One Saturday night, I received a text from Soy that stated, “S is crying uncontrollably and she is complaining of chest pains.” She had come to the youth group at the church, but started complaining of chest pains when she started to leave. In true dramatic fashion, the local fire station came to make sure she was physically fine.
I responded, “Just bring her to our house and she can stay with us.” We have known this family for years. We have watched this sweet girl grow into a teenager over the past four years. She is a very sweet child, but I knew there were some problems within the home. Thankfully, the family trusts me and we have a good relationship with the mother.
The sweet, young girl walked through our door and hugged me tight as the tears streamed down her face. Our daughter, Lizzi, gave her some pajamas and directed her towards the shower. Our other daughters quickly moved out of their room so she could have their bed. As we sat in the kitchen eating dinner, her face became less worrisome.
I spent the next two nights waking up every few hours to check on her. When she cried, I simply sat beside her until she fell back to sleep. It was a reminder of why we are grateful to be out of the baby stage–interrupted sleep!
So what was the result? There is no playbook on how a single mother can provide and raise six children. We have been able to help with some problems within the home. We have loved the family in the good and the bad. We continue to be very involved in their lives. However, this sweet girl knows that we are here. We are not going anywhere. Our doors are always open.
R runs up to me with a huge smile on her face. “Can we just stay at the school until church starts tonight?” I immediately said, “No!” Then she began to give me all of the reasons why it’s a good idea. The truth is she is much safer at our school than on the streets. In fact, she is allowed to come to the help at the feeding center every morning in order to keep her off of the streets. She is at a very influential age and her environment can determine her future.
After listening to her persistent begging, I gave in. She and another student took advantage of me working a couple extra hours by listening to music on the computers in the computer lab. They put on their headphones and sang at the top of their lungs. I could hear them singing through the brick walls. After a while, we loaded up in my car and came to the house for dinner. Somehow our kitchen table went from serving 5 people to serving 10 people on this particular Wednesday night. Discipleship starts around the dinner table!