Wednesday, August 18, 2010

A Daughter's Heart

I haven't written about my 'Monday Night Girls' in a while. There are a few reasons. The Summer months have led to an inconsistent Bible study schedule--they are now Wednesday Night Girls. Additionally, a few of my former girls know about the blog now and even though I protect the identities and the personal details of the girls I write about--I just don't ever want to make them uncomfortable. I don't intend to share much about the conditions that led to their placement at the group home anymore, but tonight I cannot help but share an observation. 

This afternoon my sons were invited to go home with a classmate for a play date. This left K & me to have some one-on-one girl time. We had just painted her nails, so she asked me to think of something else 'girlie.' We decided to visit a local tea room for an afternoon tea party. Unfortunately, we arrived to find that they had closed at 3pm--so we were left to wander about downtown. 

We decided to stop by a bakery and a doll store that were 4 blocks away. Despite the fact that it was 99 degrees outside, K asked if we could walk. I agreed, under the condition that she hold my hand. :-) So, hand-in-hand we walked, skipped, strolled and jumped over cracks. We stopped in a couple of stores along the way, drew "I heart U"s on the dusty windows of abandoned storefronts, purchased and ate gummy cherries and chatted about nothing in particular. It was as close a perfect, picturesque afternoon with a pigtail-clad, uniform wearing 6 year old girl as I can imagine. We even capped it off with a visit to see a friend's puppies, for crying out loud! Every day is certainly not as Norman Rockwellish, but today was very good.

Tonight I went by the group home for Bible Study. On the sofa across from me sat A, age 15, H, age 13 and F, Age 16. As we chatted about the knotty, less than noble family tree that led to the birth of Jesus, the conversation inevitably turned to their own families--specifically, their moms. Regardless of what they have been through at the hands of or without intervention/protection from their mothers, their hearts' desires are still to just be 'home' with their mamas. 

I was suddenly flooded with a mixture of emotions about my afternoon with K. 
Gratitude that we can have such an idyllic afternoon.
Sadness that my Monday Night Girls don't have the same experience.
Confusion and even a little embarrassment over the inequity of it all. 

I am so frustrated by my girls' reports of their mothers' failure to complete their case plans to have custody restored. I know there are deep issues of addiction, abuse, poverty and ignorance at play. 

I hate sin and the way the Enemy is able to use it to destroy the lives and hurt the hearts of so many people.

I am still pondering tonight what to do with all these feelings. I know the answer is NOT to take for granted the blessed childhoods my children have been able to experience so far. I am exceedingly humbled and grateful. I want to better understand how to give out of the overflow. Praying through what that looks like...

Sometimes there are no easy answers.


HopeandWhimsy said...

You are giving out of the overflow. Go back and read your post and so many others with fresh eyes and you'll see. You want to do what you are already doing. I think I understand what you mean--but right now I'm on the other side and I'm...thankful, grateful, just plain happy to think of you just doing what you do. You keep loving, sharing and living openly by faith and God does his amazing stuff--even here in the excruciating heartache and deep, dark valley--God is good and He IS working mightily. I'm so glad we'll be in eternity together--so often you make me smile.
Joyfully and with gratitude,

HW said...

Speaking from my own experience with a difficult childhood, I think these girls will one day look back and be saddened by what they missed out on with their own mothers but will also see the blessings placed in their lives by people like you. It is a difficult journey to be sure, but when they look back on those people without whom they could not have made it, you will come to mind. So, yes, just keep doing what you are doing. Just keep loving.

Ashley said...

You are right b/c there are no easy answers to this. My mom is my BEST friend who I share so much with and life as a little girl was always full of unconditional love. It has not been until the more recent years that my heart has ached for those who did not have a home or family to love them. So glad K has you, embrace those times, but know your other girls are blessed to have you in their lives. You may not see the fruit of your labor, but you are impacting the kingdom and for eternity. Hopefully these girls will have a chance for families and moments like you K had. Blessings, Ashley

elizabeth said...

I am so thankful for you.

I have the hard job of being a social worker (in another state) and have to deal with these emotions, frustrations and disappointments on a regular basis. People who have never been in this field don't get it and its so hard to sit with a child (teenagers are harder!) and try to explain why their parent did come to the visit to see them, got arrested(again, older child) or as they put it, just dont care.

I see people killing their kids and I know ALOT of people that just want and pray daily for one baby to live.

it seriously gets me depressed. how quickly i forgot the God I serve and how his plan is perfect and my brain can not understand how the murder of a 20 month old is something GOd would allow.

you are right, sometimes there are no easy answers.

I am so thankful that GOd is still God and he is good all the time.

I believe he gives you messages to write to your blog at just the most perfect time. you/God speak to me through this blog and I thank you for it.

you are the kind of woman I hope to be (that makes me sound so young, i am not that far behind you in age, but I look up to you!)

thank you!

Jani said...

They are so lucky to have you...if nothing else, then praying for them and reaching out to others who will also gladly add them to their prayer list too.

Mom of Eleven said...

So very interesting, last night I was drawn to watch Antwone Fisher on tv. I have heard of it but never watched it in its entirety. You would definitely enjoy it. Anyway, the concept of where's his mother runs throughout. I have wrestled with many moments with kids and alone with God on this topic. It's a hard one to swallow because I don't understand it. My children that I have given birth to are part of me, literally. God has given me peace in understanding that SIN is what stands between my kids and their natural parents. And that's how powerful SIN is. . it's sad really. Praying for you as you wrestle through this with some of the girls. I've been there.

Peter and Nancy said...

Each time you write about "your" girls, I think of "my" girls. I serve in a ministry to young women who work as exotic dancers. While a few of them come from fairly functional families, most come from histories of abandonment, abuse and broken families. It is so hard to see how little they were given. Many of them are mothers themselves -- some of their stories about what their kids are exposed to make me cringe and weep (and some of the women are good mothers).

You're right -- there is so much injustice in this life. But remember, you are doing your part in God's kingdom to shine light into their lives. You are being the face of Christ for them, and showing them that there are other ways to live, and other kinds of mothers.

The one girl said...

Being a survivor of extensive childhood abuse, I know your girls pain and sadness. Your girls should be encouraged by the truth that God honors every second we spend processing our stuff and allowing Him to provide treasures in the darkness. Much of my pain has been resolved and my heart restored. God has provided a great purpose and ministry out of my painful past. He's filled my heart with such peace, truth and intimacy that I can honestly say that I am something akin to grateful for my childhood. I have journeyed something horrible, yet have come out and into something that many people will never experience --- an utter dependence on God alone. I just don't know that I would ever had found myself with Him alone if I hadn't experienced such tragedy.

The sadness, however, can creep up at any moment. Not everyday, not even often... but it truly is tragically sad to know that those who should have been built-in cheerleaders and love providers simply are not.

Jennifer, while you cannot fill the hole left by their families, you are providing the love and security that these girls will remember for the rest of their lives. YOU are shaping them!! Rebuilding them!! Believe me. I still remember every kind word or action dating all the way back to 3rd grade!

Don't be embarrassed by your Norman Rockwell days... Cherish them. Allow your Wednesday night girls to see that - they might just one day use that as their point of reference when they are mothers!