I am a hard-working, educated mama. For dinner, I had a large salad and chicken pizza, drizzled in barbecue sauce. For dessert, I had a sugared donut from our favorite cider mill. I could call more than a dozen people, right now - this instant - that would show up for me if needed. My bed is warm, my bills are paid, and my morning is full of promise.
I didn't spend much time, today, thinking about the mamas that went without. Actually, I didn't spend any time thinking about anyone. I rushed around trying to do my best to get all my little people to their places. It was one of those days that just didn't work and brought tears more times than not. I exhaled louder than necessary, when I finally sat down in the quiet dark. You know the moment -they're all asleep (you want to sleep) and you drink it in. I love the stillness. It makes total sense that God likes to meet there. I want to LIVE there.
My phone buzzed.
"I'm stuck in a bad situation..."
I put the phone down without reading more, set my head to my hands, and threw out a what-are-you-doing-to-me, "Lord?"
"I hear what you're saying, but...." haven't I helped enough? I didn't voice that last part. It sounded better in my head.
Our relationship was never easy, but her release from prison has brought an onslaught of uncomfortable conversations and necessary boundaries. I sighed and read the rest of her message.
She needed a safe place to stay. Her roommate was using, her first paycheck undelivered, she had no one to call and no where to go. She apologized for asking, promised to pay me back, and gave me a number to book a weekly-rated motel. I could feel her desperation.
Without hesitation, I picked up the phone and called the motel. No room. I, quickly, texted our case worker and asked for resources. Within minutes, she sent me women's shelters and named places to stay clear of.
Everything was full or required in-person payment. The shelters all had wait lists. I was told to call back every day between 8-9am to hold her spot, in hopes that something will open in the coming weeks. For every day I don't call, her name will move further down the list.
I spent 90 minutes scouring the city for a safe haven. Nothing.
My frustration grew with every phone call. Our system fails our kids and, now it's failing her. Sure, Sweet Mama gets help here and services there, but she needs radical intervention - someone to hold her hand and walk her through the mud. With two years of sobriety behind and a heart full of dreams ahead, she is at the point of balance. Anything can happen, but odds point south.
She was forced to stay put, tonight, but we made a plan for the morning. I know God will protect her, but I don't know what that means for me.
I wanted to end our relationship three times, this week, but God kept pushing me forward.
In all of his years of ministry, Jesus, certainly, could have used the excuses I've been trying out - this isn't easy; this isn't comfortable; the cost is too great; I've done enough.
But he didn't. And because he didn't, I have salvation, today.
Aren't you glad that Jesus didn't see the soldiers coming and say, "I'm out. THIS is where I draw the line. I've done enough." Wouldn't he have been justified?
As much as I want to resist it, I can't deny the begging of my heart. I don't know what comes next or how this looks. And it's a little terrifying. Okay, it's A LOT terrifying. But, I rest in this - God doesn't abandon us when the monsters of the night creep before us.
Instead, he scatters the darkness and wraps us in light.
We CAN do hard things.