I can’t help at this time of year but to be reminded of the journey that Mary had to take to get to a safe place to have her baby. She traveled the streets of Bethlehem to find someplace that had space for her to lay her head, a place that was clean and secure. I also can’t help but see the parallels to the moms that seek out shelter at Maggie’s Place. They travel far and are striving to provide a better place for the child in their womb. They are scared and alone. They are looking for a room to keep warm.
We strive to provide a safe and welcoming environment for new moms to move into. We want them to walk into our homes and feel the family atmosphere. We make room in our hearts to journey alongside these women. There is room in our inn. And in our hearts.
This journey is never easy for anyone involved. Love hurts and empties us of ourselves, and of our selfishness. That is one of the hardships of living in community with broken and lost people. This includes everyone: moms and MissionCorps. We all have to make room in our hearts for one another. To journey the long path of life. The MissionCorps are able to be companions for the journey in the lives of the moms we encounter. We witness the births of their children; we celebrate joys; we cry in the hardships.
All of this has allowed me make room in my life for the coming of the child Jesus in my heart. I never in my life have I been able to meet women so strong and yet so vulnerable and broken, in need of help from others, and willing to trust so blindly because of their need for a place to call home. Their example helps me to see how I can say yes to the plan that God has willed for my life. These women that I have the privilege to be around show me the plan never goes as expected, that God has a far better plan for me even if I make mistakes. I can keep fighting the good fight and I am always welcomed with love and mercy.
This experience of being a MissionCorps at Maggie’s Place has helped me truly understand what it means to welcome a stranger into my home and heart. In this experience, I am now more willing to welcome the one who knows my heart most intimately, the child Jesus.
By Elizabeth Ortlepp, a MissionCorps