Not about the soccer schedule….
Spoke to my best friend yesterday.
We didn’t shoot the breeze about our kid’s soccer teams. Or about ballet schedules being busy. Didn’t talk about the sale at Macy’s or about what color we will paint our kitchens.
No, the mothering issues she faces are far more intense than that, for she resides in Newark, NJ, where every day is a battle for a child’s life. A struggle against a society so broken and dysfunctional due to the generational curses of sin and selfishness…theirs and ours.
When asked what was going on in her life, she unloaded the enormous burden she’s been carrying for the past several weeks in. One of her surrogate children came to visit…came to visit with bruises all over his body.
Bruises due to his stepfather’s anger. His anger and his leather belt.
She tried to contact that boy’s mother, but that mother is in such an intense addiction due to her own mother’s neglect and abuse because of her addiction (the cycle goes on and on), that she can’t think of anything beyond how she will get her next fix. My best friend didn’t dare call the cops, because that means that child and his two older sisters would be taken out of the home and tossed around the foster care system.
A system that my friend herself endured as a child, and to this day bears the wounds of abuse within it. She just could not do that to them.
Weeks passed by with him living in her home, hiding him, being a refuge for him from the wrath of his stepfather, and those weeks rolled into the school year starting. She worried and fretted because wasn’t a legal guardian and couldn’t enroll him in school. But she prayed. And she cried out to God to work in this situation. Miraculously, that boy’s grandmother, showed up out of nowhere and agreed to take him and enroll him in school . A beacon of light for this hurting boy, whose hurt and crying out for help has come in the form of behavior that has kicked him out of four different school. Will that grandma have what it takes to help this eleven year old boy overcome the ripping apart that happens in a child’s heart when his mother abandons him for her drugs, and a stepfather left to raise him beats him?
THESE are the questions my friend battles with…on top of her own financial struggles, on top of raising numerous children in a violence-ridden city, on top of not having a local soul to help her, pray for her, encourage her, because where she lives…she’s the most stable one around.
And if all that weren’t enough, towards the end of the conversations she says,
“Miss Kimberly*, I know you are going through alot, and I hate to tell you this…but I need you to pray…..
….last night a fourteen year old got shot and killed in Rosie’s (a housing projects two blocks from our old home). I haven’t found out who it was yet…after I saw it on the news, I started calling around but I still haven’t found out who it was…it might have been one of our kids**”
*She still calls me Miss Kimberly from when I started teaching her daughter’s Sunday School class those 8 years ago.
**”OUR kids” means one of the kids who was part of Safe Haven
A child. got shot. and killed.
And I’m worried about toxic black mold.
Daniel’s heart-wrenching story started flooding all over me again. All the thoughts and emotions, and tears and grief I experienced two years ago over his death, they surfaced like it had happened yesterday.
And my heart goes into a panic, and I feel like a caged animal. Longing for a city, a people so dark and broken. Longing to be THERE. Longing to DO something. Longing to simply show up in that place, to at least be a tiny light for kids who have nothing, kids who get beaten by grown men, kids who have mothers so hurt by the abuse they themselves experienced that they can only live for the numbing affects of their heroine addiction. I feel trapped. trapped here in the comforts of the suburbs, in the mess of dealing with mold and moving in, and school schedules and housework.
Something must be done.
Those gates of hell, must be stormed.
The darkness must be penetrated.
Penetrated, not with a financial gift, or a handout, or a soup kitchen,
but penatrated with the Power of the LIVING CHRIST, whose precious blood has already been spilled to break those kids, those abusive dads, those heroine-using moms free from the power of sin.
and the LIVING CHRIST shows up in that neighborhood through his Body.
Who will go?