Hope. At Linwood House, that is exactly what I experienced—a little taste of the hope that is stored up for us in heaven.
By Julie Clark
I’m no theologian, but I think we all yearn for things to be set right. For there to be no pain. For there to be no struggles in life. And we all, all long for that ‘rightness’.
At Linwood House, I was there to see how “The Journey” looks, feels, and tastes… with the purpose of replicating it for the women we serve here in Columbus who have been caught up in Human Trafficking and street prostitution. But I did more than ‘observe’. I dove right in! I was able to reflect on and discover more of why doma seeks to serve women and children who have been victimized and traumatized. Linwood House reminded me that we ALL desire to taste a little more hope.
For 3 whole days, I could do nothing but be immersed in that hope from God. Everything-- the breathtaking ferry ride to Linwood, the beautiful landscaping around the house, attention to detail in the house-- the soft, cozy beds, the conversation over coffee, the guided art exploration led by an amazing artist, Pamela Masik…. Everything spoke of God’s hope.
The beautiful women on The Journey, and the women that doma works with who have been living on the streets- worn, torn, addicted, and broken— women who have been victimized and traumatized their entire lives, have lived with so much pain. These are women who have never lived outside of a cycle of poverty and abuse… you hear their stories, and you know that there must be a God who will set all things ‘right’. They need hope to break free from these cycles, to be healed and to live in freedom. And I was reminded over and over again that we ‘were all once slaves’- that we all need God’s hope.
Several times, Pamela asked for the ladies on The Journey to participate in exercises to help them process their thoughts. At times, it was really intense—with several ladies processing deep trauma out loud with friends, and sometimes silently through their art. With each guided activity, I saw the onlooking volunteers, one by one, pick up a paintbrush and give in to the ‘pull’ to participate. Why? Because we too had ‘stuff’ in our heads – and we were given a safe place to explore—knowing, hoping that God will set all things right…
At Linwood House, curling up in the library on a rainy day with the fireplace burning, with shelves and shelves of books, I was reminded that I am just a broken vessel, to be used to reflect God’s glory, to exist to be an ambassador of truth… and that I, too, need to be continually redirected to God’s hope. But we all can be messengers of this hope, the hope that is stored up for us in heaven. In the same way that a tiny flower can send the message, or a work of art, or a 3 course meal on sparkling china, we too can commit to send this message of God’s hope to everyone that crosses our paths… because surely, if we all long for ‘rightness’, we all can point to God’s hope!
The faith and love that spring from the hope that is stored up for you in heaven… that has come to you!
Julie's love for Russia began in 1993, when she was just a teenager. Returning home from a brief trip visiting orphanages, her eyes were opened to the injustices and human rights abuses that others in this world face daily. Knowing then that she wanted to someday start an organization to address these issues, she began exploring what that might look like. Formal studies in Special Education, International & Comparative Education, School Administration, and International Human Rights Law, prepared her for some of the complexities of working in cross cultural contexts. Working for several nonprofits along the way, she and her husband launched doma international, working with vulnerable women and orphaned children across the globe. Her entire family has been pulled into this engaging and rewarding life. With a supportive husband and 3 amazing children (ages 3 and under!), they divide their time between Columbus, Russia, Ukraine, Ethiopia and Uganda.