Hope through Grace

by Kevin Kennedy

I think it is part of our human nature to want to control our destiny. Whether in our own lives or with our children, other family members or friends – we strive to be happy and content and we want that for our loved ones.

We feel very strongly in this way for the Mentoring Plus kids. We know that they have suffered greatly for most of their lives with abuse, neglect, poverty, mental illness and violence. So when they enter our program and become part of our ministry, we begin immediately taking action to empower them to bring about positive changes in their lives. We work on building self-confidence, improving study skills, finding jobs, and improving relationships. It’s often a long and rocky journey, but eventually our kids begin to see the results.But is this enough? Will our efforts solve all of their problems? The honest answer is “no”. If we are truly honest with ourselves, we know that no matter how skilled we are professionals in providing programming and services, it is not enough. We alone cannot give these kids everything they truly need to begin their healing and hope for a better future. Hence, we become frustrated, resentful, judgmental and ultimately lose faith.

So what can we do to help our kids believe in the possibility of a better life…that it’s more than a dream? The answer is to instill hope. Hope through God’s Grace. Like the Apostle Paul who had the “thorn in the flesh.” When he sought the Lord for it to depart he was told, “Paul, my grace is sufficient for you,” (II Corinthians 12). The Lord was not telling him to simply bear with it, but He was telling Paul to overcome it through His grace!

This same Grace gives mentors, volunteers and staff the patience, stamina, wisdom and capacity to demonstrate love for the kids. The kids know this. They sense the constant care, concern and love that is shown to them. They know that their Mentoring Plus “family” values them, believes in them and will never give up on them. Eventually they begin to value and believe in themselves; laying the foundation for their healing and growth. As one of our kids was recently heard saying about Mentoring Plus, “This is my family; they can’t take that away from me.”