Hope behind her eyes.

There’s hope beginning to glimmer behind her eyes.

Those five years–five years between her finding the courage to leave an unhealthy relationship and seek something better for herself and her children and now–they were so often more than she thought she could survive.

Nights wondering where dinner would come from. Days racing against the clock to get to the shelter on time. Having to depend upon others for her daughter’s school uniform and her son’s diapers. The car being home and then losing even that. No tissues for runny noses, no Band-aids for scraped knees, no Ibuprofen for the headaches inevitably born of stress and anxiety. Time marched relentlessly on, but she never could seem to find her place in it, always desperate and constantly on-guard.

During the wee hours she second-guessed herself, questioned if running had been the right thing after all, doubted her ability to be mother enough to the two most precious things in her life, feared that the road to that “something better” was just too long and too hard.

And then she stumbled on a brochure at a community center–bright blue with a smiling mother and child on the front flap, and detailing a program that sounded too good to be true. Still, she called the number, found a friendly voice on the other end, and for the first time in longer than she could remember, felt like hope was possible.

That was eighteen months ago. And now she dances the beautiful grind of college classes and life skills workshops, her children growing in their own educational environments, and all three of them living in a home that is safe, secure and surrounded by a network of supportive friends, staff and volunteers.

And now those eyes, those eyes that for so long cast downward, full of demons and so unsure, they are different. In them you can see shadows of the pain, but that isn’t the whole story. Now, when she looks at you, you can see something else, you can see that all is not lost, and that there is a future so lovely ahead.

Because now…now there’s hope beginning to glimmer behind her eyes. And in that glimmering rests the promise that it will be okay.

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