This time of year I’m reminded of how life springs forth from the dry and barren ground and from trees that appear to be dead, like they will never come back to life. This reality reminds me that new life is always preparing to emerge unexpectedly from whatever loss or death I'm experiencing.
Recently, through our IDEAS projects, I heard about the stories of two women who have endured some of life’s harshest challenges and losses. These women remind me that unexpected life often emerges from the most dire situations.
- Meet Anna.* Anna lives in North Africa, and her life story is one of suffering, abuse, and hardship. When she reached her breaking point, she decided to “solve” her problems, which resulted in being sent to prison. Initially, Anna kept her head down and never spoke. After receiving permission to participate in the sewing training offered through an IDEAS partnering project at the prison, Anna became talkative, began to make jokes, and started to laugh and smile. Then she was sentenced to life in prison. However, Anna’s reaction to her sentence was filled with hope and gratefulness for the desire to learn new things, which had never before been possible. She has a new opportunity to live and to experience love and care that she had not previously known.
- Meet Jasmine.* Jasmine came to an IDEAS refugee center, broken, dejected, abused, and without hope. A couple years ago she had been forced to flee her country, home, and children to save her life. Her escape was not without a cost, and she was subsequently trafficked and forced into a life of prostitution. Through several events, including becoming deathly ill, Jasmine came in contact with several people from a network of organizations, including an IDEAS refugee center. She received immediate medical help and care, including meals and clothing. However, Jasmine had nightmares and had no idea if her children and family were still alive. Through social media, Jasmine found a sister and discovered that her family members had been found and were indeed alive. Jasmine now has a place to stay where there is extra support and care for trafficked women. She believes that God has seen her and has reached down to rescue her.
Anna and Jasmine inspire me to keep hoping when it seems that all is lost and to look for signs of new life sprouting in me and around me unexpectedly. How is new life emerging unexpectedly in and around you?
*Names have been changed out of respect for confidentiality.
About the Author: Deirdre works in the IDEAS office as the Operations Support Specialist. She teaches Hebrew, is an avid runner, and loves to travel. Enjoy other posts by Deirdre, including Start Something New, and Be Brave.