I’ve heard this saying, “You must live with people to know their problems, and live with God in order to solve them,” (Peter Taylor Forsyth). It sounds nice, doesn’t it? It is a gentle reminder to have genuine, intentional relationships with people and a genuine, intentional relationship with God to help those people. But, I have to disagree with it.
It’s true that you know and understand people’s problems more intimately when you live with them. That is an important aspect of Maggie’s Place. Pregnancy is not meant to be experienced alone. We live in community here, so we share each other’s joys and successes, but we also share in each other’s suffering. We truly come to know the problems our moms have faced in the past and the problems they are facing now.
Many of our moms here at Maggie’s Place are facing some very overwhelming problems – court cases, possible jail time, substance abuse temptations, custody cases, unhealthy relationships, unemployment – not to mention the stress of being pregnant and caring for a new baby. We become intimately familiar with these problems. Now, the saying above states that if you live with God, you’ll be able to solve those problems. That is the part I disagree with; we cannot solve all of our moms’ problems.
We, as MissionCorps members, are committed to growing closer to God – to living with Him at the center of our lives. We base our days around prayer (as much as possible). We can ask God for guidance and for insight. We can ask Him for wisdom to help us know His will, and we can ask for the strength to do it. Yet, none of this gives us the ability to solve their problems. We cannot solve their problems for them. I’d go further and say that we’re not called to solve their problems for them. We are called to love them in spite of their problems. We are called to love them through whatever they’re struggling with at any given time. We are called to shine some light when all they may see is darkness.
At the end of our morning and evening prayer, we pray together, “Divine Providence can provide, Divine Providence did provide, Divine Providence will provide.” Sometimes that little prayer is a strong reminder for us on tough days and sometimes it is an act of faith. We have faith in God’s love and power – we trust that He can solve any problem (not us). We can remember, and offer praise and thanksgiving, for all He has already provided. In the past few days, there are countless examples of God’s providence: forgetting to put our trash out on Sunday so our bins didn’t float away in the flood, a kind hospital nurse sharing her personal story of struggle to give a mom hope, a mom going into labor early which gave us a chance to be with her at the hospital, a volunteer coming at the wrong time but bringing us donations we needed then…just to name a few! Then, most importantly, we have faith that God will provide. Even when we can’t see a way out of a messy situation, God has the solution, not us. He can take a problem and make it beautiful just as He gave His son, who took the pain of the cross and made it the source of love and salvation.
By Melissa Peters, MissionCorps Member at The Michael House