A few weeks ago, I found myself driving downtown to the women’s homeless shelter to pick up a new mom and bring her back to The Zechariah House. Before I even reached the shelter and read the sign I knew which building it occupied because there were a number of women loitering on the sidewalk outside – some smoking cigarettes, another chatting with a friend, others just trying to stay warm until the shelter doors opened again. I drove past and parked on a side street, nervous about going in alone and how I was going to find our new mom among the 300 other women who stay there nightly. But I got out of the car and walked in the door pretending I knew exactly what I was going to find on the other side.
This experience of facing the unknown is common as a Maggie’s Place MissionCorps. Each time I go on an intake, answer the phone, or give a mom a strike or consequence assignment, I encounter a certain amount of the unknown. What will this person look like? Who is calling? How will this mom react? I don’t know. I can’t control these circumstances.
But ultimately, these external circumstances do not matter, because within my soul dwells God Himself. He reminds me that no matter what place I walk into, what words someone says to me, or how frustrated a mom is over her consequence, He remains with me.
When you pass through the waters I will be with you;
and through the rivers, they shall not overwhelm you;
when you walk through fire you shall not be burned,
and the flame shall not consume you.
(Isaiah 43:2 NRSV)
His presence gives me the reassurance I need to face the unknown with courage and boldness, because He is the one in charge of the situation. I am not. God has called and anointed me for this mission, so in His providence He will provide what I need to carry it out. With His help I can walk through the waters of ambiguity, the river of suffering, the fire of criticism, the flame of anger and remain unharmed.
Each day of their lives, the women and babies that come to Maggie’s Place face many more uncertain and challenging circumstances than I do. Some moms face their situations with more boldness than others; some with more resilience. In the midst of these daunting circumstances, I want each of the moms to know what I know – that despite all of the suffering, the heartache, the abuse that she has suffered, God has brought her through it all. He has a purpose for her wherever she is right now.
God also has a purpose, a mission, for you. Are you brave enough to step out into the waters of uncertainty and let Him guide you through to the other side? Can you trust that He will not allow the fires of suffering to consume you? Because He has promised that He will be with you.
By Stasia Phillips, a MissionCorps member