Persistence Over Perfection

Seth & Hannah Bollier Profile
Article by Seth & Hannah Bollier
Former Houseparents

"God isn’t looking for perfection from us, but persistence."

When Hannah and I started to consider becoming houseparents at Gateway Woods, we evaluated our perceived cost and reward of the work. After prayer and consideration, our hearts were confident about pursuing this work. Working with teenagers and their families had become a passion, but we still had trepidation and feelings of inadequacy. “Will the kids take us seriously? Will they listen to us? What will we do when they “blow up”? How will we hold structure?”

As we got into the work, we found that Gateway provided us with quality training, continuing education, and overwhelming support from coworkers. Yet despite all this, one thing was clear: we would make mistakes. A mentor of mine often reminded me, “God isn’t looking for perfection from us, but persistence.”

In every relationship, there are times when we will hurt each other by not showing kindness. Hannah and I were expecting to be emotionally hurt by the teenagers we worked with, but I wasn’t prepared for the times I would hurt them emotionally.

My heart would wrestle. “I’m the caregiver, a follower of Jesus. I’m the one who should exemplify the skills we are working to instill in them.” Despite this, I missed the mark. With the goal of perfection, I would strike out again and again.

It was only by the work of the Spirit, a conscience willing to listen, a mindset not despairing in missing perfection but persisting, that would foster the building of trust and the deepening of relationships. Asking the kids for forgiveness for mishandling a situation was never easy, but it was always good. The opportunity to restore the little rifts in our relationships often prevents further fracturing. The practice of pursuing persistence in our relationships is just one of the ways we submit to the Lord and resist falling into darkness.

The fight of persistence became central to not only our role as houseparents but in all our relationships. We had to cling to His promises that He is the one who bears the fruit in our labor. We had to remind ourselves to work for these kids in love and know that our labor is not in vain. God’s longing for humility and obedience in our work is strong. With His loving persistence in pursuing us, our prayer is to show persistence to those around us, wherever we are and whatever we do.

We are grateful and humbled by the lessons learned at Gateway Woods. It has been, and continues to be, a privilege to be a caring adult in the lives of the youth we’ve served at Gateway Woods.

This article was written by Seth & Hannah Bollier, Former Houseparents.