Two summers ago, B came to Hope Women’s Center after it was closed. She was homeless and pregnant, and under the influence of some type of substance. It seemed she was struggling with mental health issues, too. Hope helps women in crisis – and B was experiencing the height and width and depth of crisis. A staff member extended compassion and invited B in for a shower, some emergency supplies, and to use the phone. B came back the next day, visibly shaken because all her things had been taken during the night. Hope gave her a few more supplies, a bus pass, some numbers to other community resources, and a prayer was spoken over her.
We didn’t see B again until the following summer. B was homeless – still or again, she didn’t say – but this time she was covered in dirt, evidence that her struggle and fight for her life was more desperate than before. Hope gave her food and resources and reminded her, ‘We’re here for you, we care, you are always welcome here.’
Just last month, B was back, two years after her first visit, but this time, B was completely changed. She’d come to say she’d been sober for a year, and in recovery, she’d turned her life around. She shared pictures of her two year old daughter and thanked Hope for their kindness during a time when she was in a bad place and used to being told to “move on” by other agencies and businesses. In the fog of her substance use, she remembered Hope was safe, that she had felt accepted and welcomed there. B needed a new community of healthy friends, and this time, she’d come to Hope for classes and support groups. B’s transformation continues.
Life change is hard work because life change is long work. Destructive cycles aren’t broken in a week or a few months. Healthy mindsets aren’t applied after one class or one mentoring sessions. The transformation we encourage in our clients doesn’t happen in a day, or a month, maybe not even for years. At Hope, we don’t force the process of transformation, we only help further it. We teach so women might see and understand a better behavior. We mentor so women can articulate buried pain and pursue healing. We encourage women as they make small changes in themselves, in their homes, and in their families, because over time, small changes become transformation.