Nov 092011

Her eyes were wide as I opened my trunk lid.  The van was filled to the roof with Christmas presents – toys for the kids, new pillows and blankets, groceries, and a few nice things for mom too.  She stood still, as if she was afraid to believe it was all for them – for her little family. 

My mind flashed to the day in clinic when another family caught my attention.  They were part of a small Bible study group and wanted to take on a family for Christmas.  Wanted to provide for someone who didn’t have much.  I agreed to watch out for the right opportunity, and within 24 hours I had found a match.  A single mom who had arm-wrestled a meth addiction.  Who had lost everything – her kids, her job, her home – but who along the way had found herself.  Had scratched and clawed to become a mom again.  But it wasn’t easy, and the full-time job she held barely paid the bills.  There wasn’t much left over for Christmas. 

Until she crashed headlong into a small Bible study group.

It took 18 trips up the apartment stairs to carry everything in.  The little Christmas tree could barely be seen.  The living room floor was half-covered.  And in the middle of  the mess, I held onto a sobbing, sweet, beautiful mom who experienced, maybe for the very first time in her life, grace and love that were extravagant. 

Who will you love extravagantly?

“Mostly what God does is love you.  Keep company with Him and learn a life of love.  Observe how Christ loved us.  His love was not cautious but extravagant…Love like that.”  Ephesians 5:2 (MSG)

Apr 022010

Numbers are an important part of our everyday lives.  We use them to help us connect to others on our cell phones, to tell us which seat to sit in on a plane, and to help us find the correct highway.  In the world of foster kids, one important number is the number of kids in custody.  Thankfully, that number has been declining, from 12,000 a couple of years ago to just over 8,400 today.  There are lots of ideas about why the number is declining, and certainly lots of excitement.  And there should be.

That said, do not think for one moment that the work with these kids and their families is done, that DHS no longer needs the community to step up.  I would argue the exact opposite.

There aren’t any fewer families who struggle

Life is difficult.  Parenting is hard if there are two of you and you aren’t worried about putting gas in the car or your next meal on the table.  What if you are a single parent?  What if it costs you more for a week of daycare than you earn in a week of work?  What if a good day is one where the electricity and the water are both on at your house? 

Look around you.  On your block.  At your kids’ school.  Or the grocery store, or at church.  There are hurting people everywhere.  People who need to eat, need a ride, need a babysitter. 

Or perhaps they need the most important thing of all – a friend.

Want to end child abuse?  That’s how.  You don’t have to be a rocket scientist.  Just a servant.