, women, and men, living in the inner-city. I knew from my very first summer God was calling me to be a part of Washington Park in a very special way.
As I built relationships with parents and children, a deep love and burden grew and grew even when I was away from the ministry. I knew God was going to use the community, staff, and relationships built with volunteers, interns, parents, and children, to continually shape me into the woman he has called me to be. I am so much more whole, renewed, free, and content, despite the daily difficulties (personal and ministry) that I face. God is doing a great work in me, and I am so grateful!
Despite the inescapable difficulties life and ministry bring, I am hopeful. Why? Because God’s presence and hand is on this ministry. He is radically changing lives and I am a living testimony of that.
And so, I am determined to persevere now more than ever! Why? Because God has called me to directly invest in the loves of some of the most beautiful, talented, funny, smart, and amazing children and parents. They give me hope; they brighten up my day because they remind me that the same God that saved me can save them. They remind me that God is a protector, comforter, King, ruler, and creator. Their smiles bring me so much joy! I literally see the image of God in them, and I am amazed.
I will continue to persevere in prayer. God hears the cries of his people, and I will continue to give all things to Him in prayer. He is saving, restoring, renewing, radically transforming my "hood" and I am blown away by what I see! For those of you who want to give up and throw in the towel, please remind yourself of what God has called you to do.