Posts Tagged ‘mom’

After the awkward introduction with a new girl where I couldn’t shake her hand because we aren’t allowed to touch:

“How are you doing?” I tried to ask soothingly.
“I was caged alive for 7 months.” she said despondently as she stared into my eyes.

*pause*  …  *breath*  …  *think*

“That must feel really scary.” I settled on. (At this point I still wasn’t sure if she meant she’d been in jail for 7 months, been in solitary confinement for 7 months, or she had somehow been held captive before jail.) I’m not sure I ever really figured it out, but she went on. She told me how great her life was and then she paused:

“Then he went off and died on me.” she said as the tears started to flow.

*pause*  …  *breath*  …  *think*

“Who was it that died again?” I asked, trying to pretend I just missed his name when really I was incredibly confused by the conversation… She went on to talk about addiction, loss, and through the tears our conversation continued to be very confusing. I can only imagine how confused her heart must be feeling tonight.

After joining the ladies for our PB&J lunch on the block another new girl asked to speak with me. She said she had court yesterday and it was hard to process. Noticing her eyes filling with tears I quickly promised I’d call her out to talk one on one instead of at the table with all the other girls listening in:

“So what happened at court?” I asked.
“If I get more than a year they are going to adopt out my daughter,” she sobbed.

*pause*  …  *breath*  …  *think*

“That must feel really scary.” I settled on again. This has honestly become my go to phrase. Sometimes there’s just no way to fix it. There are no words to say. We still can’t touch, so no hugs to give. Nothing I can do but acknowledge the emotion. And sit in the pain with her.

We talked about adoption. How there was no one in her life she would trust with her sweet daughter because the people closest to her did drugs. How she knew adoption was good, but that this girl was a part of her. She wasn’t for someone else. I can only imagine how scared her heart is feeling tonight.

On to the next and the story goes like this:

“So you heard my big news?” she asked cynically.
“I’m so sorry.” I replied, knowing she was referring to the loss of her mother.
“This is torture.” she said flatly.

*pause*  …  *breath*  …  *think*

Again, no words were fitting. I had a hard day yesterday when my mom flew to another country but is still only a phone call away. We reminisced on stories of her mom. How she was her best friend. That she would miss the funeral. Though she was struggling throughout the whole conversation she was grateful that her mom was finally out of pain. I can only imagine how much her heart is hurting tonight.

IMG_5657I think it’s these conversations that make me dislike TV so much. I have a hard time sitting back and separating these stories from the stories in the shows even when they are so very different. I hear the phrase “New Girl” and I think of all the new girls I met today and their stories. I hear “Orange is the New Black” and think about what all the different colors of clothing mean in jail. I hear “House of Cards” and think about the odd politics and manipulation that goes on between the girls in there. I just can’t get their sweet faces out of my mind.

But I also see so much good. I get to see the girls who care about each other as well as they can in the middle of these broken situations. I hear about the gratitude lists that are being made each day. The many people who start their mornings reading the Jesus Calling book we were able to give out for Christmas and then choose to face the day with hope. The counselors who squeeze as much work into their time there as possible. The COs who stop many fights before they begin. The excited updates of girls who have gotten out. The constant requests of prayers for loved ones. I know it’s hard to imagine their lives, but if you believe in God, would you lift up a prayer for these girls? I’m sure their hearts could use it tonight. 

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Dearest, sweetest Mommy,
This art was meant for you.
I thought you’d always be there,
But I’ve learned that that’s not true.

I cannot understand it,
It just looks like you’re asleep.
They laid my picture up on you,
When people see they weep.

I wish that we could cuddle,
Or just get one last hug.
But heroin took you away,
I lost you to the drug.

Today I went to the funeral of someone younger than me. I didn’t know her, but it still left me in tears. So much pain. I’m so glad I am surrounded by a group of people who care. People who want to step into the mess and help to pull people out. Jesus didn’t tell people to get better first then come to Him…He met them in their mess and loved them. He gave them hope and challenged them to overcome. I want to live like that. I want love to win over shame. I want people to be able to share their struggles and find the strength to overcome.

toddler-car-seatAny moms out there know how stressful it is to have a little one. Now picture this…three little ones.

A one year old,
a two year old,
and a four year old.

Hmm…that’s stressful. Now picture this, you’re in a new town, because where you used to live was an unsafe area and you didn’t want to raise your three precious little ones there. You don’t have anywhere to stay, and you have to be out of your hotel room by 11am. Also, you and the kids Daddy don’t have jobs yet…still stressful.

I think to a lot of us this sounds like a bad dream, but to the family of five that I met today, it’s reality. I love having a job where I can be the one to get a phone call saying, we have these kids here, and we know you have a carseat, wanna come help out? And to have the freedom to drop what I’m doing and lug some kids and their sweet parents to a hotel that Hearts for Homeless was able to get for them for the week while they try to figure out life. I’m blessed to have a friend who thought to make dinner for them and bring it to the hotel, so they could have a hot meal tonight. And to live with a family who have extra kid things and toys that we could share with this family.

When I picked up one of the sweet littles this morning and looked into her eyes, my heart broke. It kills me to think, that they, at such young ages, have known homelessness. I hate that this is the reality for so many. But it also breaks my heart to know that it isn’t just them. It breaks my heart that for some reason we can all agree that no matter what it isn’t ok for these sweet littles to be living on the streets, but we can’t always agree about that for bigs. It breaks my heart that I look into the eyes of adults who know the fear of wondering if and where they will sleep at night. Homelessness hurts. It’s not easy. It’s not fun. It’s scary, and lonely, and hard. But I know that while I cannot stop homelessness, I can still do my part. I can hug these sweet littles. I can encourage their Mama. I can chat with my friends at the shelter who, though they aren’t as small, are just as valuable. And I can share what it means to have hope. Not just hope to find a place to call their own…though that is wonderful. The hope of Jesus Christ. The God who knows what it is to be a child without a home…remember, he was born out with the animals? God cares and He loves us. He also has a plan even when things don’t seem to make sense. On days like today, I need that reminder too. Feel free to pray for this family, and the many others who are stuck in really tricky situations.

I remember talking with my mom about tragedy when I was younger. I remember her explaining how there were words that explained some people living through loss. Like a widow was someone who had lost her husband. An orphan was someone who had lost their parents. But for someone who lost their child, there was no word. There’s no word, because it just should not be. Kids should outlive their parents. Parents shouldn’t have to face that horrific, indescribable feeling of losing a child…

baby in hands open hands 2

…but they do. Sometimes babies die. Sometimes they get taken away. Either way the mother is left childless. Facing a pain so great that the English language doesn’t even have a word for it. Today I met with several women who fall into this category. Today I spent the day in jail. I met with women one on one and listened, encouraged, prayed with and for them. Some asked questions which I tried to answer. Some share stories of bitterness which I tried to understand. Some told me of their children who had been adopted, were in foster care, or their relatives were taking care of them. And one came into my office, sat down, and as she told me how her last visit with her daughter had gone that morning I had to work to hold back the tears. There just aren’t encouraging words to share in that situation. The papers are signed. That sweet baby girl is no longer hers. She still has a daughter. She is still a mother. But someone else is officially and legally her baby’s mother now. That’s good, but it hurts.

I love adoption and I am so thankful for the families that take these sweet littles as their own, but today I want us to stop and to recognize, that although some Mamas make bad choices, they often still love their babies very much. And though they are unable to care for them – from lack of knowledge, struggle with an addiction, or being in an unsafe situation, those babies give them a reason to live and keep fighting. Even the ones who I talk to whose children have already been adopted, and they don’t have contact with them. They want to change their lives for the sake of their children. So if you read this, say a prayer for the Mamas today. Some of them are tired and were up all night with their littles, and others are heartbroken because they no longer have their littles. Maybe they are tired because they were up all night worrying about their sweet littles and wondering who is picking them up when they cry. Either way, the Mamas can use your prayers today.