As my time at Maggie’s Place comes to a close, I’ve taken some time to reflect on the lessons that God has taught me since I came. Looking back, I’ve realized how providential the opportunity was for me in coming to Maggie’s Place. When I booked my flights in April the only flight available to Phoenix was on May 12th. So, as soon as I left school I had 3 days to prepare to come to Maggie’s Place. It was exactly what I needed and God knew that. After finishing a rough semester at Saint Vincent, it would have been emotionally impossible for me to stay on the East Coast any longer than that short period of time. God knew that I needed to serve Him immediately so that I could begin my healing process. God wanted to renew my faith and to help me regain some of the joy that had been absent for too long.
I openly admit that when I left school I wasn’t as joyful as I am now. I had forgotten how much God provides for me as well as for all of His faithful children. I became consumed in my own problems so much so that the world before me was a complete blur. However, as soon as I arrived at Maggie’s Place, God started to prove me wrong in all of my despair. I’ll never forget the day I arrived and how I walked to Holy Spirit Catholic Church. I wept because I could already see how much He loved me just in bringing me to Maggie’s Place. After that day, little things kept happening that physically confirmed His providential reign. Some of these reminders included the constant groceries arriving at the house right when we needed them, the companionship and love that both the Corps and the Moms provided for me, and the hope of new life instilling instant love, which reflects that unconditional love of Christ.
One Scripture passage that has consistently been on my mind since I arrived here is Genesis 22:17. This is where God promises Abraham many descendants as well as a son: “I will surely bless you and make your descendants as numerous as the stars in the sky and as the sand on the seashore. Your descendants will take possession of the cities of their enemies.” The one thing that Abraham must give God in return is perpetual trust. And so the Lord constantly whispers to me: ‘Trust in me, my daughter.’ It is truly incredible how much God does for us when we trust in Him and consequently submit our lives to Him. Abraham was willing to sacrifice his only son, Isaac, because of his immense love and trust for the Lord. And so I ask: how far are we willing to go for God? He has asked me this every single day since I came to Maggie’s Place. I’m certain now that He constantly provides for us in little ways so that we can, in fact, continue trusting Him even in the midst of very difficult circumstances.
This ceaseless trust in the Lord is obviously very challenging at times. This brings me directly to my next point: we need the constant affirmation and love of a community in order to face both joyful and tragic situations in life. God doesn’t ask us to either celebrate or grieve occurrences in life alone. In fact, He tells us Himself, “Two are better than one, because they have a good reward for their toil. For if they fall, one will lift up his fellow. But woe to him who is alone when he falls and has not another to lift him up! Again, if two lie together, they keep warm, but how can one keep warm alone? And though a man might prevail against one who is alone, two will withstand him—a threefold cord is not quickly broken.” (Ecclesiastes 4:9-12).
God directly reveals Himself through the love, generosity, and companionship of others. God exposes Himself in the face of a new baby, the laugh of a friend, and in the compassion and generosity of a donor. He is constantly present at Maggie’s Place. Everywhere I look I am reminded of both His presence and His love for this community, as well as for each one of us who are apart of it.
While I’ve been here, I’ve spoken with several Corps members and we’ve all reached the same conclusion: that we need Maggie’s Place as much as the Moms do. In a similar way, the volunteers also need Maggie’s Place. There are no such things as ‘coincidences’ at Maggie’s Place, but rather every person who enters all of the houses has a purpose in being there. Everything that happens at the Maggie’s Place homes are ‘God-incidences.’ In conclusion, we all need each other in a very profound way; God provides hope for each one of us through one another.
Maggie’s Place is by no means a place where its residents stay forever. However, God brings us each here on His own time. For some, it’s a very short period of time and for others it’s longer. Unfortunately for me, I’m not able to stay for much longer. But I would like to thank the community for taking me in the way it did. I would like to give a special thanks to The Elizabeth House, which adopted me for a short period of time. It has once again helped me regain my faith and trust in the Lord and also develop that awe and amazement for Him who does such incredible things in our lives if we simply trust Him to do so. This community has moved me in ways that I didn’t think were possible. One thing that I’m absolutely sure of is that God holds Maggie’s Place in the palm of His hand!
And so, let us remember:
“Only fear the Lord and serve Him faithfully with all your heart. For consider what great things He has done for you.” -1 Sam 12:24
By Alexandra Lahoud, a Summer Corps member