The Story behind this smile ...

This young lady reached out to me about a year-and-a-half ago to see if she could volunteer with me at a local shelter. We made pancakes that day and laughed a lot as we started getting to know one another. The picture I am sharing are some of my favorites as they capture her lightheartedness and true beauty. Earlier this day she found out she had an interview and contacted me to see if she could borrow an outfit. We tried some different things, and decided on this one. She is going to do an incredible job interviewing this Tuesday at 2! We are believing that this job will be a good fit for her and her family.

I began our interview by asking what she wanted people to know about her. She replied:

“I want people to know with perseverance you can accomplish anything. I turned a situation that most people would consider a setback into a major triumph. I let my son be my motivation. He was and is the reason behind my smile. I didn’t give up on myself because I had everything to prove. I was set on proving to my son, and him only, that anything is possible. Regardless of circumstances, you can accomplish anything you set your mind to. At times I get down and feel like there’s no hope, but I am surrounded by people who encourage me through it, and my baby boy has been my biggest encouragement through it all!”

I knew she had been taking classes at our community college and asked her to share a bit about her educational goals:

“I was studying to become a nurse. I have a passion to "serve" or help people in all capacities. I do plan on re-enrolling and finishing on that career path. I'd say the biggest obstacle with college is having enough time in the day to do the required work as well as having quality time with my son. But once you find the balance it is really not that hard.”

What are your current living arrangements? 

“Living in the shelter is quite a life experience. You learn so many life lessons on a daily basis in regards to patience, compassion, and dealing with your fellow man in general. It teaches you conflict resolution and integrity, amongst other things. It's a challenge at times, especially when you don't agree with the rules. You learn to choose your battles wisely. Besides that, the shelter is a Christian based facility so it is Bible centered. Part of the rules of the stay are to actively participate in church. In the time I have been a resident at the shelter I have been building my relationship with God as well as being a witness to God's work through others and in their lives. It’s a humbling experience. The shelter is a totally different environment then what I see outside the building. In here, when one woman makes it, we all celebrate in her triumph. I'm working on financial stability as well as permanent housing as part of my program requirements. In the midst of all this I am also personally working on my relationship with God and finding my identity in Christ. Everyone's main goal is permanent housing cause the stay here is temporary. Once that goal is accomplished by each woman we are all happy for her. We've created bonds with each other to the point of celebrating in each other’s getting out of the shelter.”

That's really awesome! I can't wait to celebrate you graduating from the shelter and having your own place! 

“I'm looking forward to it too!!!”

What does Around the Table mean to you?

“Around the table is a major support in me and my son’s life. We are welcomed and accepted as we are. My son can play with his friends and I get to enjoy the company of other women who have shared experiences and who I can connect with. It provides all kinds of support to me and my son physically and emotionally. No matter how bad things seem to be I know I have a group of people who know me and understand me and care enough to not judge me or criticize me, but want nothing more but to see me succeed. The young woman have become family to me.

How can we be praying for you and your family?

“I've been on a mission for stability in all capacities. As well as emotional stability and strength.  And patience for the both of us.”

All of the families that are represented at Around the Table are near and dear to my heart. I’m thankful that you have had the opportunity to get to know one family a little bit better. These women are incredible, and my hope is that you would be able to hear their hearts through these interviews. Would you join me in praying for this family this week?