I wrote down once that to love someone deeply is what gives us all the courage we ever need to do the next right thing. Those were the words I whispered over and over with blood streaming down my left eye, my babies following close behind me and just one bag of belongings for all four of us. It’s as if those words became the beat to my broken heart. Courage – the belief that I could find the strength to finally leave his anger. Courage – loving each of my children so tenderly. It had been years of abuse and neglect but I always found a reason to stay. It wasn’t until my youngest son whispered, “Am I next?” that I knew life had to drastically change. I told my son that he would never be next and instead we would courageously chase hope.

Without any support system and in my attempt to chase this hope like I promised my children; I continually asked multiple caseworkers and leaders at the shelter where I should go next. They told me Mary’s Home would be the perfect landing ground for us. I applied, spoke to so many supportive individuals and was able to walk into a new home. This moment forever is marked as a new beginning to my life. God in his kindness was gently reminding me of his goodness with every class that I received an A in, every menial task I could accomplish in peace and with every last light out at night. I had learned to lean into a new kind of courage. The kind that doesn’t simply endure, but the kind that thrives.

In this thriving came job opportunities that I never would have had if I didn’t have the training and support of Mary’s Home. Years into my stay there, I graduated at the top of my class and watched as my children waived from the middle rows. We had done all of this together. My son came up to me afterwards and whispered, “I think we caught the hope.” My eyes welled up as I thought of the moment he whispered after a violent assault if he was next.

“We did catch the hope, didn’t we son?” He smiled. I smiled. After graduating from their program, I was able to move into my own apartment thanks to the job training, emotional support and physical safety of Mary’s Home. As we moved, I remembered the day we ran from all of the turmoil and blood sank into the crevices of my cheeks. I remembered the fear and the turmoil but knowing God wasn’t finished with my story. I opened the door to my new deck and let the sun hit my face.  My children laughed spryly in the background as I closed my eyes and held up my hands and whispered – “Thank you Lord. Love has given me courage and your mercy has given me hope.” Because when we let God author our stories, he always writes beauty and hope into every facet.