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In the Middle of the Mess

In the Middle of the Mess

Friday nights are typically movie night at the Wings of Refuge house. We take the evening to get snuggled up in blankets and watch a movie together. This time tends to be more relaxed and a lot of fun. It is an opportunity for our participants to create new, good memories and at least for a moment, not have to think about the trauma they have experienced. Some of my most favorite memories with participants are from those very nights.

One Friday evening I arrived at the house. When I opened the front door and got a glimpse of the living room, my first reaction was that a tornado had gone through. There were blankets everywhere, the table was covered in scrapbook items, magazines were cut up and strewn all over the floor, the mod podge was out and glitter was everywhere. Now, I tend to be a person who likes order and a clean house which can cause me to get uptight about those things at times. But, throughout my time of working at Wings of Refuge, I have learned that the relationship always comes first. Of course, we need to ensure our house is clean and we are teaching life skills, but that is not what is most important. The memories that are made and the relationships that are built are what is most important.

In the middle of that mess, I saw a brave woman who was allowing herself to dream. She was laughing, expressing her creativity and finding so much joy in making things for others. In that moment, I was able to step back and see the bigger picture. The living room may have been a disaster, but there was a woman who was feeling safe to be herself and let go a bit. So, I chose to embrace the mess with her. Her face lit up as she spoke about what she was making and who it was for. I relished in the moment of seeing the joy that radiated from her soul and the honor of getting to be a part of that moment.

That night gave me such a beautiful picture of restoration. We would like to think that things are always great, but that is usually not the case. Restoration is hard and messy. It requires a lot of work, but somewhere in all of that is a hope and joy that only comes from God. Thankfully, in the middle of our mess, God does not reach down and ask us to pick up the pieces or pull ourselves together. He walks beside us every step of the way. He embraces every single messy thing about us and loves us through it all. This is the heart and mission of Wings of Refuge. We have chosen to embrace the mess with each woman who enters our home. There are moments that are very difficult, moments that grip our hearts, and moments that remind us why we do this.

One of my favorite Bible verses is, 1 Peter 5:10, “And after you have suffered a little while, the God of all grace, who has called you to his eternal glory in Christ, will himself restore, confirm, strengthen, and establish you.” This gives me so much hope to know that our amazing Father has promised to restore what has been broken in the lives of the women we serve. In the midst of their suffering, God was preparing them for a new hope in Him. He has promised to strengthen them and establish them by giving them His permanent acceptance. He loves every messy and beautiful thing about them. They are His and NOTHING can separate them from His love!

Brandi Schleisman

Brandi Schleisman

About Brandi Schleisman

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PO Box 562

Iowa Falls, IA

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