She came to our shelter, she and her daughter, victims of abuse. No family here, all overseas. She had followed her military husband back to our State and ended in a tiny little town with a damaged, injured, bitter husband.
He became violent. They, afraid and alone hiding in a closet from threats of a shotgun rampage were able to leave safely.
They moved into our shelter and shared a bedroom without a window. Just a room, in a house.
A room of solace. A place at the end of the day with predictable calm.
Undereducated, afraid, cowering in public, over time the fear and anxiety eased. Her daughter blossomed, happy and outgoing. Mama went back to school. I was teary-eyed the day I saw them both baptized.
Months later, in their own place, mama has a job and a car. This is what we define, in non-profit logic model language, a successful outcome.
She is now a member of our Board.
Yet, today she came by to announce a new job with a better salary and benefits. I hugged her and asked when she starts. “That’s the thing, she said, I’m afraid to give my notice, I am so afraid.”
“You don’t like conflict do you, you worry about their reaction, right?” She said, “Yes, I know they are going to be mean.”
I continued, suggesting she read a devotional or scripture in the morning and pray. “Handle it the very first thing.” I said. My assistant added, “You have no reason not to improve yourself, no one would blame you.”
She heard, but wasn’t listening, agonizing over what she had to do. We typed up a resignation letter and she was a little better.
I hugged her again, and reminded her of her timeline with us, every single baby and big step, knowing this new step would make her even stronger.
I turned to my assistant announcing, “And that is what being physically and verbally abused to the point of hiding in a closet will do to you. ”
But it gets better over time, easier with each and every facing of fears, of angry people, controlling people, people who have insecurities, problems of their own.
Today was a gift, a reminder of redemption.
A chance to share what I know.
The gift of perspective, the courage to use my past hurts, fears, anxieties and sorrows even, for good…for God.
Courage is a good thing, good made better and better with every challenge.