Karen (not her real name) tears dropped like chains of despair, like metal clanking on the floor of her heart.
She wept from the moment I saw her in the service at the recovery center, to the very last second of our time together.
She appeared twenty at best, her petite stature and porcelain face, a reminder of her youth.
But despite my inability to gauge her age, I couldn’t stop thinking about how she had signed over her rights to her twins. This is something I’ve heard many of the ladies say over the years. A sad component to their own broken life, one that affects the little ones.
A certain amount relief at knowing the children were safe gave me comfort, but also an overwhelming sadness sent my thoughts reeling. It’s like I could see the weeping eyes of children across the nation who long for their mother’s love.
Here’s a broken mother with a broken family. And here’s two children with a new place to lay their heads. But the idea of them not seeing their biological mother, well, it ripped at my core.
And yes, I pray for the children to be whole, safe, and healthy. But, the brokenness of life is like an open wound for all involved, and on certain days, especially since in this case, I’m a twin, I cry into the night at such sadness.
Often, when I see the ladies in recovery for our church services, I don’t know their whole story, or how ugly life became before they were arrested or brought to the center.
So, it’s easy for me to remain focused on sharing the gospel of Christ, of encouraging them to walk in obedience to Him, and to lift them up with the Word of God.
They come to rehab (many do) lost and so afraid. They can see the world as cold and unforgiving, as though the hope of living on a solid foundation in Jesus is for others, but not for them.
They encounter feelings that ring out, telling them they are unworthy. That they are beyond repair. They can get trapped in the “afraid feelings” and listen to their emotions, of the alone part, of the searching for answers.
Life is so complicated and filled with unresolved pages of sin, and I think of the teenage boy who is in need of a strong mom. I think of the preteen girl who is living with hopes and dreams, but her mother is in recovery. Or the girl or boy who has no idea where their mom is, or what happened to her.
I must ask who is loving on the eight-year old boy who could use an embrace from his mother? Or the six-year old girl who cries at night? Or the toddler who knows something’s missing, but not sure how to stop asking, “Where’s mommy?”
I think of the blue-eyed girls. The brown-haired boys. The olive skinned child, the white, and the brown.
I think of the beautiful children who need their mothers. But then I think of the mother who has gotten lost too, who sinned, who strayed, who lost her way. And I think of how this mother has forgotten what a gift it is to have a child.
And then I meet the mother like in this recent service whose very being appeared shattered at the loss of her children. And somehow, I see her pain and regret, and long for her to experience grace in having a second chance at being in her children’s lives.
Thus, I press on, and share Christ. I press on, and encourage them. I pray for the children too, and the mothers, and for families to be restored and redeemed through Jesus.
May the all-surpassing power of Christ rise up in them. And may they hear Jesus say, like in the story in John 8 where Jesus says to the woman caught in adultery (sin), “I do not condemn you, go and sin no more.”
Yes, Christ has the power to forgive sin. He also gives power to conquer sin! May we go … may we sin no more!