January is one of my favorite times of the year. As a bonafide introvert, I love nothing more than taking time to reflect on the past year and think about what I want the coming year to look like.
As I think of the children and women that I have the privilege to work with at Prodigal Pottery and King's Home, I am reminded that I get to see new beginnings happen here every day of the year. It is incredible to see people that have come through so much commit themselves to starting over. As I think about how much I struggle to keep my simple New Year's resolutions each year, tasks such as consuming less sugar, watching less TV, reading more books, and spending more time in prayer, I begin to wonder how difficult it must be to have to make the resolution to change your entire life.
The women and children who are residents at King's Home come to us for various reasons, but none of them are pleasant. Some of them are escaping abusive relationships, some of them are coming out of cycles of addiction, some of them come here because they don't have homes to live in. All of them are coming from tremendously unfair situations of difficulty, pain, and suffering.
Yet in so many of these women and children, there is a beautiful resilience--a desire to make a new beginning for themselves and to move forwards, away from bitterness and towards grace and forgiveness.
Resolving to start over doesn't always mean that there won't be bumps in the road. Old habits and cycles are difficult to break, and I have realized that for many of the people I work with, this battle between wanting a new life and the pull of returning to old ways, often engrained since childhood, is a constant and ongoing one. Sometimes it is a struggle that is almost impossible to win. It is never any of our jobs to judge or condemn another for falling down, and it is always our job to show the same unconditional love that we have received in Christ. And one of the things that I like to focus on is the beauty and hope that is found in the fact that there is a struggle at all; it is such amazing evidence that, even in the darkest of places, there is a desire for something more. Even when these women and children falter, I am filled with such incredible admiration at the fact that they were able to find the courage to get up and try to walk in the first place. It is more than I think I could have done, had our situations been reversed.
Every day, I feel so honored and humbled to be surrounded by people who are willing to try, willing to make resolutions to give life a second chance, even when they have been dealt extremely difficult and unfair hands.