Sometimes, the best lessons are found not in the words of a human, but in their impact on everyone they meet.
I remember the first lesson I learned – and every one since.
Had I not known we were visiting a children’s home in Guatemala, I would have sworn we had found our way to a neighbor’s house. The laughter fell like a spring shower on everyone who visited, and little smiles invited us to hurry up the winding driveway.
Teenage girls were in the kitchen preparing for a birthday party while their infants slept peacefully. Children played soccer and hopscotch outside, and the family dog watched bubbles float through the sky. And at the heart of it all was an elegant raven-haired Latina named Lilly. “You may call me Tia,” she said as she embraced every guest. “This is our home – this is Hope and a Future.”
She knew the name and story of every child, knew which ones might have a chance of returning to their families someday and which ones would remain her “children.” Lilly was more than a caregiver, Hope and a Future more than a licensed children’s home. “This is my country, and these children are my kids. The most important thing I can tell a child is ‘I believe you and I am going to help you.’ These children have been abused, they have been abandoned. But no more. They are here now. And they are home.”
They are home. Girls who have been raped by family members are home. Boys who have abused and abandoned by parents and kin are home. And they are being given life.
The girls sing a song now called Arrebato. It’s their anthem. They stand resolutely, eyes closed and arms lifted toward the sky. When we know we are home, we can fill every space with the treasure that was once stolen from us.
I repossess family, I repossess my health
I repossess the treasures of the heavens, they belong to my home
I repossess, I repossess
I repossess all that is mine
I repossess, I repossess what’s mine, what’s mine.
Tell me about someone who has impacted your life not by the words they have shared but by the life they have lived.
This year, I’m sharing 31 thought-FULL things I’ve been taught by the women of Building Eden, the book I’m writing about women who believe restoration is a reality – on earth as it is in heaven.
There is not one who doesn’t fight, there is not one who isn’t afraid, there is not one who at times questions or wonders or worries that they’ll be found lacking in a world that loves to define by the doing. The women battle self-loathing, they battle mental illness, they battle loneliness, they battle their past. They battle oppression and bias and scorn.
And yet, they still believe.
And these women have taught me more about leadership, about servitude, and about being fully and gracefully and unapologetically a woman than any book, seminar, conference, or Ted Talk ever could.
What I share is just a taste of what will be in the book. I pray the words of the women will inspire you to be unafraid to stand in the gap to restore what is broken in the world around you.
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