As I near the end of my year commitment as an Associate Volunteer, I would like to thank the wonderful women of Lydia’s House for making my experience here so transformational. Mary Ellen and Meridith have created so much more than a ministry for women and children in crisis. They also minister to women looking for a place where they can see God in action, where they can enter into communion with women they would never have met otherwise, where their prejudices and misunderstandings can be broken down, one community dinner at a time. I am truly grateful that they asked me to be a part of the community, because it comes with these blessings and more.
I love Lydia’s House because I don’t just serve others, I have the opportunity to be served by the women I live with every day. Our mutual goals: keeping our home beautiful, feeding each other, and sharing our joys and sorrows, are what make Lydia’s House so much more than “that place I volunteered for a year.” It is a home in which I have created relationships and friendships. It is a beacon which I will find myself returning to because it is a place where I have learned and loved and cried and laughed and been sick and grown in so many ways.
My message to the Lydia’s House women, past and future, is to absorb the kind of love that can only be found in a house packed with people. Whether it is in the form of Karaoke, Ameristop ice cream, holidays, worship, or even midnight trips to the emergency room; just appreciate that you get to do it together. There is a bittersweet taste to leaving this community behind, but I just take that as a sign that I’ll come back to visit. And that there will be a warm, home cooked meal when I do.