I really should be in bed....I need to be refreshed, ready, and at my best in order to give the TAKS science test tomorrow to my room of Sophomores...but my mind won't let me sleep. My daughters and I came face to face with something tonight that I never would have imagined.
Rachel received a text message from the new guy in school that she recently befriended. He asked her to please come to his house right away because his step-dad had just beat him up and the police were called and he needed a friend. I was on my way to the grocery store when Hannah called me from Rachel's phone. She said, "Momma, Rachel is driving and I know that she is not suppose to talk while she is driving but she really needs to talk to you so I'm going to put her on speaker phone." I knew something was terribly wrong at that instant and then I heard Rachel's voice break as she said, "Momma!" and then she sobbed.
I wasn't sure what was going on but, I pulled my car over into a parking lot and asked her to do the same thing so that she could tell me what was going on. I was so fearful that they had been in an accident. Rachel and Hannah were on their way to pick up their friend Skyler and the three of them were headed to Wednesday night youth. Through the sobs she told me about her text and that she wanted to go right over to his house because he needed a friend.
The hair on the back of my neck seemed to stand at attention and I cautioned her to wait until I got home but to NOT go over to his house alone! I was only 15 minutes from home and I would be there as quickly as I could. I encouraged her to take Hannah and Skyler to church and then meet me at home. In the meantime, I called my friend, the school counselor, and asked if she knew anything about what was going on or if someone would go with us to this young man's house as I had not met his parents.
She called his uncle and informed me that the young man's step-dad was in custody, that things were still tense at the house but the step-dad was not there. I called Mr. Incredible, who couldn't leave work for another hour, and told him what was going on. He let me take the girls over there under extreme caution and lots of prayer.
The girls and I arrived at this young man's house and another police officer was there taking statements. The young man threw his arms around Rachel and held on to her for several minutes. Bless his heart, his eye was cut and swollen, he had cuts on his arms, he was very pale, and yet calm at the same time. I asked him if he was okay and he responded, "Yes, things just happen." I was stunned. His mom said the exact same words and then in a frenzy she explained that the family was moving in the morning and that the judge was going to keep her husband overnight in jail which would allow them to get out of town as quickly as possible.
She told me that she was embarrassed. I told her that there was nothing to be embarrassed about we just wanted to check on her son and to make sure that they all were ok. She muttered something about it was okay if her husband hit her but it was never okay for him to hit her children. Of course, I encouraged her that it was never okay for her or her children to be hit...and then the Holy Spirit seemed to open my eyes that this was probably not the first time this had happened...maybe that is why he was so calm...I'm not sure.
I offered to help them pack, take care of dinner, or whatever they needed. She let me pick up dinner for her boys and a drink from Sonic for her. When we got back to the house, they were nearly packed...as if they had done this before.
The girls and I listened carefully as this young man who was standing in a mere shell of a very old and run down house explain that his real daddy use to beat him too but it was far worse and that his dad will never be allowed to see him again. And then he told us that he lived in foster care for an entire year, just last year, and that his new step dad had family in our city and that is why they moved here. And his mom's frantic packing continued all around us.
She exclaimed to us, on probably her 5th trip to the car, that she would sleep well tonight because she was exhausted...and her son quietly commented to us that he would probably not sleep at all. I'll never forget the hollow look in his eyes as he told us about his dad and his step dad. This is all the kind of love and attention from a father figure that he has ever known. I asked him if he had talked to a counselor and he assured me that he had. I encouraged him to see a counselor in their new city...3,000 miles away and he nodded his head.
I wanted to tell him that there is a Father who loves him far more than he could ever imagine or dream....but my words just wouldn't come. How could I when the only examples of fathers he has ever known beat him and take away a small part of himself every time? No, the timing wasn't right for him to hear it, but I'm praying it over and over again over his precious life! I pray that someday soon he will know the Father's love for him!
Rachel was so upset for her friend. She wept all the way home. I told her that I wanted her to read my devotion that I had read this very morning...and then she smiled and said through tears of joy, "In my quiet times with God this week, I have been asking God to help me be a better friend." And my heart rejoiced. Yes, He was preparing her precious, precious heart for something very special...something far outside of our comfort zone...and something we never could have imagined. Her heart was already prepared and she jumped into action the second the opportunity was provided.
Just this morning, I was re-reading a passage in Streams in the Desert. The devotion was about Othniel and how the "Spirit of the Lord came upon him" (Judges 3:9-10). The devotion begins, "God is continually preparing His heroes, and when the opportunity is right, He puts them into position in an instant. He works so fast, the world wonders where they came from." The devotion continues, "We must allow God to work amid our present trials and in the little victories, the future significance of which we can only imagine. Human strength and human greatness spring not from life's sunny side, heroes must be more than driftwood floating on a wave less tide." When I read that early this morning, I smiled to the Lord and thanked Him for all that He has done and continues to do in Rachel's life, and then I remember thinking, there are reasons why He worked to mightily on her behalf.
I'm getting goosebumps all over. Little did I know what He would ask us to come alongside and do for His honor and glory this evening. Please, hear my heart in this. I'm not sharing this to say look at us! I'm saying this to encourage you that He sees and He knows and He loves us far too much to leave us the way that we are because He sees the big picture and if we are willing, and if He so chooses, we somehow can become His physical hands and feet ministering to His children. Oh, if He can use us, I know He can use you!
And yet, here I sit in the safety of my beautiful home surrounded by the ones that I love most in this wold, while a scared 17 year old young man, his younger brother and sister, and his mother prepare to flee to safety. And my heart once again cries, "Come, Lord Jesus! Come!" Life is hard and unfair. But, I know that He sees it all, even the awful sides of life that we know happen all around us, but we don't often see. He has the final authority and He is the Righteous Judge and Jesus is just the hero that this young man needs in His life.
Please, join us in praying for this young man as they travel. We are asking God to put someone in his life that can continue teaching him about Jesus and that his heart would be tender towards the Heavenly Father who loves him so much.