Life at Maggie’s Place is hard—plain and simple. It’s not hard because of the moms’ backgrounds or their current situations that are lined with a million different frustrating scenarios. It’s not hard because of the struggles of community life; like when it’s your turn to clean the kitchen and there is a sink full of unclaimed dishes, their owners mysteriously nonexistent. It’s not even hard because the phone is constantly ringing with inquiries about whether or not we will take diapers, or there’s always an email to be sent, or there’s an unending set of chores to be done, or there’s always a conflict to resolve. Life here is hard because well, that’s just how life is.

And that is what makes life here downright beautiful. It’s hard and it’s messy, it’s broken and it’s complicated, it’s crazy and it’s hectic. It’s Maggie’s Place; it’s just life.

I’ve been here for about four months, and already I’ve been privileged enough to witness so much of the great human struggle. Some might not consider it an “honor” to watch people go through suffering, but I truly consider myself lucky. Suffering is at the heart of the human experience. Everybody has hard situations they go through, a weight on their shoulders, and a cross they bear.

When we are allowed to have a look into the ache of another’s heart; when we get to see the pain and watch the agony, it is then we are most united with Christ. Because when it comes down to it, no matter what the struggle might look like, suffering always has Jesus’s name written all over it. Jesus was the first to suffer, and He’s still suffering. But it doesn’t end there. He isn’t just suffering for the sake of it— He’s suffering for us.

“Because he himself was tested through what he suffered, he is able to help those who are being tested.” -Hebrews 2:18

And so we are united with Christ.

Our moms go through a lot. I could go into detail and write out long lists, but it suffices to say that when it comes to suffering, they are more than well acquainted. Watching them go through struggles, and often unable to help in any real and concrete way, is the greatest honor and gift I have received from God to this day. He has given me a glimpse into what His heart is like. I get to see and experience a small portion of the great suffering He undertakes for the sake of the whole world—endlessly.

What more could a girl ask for?

Flower and Kiyah dressed up.

By Flower Ortega, MissionCorps Member at The Zechariah House