Can you Imagine a world without wind? I know for myself wind is not one of my favorite things. It blows hairstyle out, umbrellas down, and causes chaos at a picnic, just to name a few discomforts of the unseen force. But wind is an important element in our world. Would you expect trees to fall over with no wind? That is exactly what happened in a three-acre glass dome in the Arizona desert. Trees growing in a huge windless bubble called a biosphere grew faster than normal until they suddenly started collapsing under their own weight. The project researchers finally came up with the explanation. The tress needed wind stress to grow strong.
I remember in Sunday school singing a song about wind. The song was about building your house on the sand versus building it on a rock. When the winds came and the waves hit the house on the sand collapsed, but the one built on the rock stood firm because there was a solid foundation. Which in Sunday school of course points to that foundation being Jesus. Without a strong foundation or roots when the stresses of life come, we collapse.
Most of the women who are part of our Chrysalis programs have grown-up in an environment where they were unable to grow strong roots to take them through the hard times. They’ve had very negative and unproductive experiences. The words they heard were, “you are worthless” “you can’t do anything right ” or “I don’t have time for you”. Some were left night after night to take care of the younger children and themselves because the adults were not present. Sitting alone, needing to feel important and loved. No instruction, no role model, no hope. Some or our women received their first drink of first drug experience from a family member, sometimes it was mom or dad. Some were physically, or sexually abused. Regardless of the experience they didn’t have the tools needed to survive the burdens and pressures of life.
Strong roots don’t come easy. The pain and loss of our past are part of that intricate root system. When we forgive those who have wronged us, and most of all are able to forgive ourselves, we rise above our circumstances and learn how to use our past to live a better future. We can be sure; the storms of life will come. I love the expression, if someone gives you lemons you can always make lemonade. Knowing the recipe is what is needed.
Every single one of the women that come to Chrysalis are searching for one thing. They want to live a life that they can be proud of, and they have no idea how or if that can be achieved. So we have created programs and an accepting environment to instill value and hope in them. I believe we have to see ourselves as “worth it” or we will just continue to harm ourselves and allow others to do the same. This is a very important root that needs to be very strong and must go deep. There is also the need to belong. One of the women shared with me recently that she loves being at Chrysalis. I asked why and she said, “I had no idea that I was going to gain so much. The women and staff did not have to love and care about me, I was not planning on loving anyone, but for the first time I know what true love looks and feels like. I opened up and received love and was able to give mine. I was not planning on having amazing relationships with women. I have gained self-confidence, joy, hope and strength. Because of this I am able to trust. I am also learning to have a relationship with God. But this program is about community and bonding with each other. The support I have from the other residents is what is helping me to fight my addiction. This bonding gives me a great feeling of belonging and I have gained more than I ever imagined. “
There are so many roots to a firm foundation. To grow strong, we know we need love, purpose, forgiveness, self- acceptance and hope etc. This is our mission and vision at Chrysalis. To empower women toward positive life change. To instill these wonderful qualities in them so that in the future when the wind and waves of life hit, they won’t turn to destructive means to get through them. They will have a force inside of them that can meet any challenge, ride over any wave, withstand any force. They will know who they are and whose they are, children of a mighty God who has an incredible future for them. by Marsha Tennyson