Being on maternity leave was so great in a lot of ways but also difficult. I was so excited to have time to spend with my new baby boy and as a family with my husband. However, there was a big part of my heart that longed to be back in the ministry of Hosea. I found myself at times feeling guilty, feeling as though I had abandoned the youth that we serve at Hosea. The enemy has all sorts of ways to attack when you have a lot of down time. The verse, “take every thought captive for Christ”, brought a whole new level of meaning to my life as I spent many days alone with a human that couldn’t even talk back to me!
Now don’t get me wrong, a big thing God taught me on my leave was that: you can work forever but this boy will only be a “baby” once. In that I found peace about having so much time off and away from work!
It’s funny though – even while being on maternity leave, completely away from the ministry of Hosea God brought a new realization to my life that seems so obvious but I sometimes forget and need reminding of. The work that we do down at our drop in stretches much farther than the walls of that basement. God reminded me of this in a wonderful way. After getting a night out with my gals to see a movie, my husband had asked if I could stop and pick up a fizzy drink for him as he wasn’t feeling well. So I pulled into a random Dari Mart. Why when we live 2 minutes away from Fred Meyer I stopped at this Dari Mart was unbeknownst to me…until I came up to the counter to pay.
I heard a gentle voice say, “Karri? Is that you?” As I looked up I saw her! One of our Hosea youth that had gone MIA for about a year. As we sat there excitedly talking about where she had been and what had happened for the last year – the girl who we had once seen at the drop in center, so addicted to heroin that we would watch her fall asleep while in mid bite of dinner – was now standing before me. Sober for almost a year, holding down a job, housed up in an apartment, and close to getting her baby back. She looked so healthy and joyful I could hardly keep from crying!
I will never forget her words before I left, “Karri, Hosea saved me.” It gives me chills even now. The work that God does through us, even in our everyday lives, may not be seen immediately or even ever. Yet sometimes God gives us a little taste of what He does through us when we are obedient in serving Him and His people. Hosea helped aid in her transition off of the streets and into stability, but it’s God who does the real work.
I loved that, even in the midst of not being a part of Hosea physically, God reminded me that ministry goes so much deeper than just an organization. He reminded me that He is always working whether we are or not.
~ Karri Tinnes, HYS Assistant Director