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Letting Go Gently

Letting Go Gently - Emily Chapman Richards

Dear Show Hope Family, 

Do you ever wonder what it must have been like to be Mary Magdalene on the morning of Jesus’ resurrection? 

Having discovered the empty tomb, she encounters Jesus in what is a haze of bewilderment and fear. 

Place yourself there. Imagine the whiplash of emotions when Jesus calls her name—his voice piercing through her thoughts, the adrenaline, the confusion.


One word. Her name. And Mary recognizes who he is as the risen Christ. She says to him, “Rabboni!” (Teacher). Then, we read these startling words from Jesus to Mary, “Do not cling to me … but go …” (John 20:17). 

As Christians, this side of eternity, we set out on a journey to meet our Maker and live with him forever. We repent, accept salvation as a gift, and seek sanctification. And God is gracious to foster the re-awakening of the imago Dei (the image of God) planted in our hearts as we traverse onward. 

For me, Show Hope has been and will remain a place where I have so clearly experienced the goodness of God. It’s one of those places, where after mourning the darkness of the world around me, I find light and hope and want to cling to it. 

And yet, these words find me now, Do not cling to me … but go.

Twenty-five years ago, I set out on a journey as an 11-year-old. Young and naive, I had no idea what walking with Jesus would be—a “Great Adventure” as someone would later sing. And then, on a flight to Haiti, for the first of many missions trips, I wrote in my journal, “I hope this experience will change someone’s life.” 

As many of you know, that trip to Haiti would become the catalyst for my family’s adoption journey as we soon, thereafter, welcomed home Shaoey, Stevey Joy, and Maria. Through these experiences, God planted a seed in my parents’ hearts. And it is he who has been faithful to water that seed through the generous prayers and support of many. Today, the tree that is now Show Hope is the fruit of that seed. 

Many years later, three sisters and six cousins have joined our family through the miracle of adoption, and countless friends—near and far—have joined the journey. Through the work of Show Hope’s Adoption Aid grants alone, more than 8,000 children from more than 60 countries have come to know the love and security of a permanent family.

There are no words … when you consider God’s graciousness to weave us into the meaningful work of planting seeds of hope, proclaiming the goodness of a Kingdom to come wherein the Prince of Peace returns to make all things new.  

And so, I step down as Show Hope’s Executive Director with a full heart and watchful eyes, waiting to SEE what God will accomplish in and through this work. 

Our Founders, my beloved parents, are clear on the organization’s vision—its mission and values—and our faithful Board of Directors is committed to guide us unto that vision. The leadership—championed by my successor, Kristin Parks—is strategic as well as humble and compassionate. And the team—the Show Hope team—is as strong and collaborative as I’ve ever seen it. 

Selfishly, it is hard to walk away. Day in and day out, you know the embrace of Jesus through this work. You SEE hope breaking through the cracks in the stories, the faces of precious children and families. But yet, I let go. I do so with a trusting heart—full of gratitude—and wide eyes—full of happy tears—for the opportunity of a lifetime to have served as captain of this ship, even if for a season. 

I can confidently say that the prayers of that 11-year-old—on a plane from Miami to Port-au-Prince—have been so clearly answered. A life has indeed been changed … my life will forever and always be marked by showing hope and having been shown hope.

Letting go gently, 

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