During this endless spring of sheltering in place, thank God for the flowers that bloom and the sun that shines. Getting outside and breathing in fresh air has taken on new meaning. It is now a sustenance. A part of a necessary diet born from isolation. Thank God for Spring! This photo is from a recent walk in my neighborhood.
I’ve had a chance to do more reading, watch more programs, and listen to more music. I love learning and one such opportunity was from our friends Jill and Tom Boyce. Tom (pictured below) was to be our speaker at the end of April for our Spring luncheon. (I missed seeing the beautiful flowers on each table arranged by our own Bloomin’ Hope flower business.). He was recently featured on a PBS special called Broken Places.
“The world breaks everyone and afterward many are strong at the broken places.”
— Ernest Hemingway, A Farewell to Arms
In addition to really hopeful research, the PBS special tracks three families over multiple years. These families reminded me—once again—of the incredible role of moms in these situations. They not only carry generational trauma, but they serve as the lifeline for their children, and they are the ones responsible to build resiliency for themselves and their children. The researchers featured (and I recommend watching it) not only the challenging evidence of future outcomes post ACEs (Adverse Childhood Experiences), but also how we can positively interrupt trauma and its future impact. It was not lost on me that one of the most strategic investments in this work is to support moms.
Most of the women who come to the Jesus Center for meals, for shelter at Sabbath House, or into our housing program are moms. Some still have (or have recently regained) the custody of their children. Most of these women are moms without their children. All of these women have experienced trauma, loss, brokenness, and pain. For those who aren’t yet moms, it is likely one day they will have a child.
It is clearly a strategic investment to support our moms.
In November, thanks to a team that NVCF brought to Butte County, post Camp Fire,
to help us as a community build resiliency, health and wellness, I gained an understanding of how adding in positive experiences, positive humans, and building new ways of resilience can actually change the biological wiring of a person who has experienced trauma. The PBS program has just underscored this again. They call it NEAR Science. NEAR Science is a cluster of fields of study that include Neuroscience, Epigenetics, ACEs and Resilient communities—the scientific discoveries that explain how experience shapes well-being across the life course.
Here’s the good news!
We can change. God can change us. The community can participate in change. We can help change lives! Positive experiences change the trajectory of brokenness. People can find strength, healing, new life. This is so amazing. The women who drag themselves in from the cold to the Jesus Center, will find healing. Their trauma can be interrupted. They can break generational hardwiring with new positive experiences and the building of resiliency. They can find love when they discovered they are loved by the God of the universe.
This is the gospel. New life in the midst of brokenness.
No one needs this more than moms. For those of you reading this who aren’t moms at least all have a mom, or had a mom, or have an adopted mom. At their best, moms are protectors, they are lovers, they are nurturers, they are critics, they are kind and forgiving. We also know moms who repeat what their childhood was like. They mimic what was done to and for them. For better and for worse. And, we know it isn’t all good. But there’s hope.
The Jesus Center supports moms starting as soon as they come on the property, once they come into Sabbath House, or choose to live at Lily house or Myrtle house.
You can join us. Your gift will be matched!
And, thanks to a generous couple from a local church, if you choose to say yes to supporting our work with moms with a monthly recurring gift (hopefully for 12 months!), they will match it dollar for dollar up to $10,000.00! This couple came to us because they care about moms who in addition to being without a home, need to find new strength in their relationships, in their finances, with their bodies, and their minds. Their trauma has changed them and they need our help to move their lives and their childrens’ lives in a new direction.
May is teaming with life. Let’s come together and share our resources and love to help moms and kids regain their lives.
Laura R. Cootsona