One of my favorite quotes is by Sheri Dew in which she said,
"Our spirits crave to progress."
They crave it. Our spirits don't just need progress, they yearn for it. It is a natural desire. There's a reason we make goals or set expectations for ourselves. Those goals are our soul's inner method of measuring progress. Some times we compare ourselves with others and diminish our own progress in the process, forgetting that our own abilities have nothing to do with other people's development or talents. I'm sure everyone can remember a time in which they felt stuck or unhappy with their lives and couldn't figure out why and as I ponder these times in my life, I realize that many of them have been what I would call "plateaus". Times in my life when I had little or no direction. Whether because of my own accord or because of circumstances out of my control I allowed myself to be idle or stagnant. I would wallow in my backward progress or pity my lack of instant success. Therefore I became unhappy and depressed.
Fortunately, I have been blessed to be born into an environment that solicits knowledge and growth. I am surrounded with a culture and people who uplift, encourage and inspire me. And it is because of this divinely enriched atmosphere that I am able to see through the fog of doubt and push forward with progress and hope.
Not everyone is so blessed.
Some people sadly find themselves in surroundings that are hostile and dangerous. These kinds of violent and life threatening surroundings do the exact opposite of encouraging growth and lighting hope. They stifle it. They suffocate the spirits ability to develop and increase. Instead of pushing the spirit forward, over the next plateau, they force it backward, leading it down into a never ending spiral, until they hit rock bottom and find themselves reaching up to drag others down with them. It is horrifying and scary and the only way to escape it is to leave. So that is what they do. They flea, run to anywhere they can because their souls, spirits know that they have no chance of survival there.
So they find themselves here, in the US if they are lucky, trying to start over. Trying to fulfill that inner need to improve themselves and their circumstances. They start with next to nothing, in a completely foreign land with little or no knowledge of the culture. Once again it is horrifying and scary. But this time it is with hope and that God given drive to improve that they are able to press on.
And they do just that. They better themselves by learning new skills, they stretch out of their comfort zones and act on faith that if they try they will indeed become more, more than what they ever imagined they could become at home. They know and understand that it will take determination and hard work but they know that every moment of struggle or doubt will be worth the reward.
I see this soft spoken drive in each of the refugee women at the American Muslim Women's Association (AMWA), our most recent partner (click here for more details), as they patiently listen to instruction, learn and apply. I see their spirits slowly developing into the spirits God sees and knows they can be. It inspires me and it sparks gratitude. Gratitude that I live in a country, a space in which my spirit can happily answer the call to reach higher, to press forward or make better my life. Gratitude that I get to witness the fruits of what planting a little seed of hope can do for an individual.
I wanted to work with and support the AMWA because they are teaching the same principles that I believe in. They are teaching the skills of livelihood, self reliance and progress. Each time you purchase something sewn or created by one of these refugee women you are adding a drop of water to that seed of hope and nurturing its growth. You are helping a spirit reach new heights.
And it is a beautiful thing to watch.
We've added hand sewn aprons to the Daisy May and Me shop. Each are hand sewn and designed by one of the wonderful refugee women at the local AMWA. All the proceeds from your purchase go directly to the woman and their families. Click here to purchase an apron.