Resilience is the ability to bounce back or recover from difficulty situations. We know that the times we're living in require more hope and resilience than ever before. Through these posts, you'll get to meet members of our Defending the Cause staff and learn what resilience looks like in their lives.
Meet Jill - the Communications Director here at Defending the Cause Regional Alliance. When reflecting on a time in her life she was most resilient she shared about her experience being a young mom. “I was a mother at 19. I lost my community and the plans I had made for my life. It was such a lonely time for me, even though I wasn't alone. Everything was different and I had to make it up as I went along. I think it motivated me knowing what I wanted for my family and my baby. I wanted her to feel loved and supported and so I tried to create a space that would allow that.” Jill’s vision for a better tomorrow for her family and her child became motivating factors for her.
As resilience has been critical for all of us in this season Jill shares the new form it has taken in her life. “Being resilient in this season has to come with flexibility and grace - for yourself and for others. Flexibility and grace seem to be partners with resiliency. For me, being resilient looks like not giving up even when everything looks different and changing constantly.”
Jill shared that fear can be a barrier to resilience. “Fear keeps you from wanting to engage - it keeps you out of the game. Fear of failing or fear of what other people think. Being scared is normal – but we can be scared and do it anyway.”
Jill is passionate about being a soft place for others to land and, in turn, fostering resilience. “You can’t fix other people's problems, but you can be a soft place to land. A safe space where someone can find unconditional love and acceptance.”
Meet Heidi - the Church Relations Director for DTCRA who describes being resilient as the ability not only to fall and get back up, but also acknowledging that failure is part of the process and not the end.
When chatting resilience, Heidi shared, “I struggled with addiction to drugs and alcohol. I got off drugs and then spent two years trying to quit drinking, without success. I never stopped seeking freedom from that addiction and by the grace of God, today I can say that I am free." Heidi credits this resilient nature to her faith and to her family. “[They] believed in me and supported me. Even when I made mistakes, they were there.” Heidi was resilient in trying again and again, one day at a time.
This season has been challenging for so many of us and Heidi has been able to be flexible as things change around her. When it would’ve been easier to just “wait it out” and put her dreams and goals on hold, her motivation came from her hope in knowing that the kids she serves are worth it. She held on to hope by remembering her WHY in this season - even if she wanted to quit. The biggest barrier to being resilient? “Discouragement and distraction. I have to focus on the goal and a vision and the part I play in it. And when I'm distracted, I've taken my eyes off the vision."
If Heidi could help others find resilience, she reiterates the need for vision and having goals. Believing that tomorrow can be better and knowing the path you need to take to pursue that. She also says her faith has been a huge part of her resilience. “If I didn't have my faith, I'm not sure how I would be handling this season. My hope is for [a better] tomorrow."
Meet Tiffany – the founder and Executive Director here at Defending the Cause.
Tiffany shared that she sees resilience as “bouncing back after challenges while holding on tightly to hope. It’s facing both good times and the hard circumstances with the mindset that positive things can come out of any situation. In this season, Tiffany shared that resilience looks like “starting each day fresh, not holding too tightly to expectations of how things looked before. This doesn’t come easily as I enjoy structure and routine…each day I must choose to be both realistic and optimistic, seeing things as they are while believing for what’s not yet.”
Over the years, Tiffany has had many opportunities to build resilience but none more powerful than her international adoption journey. “During the 6 ½ year process to bring our 2 kids home from Haiti, my husband and I faced piles of paperwork, corrupt government officials and agonizing delays that, at times, led us to some dark places. I knew that the waiting process was building my character, but there were no guarantees along the way that our son and daughter would eventually come home. Looking back, just 3 years after the adoption finalized, I am thankful for the resilience gained during the waiting as I rely on it daily to be the parent both of my kids need.”
Tiffany is passionate about fostering resilience in her kids. “I get to be the calm in their storm. If I can remain hopeful and encouraging, it helps buffer some of the unknowns of their current situation.” She has also learned a lot about resilience from her children. “For many years, they lived in Haiti without regular meals, proper care or supportive adults in their life yet they persevered, holding onto hope that things would get better, that they would come home to a forever family. Each day I look at my kids, I see a picture of resilience.”