by Mary Peterson, Heartbeat Housing Specialist
I live in the midst of the desert - it's easy to look on the landscape of cactus and sand and just see brown, barren land. But, even here, it is spring. The mesquites have sprung out with tiny leaves; the jackrabbits seem to be everywhere, and a hint of green can be seen on the mountainside. I saw a family of baby quail hiding in a plant the other day and couldn't resist cooing in delight.
In the work of maternity housing, we encounter the nitty-grittiness of life on a daily basis. Some of those situations are fairly typical of the human experience - supporting women who are dealing with the discomfort of pregnancy, facing a difficult decision, or trying to develop new skills.
Other aspects of our everyday reality are extremely challenging - serving adult women struggling with basic hygiene, traumatic experiences, addiction, or abuse in their relationships. Women choosing to remain in patterns of behavior that appear selfish or self-destructive. We have to deal with the reality of asking women to leave our homes, a sometimes brutal transition from a place of safety to a challenging and uncertain future. We get accused of being a much worse and a much better person than we really are.
This reality - of maternity housing - can be very heavy, and at times of exhaustion or overwhelmedness, it can seem bleak or depressing.
But, like spring in the desert, there are signs and indications everywhere of a different reality.
- A genuine conversation.
- A positive interaction.
- A loving gesture.
- A sacrificing mom.
- An act of forgiving.
- A goal achieved.
When we attune our eyes, there are indications of growth, new life, and goodness emerging.
In the video below, Chris Bell of Good Counsel, shares a difficult scenario that he encountered and transitions into some thoughts on remaining encouraged in the work. May we all remain steadfast in our committment to resist despair and to seek indications of God's goodness at work.