Invitation to Transformation

By Emily Bruce, Maggie’s Place

Dear Future Volunteer, are you ready to be transformed?

Service is always an invitation to transformation. Right now, you cannot possibly imagine the ways your heart will expand in these upcoming months. The word “service” might bring to mind community, laughter, intentionality, and prayer- but a year of service brings all of those words to life. You’ll come to realize community takes work, laughter is therapy, intentionality becomes habitual, and prayer is a lifeline. The word that’s been coming to life for me this year is “solidarity”.

In August of 2017, I was called by God to live and make my home in community with expecting mothers and their babies at Maggie’s Place in Phoenix, Arizona. Maggie’s Place is a network of homes of hospitality that embody the beautiful messiness of love. Maggie’s Place incorporates a unique approach to community: the staff, called MissionCorps, live in the homes alongside the moms and babies. Maggie’s Place believes pregnancy is meant to be experienced in the context of a family, and so the homes we live in offer a vibrant and loving family atmosphere. I found authentic solidarity in sharing my life with the pregnant and parenting moms in my community.

Not only did I experience solidarity in the simple act of living where I served, but in the honest sharing of our lives together. I chose to enter into the suffering of others and wound up realizing that my pain had not yet healed. I chose to enter into a world of anxiety, fear, and the unknown, in order that we may grow into Hope together. I chose to set aside my defenses, rigidness, and expectations in order to make room for love to bloom.

If you choose to live this word as well, there will be moments when your chest will ache with pain that’s not your own. There will be moments when your eyes will fill with tears at someone else’s joy. And there will be countless moments when you’ll realize just how little there is that separates us from each other.

I can’t explain the gravity, the privilege, of being asked to be present at a birth, to counsel a mom through a difficult decision, to walk with her through a miscarriage, or to hold her hand through the wilderness that is addiction. But I know I have felt the tangible presence of God in the struggles I’ve faced at Maggie’s Place. The spirit of the Lord is truly with those who are bowed down low enough to hear Him.

If you choose service, you will be opening yourself up to learning the true definition of love. This is not the type of love that you witness in your everyday life. This love is grace. This love is sacrifice. This love is messy. This love transforms you and shapes you into an obedient, humble disciple. Walking the road of suffering has changed my perspective of God entirely. Rather than expecting Him to clear my path of obstacles if I follow Him, I have learned to keep my eyes on Him as I face these obstacles with faith and courage.

To live in community has been the most purifying experience of my life. The discomfort I felt, the loneliness I battled, the grief I worked through, the healing I’m still working toward- all were put on display for all to see. When you are surrounded by a community of people who are leaning on each other, you find that often you need someone to lean on who is stronger than the human spirit.

But perhaps the most rewarding part of all, Future Volunteer, is that you will encounter Hope. This Hope keeps us all holding on. For me, Hope came in the form of babies who have been catalysts of change for moms who never knew a safe place. For you, it might be a dedicated changemaker, or a resilient child. And after your year of service? This Hope will remain a part of you. Blessed are those who encounter Hope in their midst. Giving yourself completely in service is an invitation to transformation. It’s an invitation to experiencing radical love, sacrifice, and solidarity.

Dear Future Volunteer, are you ready to be transformed?

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