Brown and Spiky. This is how I described Arizona upon my arrival at Maggie’s Place. I grew up surrounded by the lush, green fields of Pennsylvania and taking day trips to the Atlantic Ocean. The brown landscape, pointy plants, dry heat, stinging arachnids, and assorted reptiles are foreign to me, and left me wondering… “What is this life in the desert, and why does one come here?” Through my encounters at Maggie’s Place, I have come to understand what life in the desert is really about.
When asking the MissionCorps and moms what brought them to Maggie’s Place, each answer is different, and yet, the same. Moms and MissionCorps are led to the desert – to Maggie’s Place – to be melted, molded, and transformed. Whether or not we know it at the beginning, the desert changes us.
Coming in as a MissionCorps, I thought I “had it all together.” I learned very quickly that this is not the case. The Lord had to melt me. In order to minister to God’s broken children, I had to realize that I, too, am broken and in need of healing. Through the melting process, my fears, faults, and limitations have been exposed. I know that I am in need of Christ’s Strength to Love the moms as He does, because my strength does not suffice.
The desert is a place of testing. The life of a MissionCorps presents new opportunities of growth everyday, and I am being stretched beyond what I believed I was capable of. As I witness the moms leap out of their comfort zones, I am encouraged to do the same. Together, we are being stretched and molded into the women we are called to be.
The Lord called me to the desert to be transformed. True transformation takes place in the encounter with Christ. I have the honor of encountering Christ in the eyes of the moms and in the smiles of the babies. I see Him in the unconditional love the moms have for their little ones and for one another. Their love is a reflection of Christ’s Sacrificial Love for us. Everyday, I witness strong women meeting their goals while overcoming tremendous obstacles. The moms are strong because they realize they can’t carry the weight of their crosses alone. Their humility has allowed me to ask the Lord for help in carrying my cross. Truly, carrying the cross with Christ is one of the most intimate encounters one can have with Him.
Christ was lead by the Spirit into the desert. He left all that was familiar, those He loved, and the noise of the world around Him, in order to overcome temptation and prepare for His years of ministry. The Lord draws us into the desert for the same purpose: to leave the familiar behind in order to overcome the hurdles in our lives and to equip us for our own unique mission. I am excited to see how the Lord continues to melt, mold and transform my life and the lives of the moms. My heart is overflowing with gratitude to the Lord for leading me to Maggie’s Place – my desert.
By Marykate Heim, a MissionCorps