Meredith Brock, Executive Director of Strategy and Business Development at Proverbs 31 Ministries, grew up as one of six children in a very poor family. Her parents were married at the young age of 17, and they carried into that marriage their own baggage and brokenness. Without having the opportunity to deal with their baggage, they became parents themselves at 17 years old. And a history of brokenness—violence, poverty, and alcoholism—was repeated.
Meredith recalls times when they were homeless, sleeping in their car, and eating food from dumpsters. Amazingly, during this time, she was successful academically. She was the president of the Key Club and Honor Club at her high school and participated in every extracurricular activity in which she could possibly be involved. “I didn’t have the money or opportunity. I had to make the opportunity. I was determined to grab my own bootstraps and pull myself out of this place.”
And she did it! By the end of senior year, Meredith was in good shape for college. Plowing through all the brokenness in her family, she graduated with honors and received all kinds of scholarships. But while you can take the girl out of brokenness, it’s not quite as easy to take the brokenness out of the girl.
The summer before she was slated to attend college at Boise State, Meredith attended a camp in Canada that was part of Young Life, a Christian faith-based organization that works through multiple denominations engaging in social welfare and evangelism. Her experience changed her trajectory from a path of brokenness to a journey of wholeness. Meredith began the most important relationship of her life that summer—with Jesus Christ as her savior, and she realized that she was hurting and had never let herself talk about it. More importantly, she realized that she needed help before she could become a functioning member of society.
She found the help she needed in a couple at the Young Life camp who asked her if she would like to stay with them in Alaska for the rest of the summer. “I knew they were different—they were really healthy. I was drawn to them and felt safe with them. I went to Alaska with a plan to live there for a month, and for the first time in my life, I told someone my story. They listened, and I cried.”
Meredith didn’t go to college at the end of that summer. Instead, she converted some of her scholarships to pay for her to go to hair school, and she became a hair stylist and lived in Alaska with this loving couple who breathed life into her for the following six years. They loved her, not merely with words, but the way love is supposed to look—with arms and legs and real cost. They taught Meredith how to open a bank account, write a check, and be a functioning adult. Meredith even recalls them letting her be a part of their “arguments” so she would know what it was like to argue in a healthy manner.
Meredith had no real career goals at that time, but it was in Alaska that she started developing a heart for helping people who have been hurt like her, which propels her forward in her career even today. She claims, “You aren’t the sum of the pain that has been dealt upon you!”
It turns out, staying in Alaska was a super smart move for Meredith, as it positioned her to learn how to be a healthy individual, how to be in healthy relationships, and how to manage her finances and businesses in a healthy manner. She was able to save money while there those six years and later attend college in South Carolina. She now has a bachelor’s degree, a master’s degree, and zero debt. Additionally, it was in South Carolina where she met her husband, Mack Brock, recording artist and son of a Southern Baptist pastor.
“When Mack started pursuing me, it was scary for me. My past with men was not good. I thought, ‘Your dad is a Southern Baptist preacher. My dad sells drugs! Your family is gonna lose their minds when they find out who my family is.’ But it was the opposite.” And once again, Meredith ran into real love—the kind that heals hearts and lives.
Now, Meredith and Mack have two beautiful children, Harvey Mack (7) and Cyrus Alaska (3.5). And Meredith will be the first to admit that there’s no perfect mom. Her journey as a mom has been learning and redefining what becoming a mom looks like. “My mother mothered from a broken heart. I don’t blame my mom, but I desperately want to be a different kind of mother. I want to mother from a fully healed heart.”
For Meredith, that doesn’t mean hiding her brokenness from her children. “Have enough self-compassion to give yourself time to heal. Surround yourself with people who will help you heal. But allow your kids to see you wrestle—in a healthy way. Allow them to see you struggle with the hurt of this world. One day they will face it too. You want to build trust with them so they come to you when they have their broken moment. The first time my kid’s heart gets broken, I want him to say, ‘I’ve gotta talk to my mom. She will know what to do.’ ”
Meredith made a different choice for herself. She interrupted the cycle of poverty. She interrupted the cycle of violence. She interrupted the cycle of substance abuse. But she didn’t do it alone. In the midst of people who showed her what it means to be truly healthy, she stopped and gave six years of her life to self-care and self-compassion. In that time, she took the hand she was dealt in life and did something miraculous—she changed it.