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Labor of Love

Christopher Bell
Christopher Bell
September 26, 2023

Many of the women who arrive on the doorsteps of Good Counsel need more than just food and shelter. Their stories are riddled with abandonment, abuse, trauma, and neglect.

Frequently, they are young mothers who have had to face circumstances that sought to break their spirits, and undermine any hope and faith they may have had. They seek mercy, love, and care – and an opportunity to make different decisions.

At Good Counsel, the women are offered more than just the basic necessities. They encounter the love of God through the physical and emotional support provided by the residential advisors, case managers, childcare workers, and the house manager. This labor of love resonates throughout Good Counsel’s four homes.

House Manager Annette runs a tight ship. Moms requiring a regular routine and discipline thrive within the support and consistency of the Good Counsel House schedule. Prayer in the morning, breakfast and child care prep – and off to work or school for the day! Because of the previous instability in their lives, the women feel reassured by the predictability of each day’s expectations.

But not all mothers are able to manage a house schedule. There are many who have never had family dinner, unaccustomed as they are to having anyone who really cares about them. Therefore, they are thirsty to find a different labor of love and mercy.

Grace arrived at Good Counsel pregnant and alone. She was welcomed upon entry, but could not understand why everyone was bothering her. She never responded back when Annette said, “Good morning.” She would often sit at the dining room table, upset and grimacing, “I don’t want to be here,” she would retort, “so, it’s not a good morning.”

Grace’s story winds down many roads of disappointment. The city shelter system promised her an apartment that did not exist, her family would only accept her back at $500 a month for her bedroom, and the father of the baby denied any involvement.

And so, her mistrust of the staff and, in particular, the house manager, was understandable. Every day during morning rounds, mealtimes, and whenever Grace was visible, Annette would greet her with warmth. Grace had been at Good Counsel for two months when she delivered her baby. Her godmother promised to be at the hospital during the birth, but Grace once again was disappointed when she never showed up. When Grace saw Annette at her bedside during labor, her frustration caused her to lash out. The body language and choice of words she uttered were harsh, but Annette remained steadfast. She stepped out of the room to allow Grace her privacy, but made sure to let her know she would be in the waiting room in case she needed anything.

After the delivery of baby boy Malachi, Grace asked the nurse for one thing: ask Ms. Annette to come in. As Annette entered, Grace said, “Thank you!”

Not all of the stories at Good Counsel embody peace and love. Oftentimes, there is a labor of love required to build trust with the women and move past the hardships they have faced. Good Counsel is incredibly grateful to staff like Annette who saw past Grace’s tough exterior and provided what she needed most: love and mercy.

Please consider giving generously to Good Counsel. Your gift provides more than food and shelter: it offers love and mercy.

Your support is truly a labor of love.

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