A conscious conversation — with People Hope

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AN INTRO

by Caitlin

We never truly know the value of our health until we lose it. The road to healing is an incredibly personal one, and truthfully at times, it can  feel terribly lonely. There are peaks and valleys that one has to navigate, and often our healing journey does not only encompass and challenge us but our friends and families too. I found People Hope at a time when I was feeling particularly challenged by my personal health and It felt as if I had come across a virtual room of people, sat opposite me saying ' we see you and we hear you'. To be heard and to find community in our healing is medicine. We believe that People Hope's work is infinitely valuable.

They are a beacon of hope for us all and it is on this note that we share their significant work and faith filled community with you. 


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Tell us about the essence of People Hope and how it started?                        

People Hope began out of a need that I personally experienced in my early 20’s. Overnight I went from living a normal, happy, healthy life, to being chronically and mysteriously ill with a sickness that no one could seem to diagnose, much less cure. I bounced around from doctor’s office to doctor’s office without answers and with a slowly diminishing hope. I felt like the only person who had ever gone for weeks and months without a diagnosis. I was scared, confused, and worst of all — very isolated and alone. I got fed up with the lack of resources available to help people battling chronic illness with the mental, emotional, spiritual, and social wreckage of long-term sickness. So I decided to fill that void and create the very thing that was missing. I founded People Hope at the age of twenty-four to be a web-based place of hope, sparking a global community of support, and sharing beautiful stories of those who are choosing hope against all odds and through their own illnesses, regardless of diagnosis.                     

The essence of People Hope is embodied in it’s name. As humans, we have been created with so many incredible abilities — to love, to learn, to change, to grow, but perhaps nothing is more resilient or breathtaking than our ability as people to hope no matter what.

                        

Amongst other beliefs of People Hope, you are an advocate for hope - how do you feel this can change lives?                        

I absolutely believe that hope changes lives, just as the loss of hope certainly changes them. It’s the difference between despair and determination, and either one will drastically alter your life. But the beauty of hope is that it’s a free gift available to every person. It’s not always “easy” to hope, but choosing to live with hope through the unthinkable will always change lives because it takes the same set of circumstances and points that life in the direction of purpose.

                        

What do you love most about what you do?                      

I love having a front row seat to the intricate and beautiful lives that are changed by hope. I love watching people who have never known what it is to be understood in their greatest areas of emotional and spiritual pain experience that profound, split second of understanding and realize that they’re not alone. But most of all, I love seeing people discover hope in God because I truly believe that’s the deepest-rooted, most foundational, life-giving hope a person can experience, and I watch that firsthand everyday.

                        

Please share what community means to you?                        

Community has come to mean something very valuable to me. It’s being understood on a deep heart-level. It’s cheering each other on and building one another up.                

         It’s championing each other’s victories and sitting with one another in our weakest moments. I truly see it as a gift. How beautiful that we’ve been given each other as we walk through life!

                        

I know that you too have navigated challenges in your health journey, what has People Hope taught you?                        

It’s taught me that few things are as damaging as isolation. You can talk to people experiencing tormenting physical symptoms and so many of them will describe their greatest source of pain being isolation and loneliness, which is both completely valid and also just so unnecessary. We can address the isolation, and we can give people authentic community.             

It’s also taught me that nothing is as healing as hope that’s rooted in God.

 

                        What encouragement can you offer someone who is living with a chronic illness, regardless of diagnosis?

You are not alone. You are in great company with thousands of men and women all over the world. The way that you fight to continue to hold onto hope despite everything you’re going through matters, it’s dignified, and it is worthwhile. I know it doesn’t always feel like it, but I believe FOR you that God has good plans in store for your future, and that you have a purpose in your life that no one else could possibly ever fulfill. You are loved.

                        

What are your biggest challenges you face as a non profit?                        

What a switch in topic here, but to shift focus to the business side of things, by far the biggest challenge we face as a nonprofit is raising funds to be able to continue sharing peoples’ stories, facilitating community, and providing daily resources of hope. We have a community of thousands of people all over the world, and there’s a cost to being able to do what we do for them. Finding people who believe in what we’re doing and sign up to support us for even small amounts of money every month is a big deal. We’re such a lean operation that every last dollar goes a long way toward helping us share more stories and, put simply, to be able to do more “cool stuff.”

                        

What is your long term vision for People Hope?                        

Long term I see People Hope being an amplified version of what it already is — a powerful tool that God continues to change the lives of thousands of people all over the world. I see it sharing so many stories and resources, benefitting our ever-growing community in all areas of their wellbeing, and radically shaping the way that they choose to live their lives. I see it being an instrument that presents hope in the best, most impactful way to the greatest amount of people.

                        

How do you find balance between work, your personal life and your faith?                        

I start everyday by focusing on God and creating time and space for my faith because that’s my first priority. It’s not always easy when I have pressing tasks waiting to be done, but when I focus on my faith first and foremost, the rest of the balancing act falls better into place.                        

I work really hard during the workday, incorporating creativity in wherever I can to keep myself motivated, and at the close of the day, I call it quits, and do my best to be present with my family and friends.

                        

Where do you find advice / mentoring for growing People Hope?                        

One big guidepost for advice and mentoring is found in a group of close friends who also have small businesses, work in creative fields, and are professionals in their industry, all who share my beliefs and champion People Hope. They challenge my thought process. And because they’re each talented in their own field, they inspire me to operate People Hope at a high level of excellence as well. That’s been a phenomenal resource base for guidance and growth. It’s always good to put yourself around people who inspire you to better.                        

I also pray regularly that God would continue to “steer the ship” and lead People Hope in whatever direction he wants it to take.

                        

Being a woman who serves, how important is wellbeing as a woman for you?                        

I think being intentional about your wellbeing is crucial, especially when you’re in a serving role. Choosing to serve is such a gift to yourself, as it will give back to you in numerous ways, but it can also create “burnout” in your life if you’re not careful to protect your energy and heart. I’ve learned that it’s vital to stay aware of how I’m personally doing to make sure that, if I’m serving and pouring myself out to others, that I’m also intentionally creating time and space to be fueled and filled up too.

                        

Do you have specific rituals you practice as a means to wellness as a woman?

I think my most significant “wellness rituals,” if you will, are spending time that’s rooted in my faith, resting, reading my Bible, praying, and making that a priority. That grounds me, it rests my soul, and it is the best thing that I can do for my wellness.                        

Beyond that, I do my best to be active physically, cultivate rich friendships, and listen to what my body is telling me.

                        

What does self-care mean to you as a woman and how do you make that a part of your daily life?

                                         I view self-care as multi-faceted, encapsulating your need for wellness physically but also mentally, spiritually, socially, and emotionally. At different times we all need these facets of our wellness to be cared for and given attention. I do my best to ask myself what I’m needing in all of those areas and address them as they present themselves through some of the things I mentioned before — rest, good conversations with friends, or spending time praying and talking to God, etc.

                        

When do you feel like you are at your best?            

I feel like I’m at my best when I’ve been taking care of myself (again, beyond just the physical), utilizing my creativity and strengths as the woman God specifically designed me to be, and am at peace in my relationships.

                        

Do you have any female mentors and how do they inspire / mentor you?

                        My Grandma, although she passed away a few years ago, was a fantastic mentor and continues to be a source of inspiration for me even now. She spent her life and talents giving of herself and making others’ lives more enriched, more stable, and more decent. I spent years observing her heart for the hurting, and served with her in various outreaches and ministries. Now I find myself doing different types of work through People Hope, but always referencing her dedication, work ethic, and relentless pursuit to deliver hope to those in need.

                        

We all know that self-love as woman can be hard for us - what part of your womanhood do you celebrate the easiest?                   

I absolutely celebrate my spirit of tenacity. I love that piece of who I am! I have such a high capacity to create and execute and do big things with an exceptionally strong sense of belief. I love that God has designed me that way, and that he helps me through every tenacious endeavor.

                        

If you find yourself on a stage in front of a crowd of women - what would you say to them as motivation to be the best version of themselves?                        

I would firmly remind them that they belong, that they have a place and a voice and things worth saying, and that there is room for their specific quirks and purpose and style and story. Each woman has such a unique and intricate story, and it’s silly that we spend so much time comparing or trying to make ours look more like someone else’s. When we remember that we belong and our story is worthwhile, we are set free to better share and live out our own adventure.

                        

If you can give the 13 year old version of yourself a piece of advice / wisdom that you know today - what would that be?      

I would just gently encourage that girl to spend time developing her faith, as she doesn’t know it yet, but it’s going to be the one constant in her life through every hill and valley that life has in store.

                        

Where do you find hope?

My hope is found in my faith in Jesus. That’s a hope that doesn’t waver or disappoint.

                        


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My favourite way of movement is

forward.

                      

My favourite season is

fall because where I live the colors of the leaves are stunning!

                        

I eat

snacks because snacking is the best.

                        

The first thing I do when I wake up is

cuddle with my dog.

                        

The last thing I do before I go to bed is

pray with my husband and tell him I love him.

                        

My guilty pleasure is

dairy-free ice cream.

                        

Coffee or tea

Coffee, but tea has it’s own merits!

                        

NIGHT OWL OR EARLY BIRD

Night owl by nature, but early bird when I’m disciplined.

                        

My favourite meal right now is

gluten-free, dairy-free pizza!

                        

My favourite piece of scripture right now is

“..[the Lord has sent me to bind up the brokenhearted, to proclaim freedom for the captives...”

Isaiah 61:1

                        

To live with hope, means

to have Jesus. To have Jesus means to have everything I need.

                    


You can follow People Hope and their stories on their website and Instagram

or shop the hope here

Images —  People Hope & Glow


Our Conscious Conversations is a way of sharing real stories and honest insights into products, people and places we admire and feel we can all learn from. Sharing is caring — and this is a series where we express our care in sharing.