Remember When I Said [Chapter 3]

Well, Good Morning Hot Mess, how did you sleep? Uh, medicated!

What an emotional day yesterday! As we dig in deeper relationship with the girls, I discover what a broken world we all live in. I know more and more, with absolute truth, we are all one bad decision away from devastating consequence. But what I find to be so amazing is that they are teaching me more and more about life and living in community with one another.

I’m learning that there is no way to “plan” for the unknown. Our team has never done anything like this and we had no idea what to expect. And it’s nearly impossible to enter into the unknown with ZERO expectancy. It is a pretty profound parallel to life. We attempt to plan and plan and don’t allow any room for flexibility and spontaneity. Let alone any place in our schedules for God to work in our life. Ok God, you have my attention, I’m cool with stretching my heart, but please don’t break it open any further…

Many of the girls enter the ‘big room’ with sleepy, groggy faces rubbing their eyes. The sleepy-bears quickly light up to inform us they stayed up until 1am coloring in their bibles; coloring in the pages of God’s Word. I’ll admit, I was humbled and convicted a little bit. I don’t take nearly enough time to get into my bible, I’m coloring my own world and then asking God to bless it after the fact. OUCH, my toes.

We have another crafty project for them today and I’ll be the first to admit, I wasn’t so sure how these would go over. Again, here’s me, driving my own ideas into something I know nothing about. The girls will modge-podge onto heart shaped ‘hatboxes’.  This is something that their broken-child heart’s need, crave. This leads me to wonder, what does my broken-child heart still crave?

I know for a fact, I need to share my experience yesterday with Baby Lee’s mama. I know I’ll be an incoherent blubbering idiot, but I think it’s only right to share. She is so calm and open to this googley-mess of a woman spilling her heart and guts out. Her eyes show empathy and concern and her tender voice says ‘thank you for sharing that with me. My husband died in October and never met his son. I see his face in our son’s and it brings me comfort. I’m glad Lee was the gift for both of us.”
[Insert overly-dramatic music rippled with snot-flinging-ugly-crying….]

A couple of the team members have already given insightful messages. I am in awe of the way each one of us has a connection here, a purpose to connect. A team-member who has suffered the loss of children instantly connected to 2 women who had stillbirths and were still struggling with anger toward everyone, themselves and quite possibly, God. A team-member has connected to a precious African-American mama and her darling baby. Her heart is in ministry in Africa and returning there soon. Another team-mate leads worship in a local church. Her heart sings in songs to the Lord and she has brought her guitar to share with all. The twin baby boys love the music and are drawn to her like the Pied Piper; even when she is not playing, they are banging on her guitar case for more. A mama is drawn to it as well, she makes the statement of how much she wanted to learn to play. My pal says “no time like the present”!  Lil’Mama is a quick learner! Before long, she is actually playing a SONG! I have a photo of the mama playing the guitar with my pal shepherding over her with the baby on her hip. It’s worth a zillion words!!! Beautiful connections, riddled with heartache, loss, hope, joy and faith.
[Federal law prohibits us from sharing any photos of mamas or babies online]

Ok, Lord, so why am I here? I’m such a casserole of hot-mess-ness, I’m not sure where to begin. As I contemplate and ask God to show me what He wants me to share, the program director comes in and asks if ‘the room’ would mind taking 10 minutes to watch a video. Naturally, I’m thinking it a safety or policy video. But NOOOOOOO, it is a picture slideshow, set to music, of a day the girls and babies had the opportunity to go to the same retreat center where we are staying. There was a power outage at the facility and they were not able to stay. This gave them a day in the sunshine to hang out like girlfriends at the park with their kids. I’m instantly crying, thinking what a beautiful lesson they are teaching me about community, taking care of each other, protecting each other, standing in the gap when needed and then song number 2!!! Three notes in, I turn to the program director and ask her if she is trying to kill me!? She asks, “You know this song?”

[Insert round 2 of snot-flinging-ugly-crying]

The song is Find Your Wings by Mark Harris. Some of the lyrics:

‘I pray that God would fill your heart with dreams
And faith gives you the courage to dare to do great things
I’m here for you whatever this life brings
So let my love give you roots
And help you find your wings”

Ohhhhhhh God, you are a funny one! I didn’t realize You are a master of irony! Here’s the thing, that song, the very one used in the picture slideshow, is the SAME one I used when making a picture slideshow for my elder son’s wedding, nine years ago!!! Filled with photos of the bride and groom as children, with loved ones now gone, with people who used to love one another in happier times. I.AM.BROKEN. I am living in a season where my kids are angry with me and not speaking to me. The message revealed yesterday in Baby Lee is being solidified today. The images, in my slideshow, of small children in happier times, has gone away. The family, as it was, is no longer. And a different slideshow is overlapping the former, pictures morphing into purpose. I parented the child, but he’s now an adult to make his own decisions for what he feels is best for his family. Just as I ultimately had to do. I cannot control or change their decisions, but I can accept them and love them from a distance. I can pray for their health and safety and still retain my peace. I see before me, women who were once in crisis, giving me the greatest teaching ever; one that I have written about, glittered t-shirts about, and only NOW fully get what I was talking about….beautifully broken. It’s in my brokenness that I can surrender, it’s in my brokenness that I can put the pieces together to form a new mosaic, it’s in my brokenness that I am truly transparent and authentic.

And just as God, the Master of Irony, would do…. I have to give my message after this!!! But I understand so differently now, I had to be splintered so that I can share My Truth with the girls. Raw, gritty, honest and without f-words because there is no profanity allowed in the facility. So God, You’re going to have to fill me with words because You know how I roll. My original notes were to teach on John 8:1-11; the woman caught in the act of adultery*. (Irony again God) It’s very likely the woman, caught IN THE ACT, was standing naked before a circle of her accusers. I am pretty sure that I included that in my message, but it’s honestly kind of blurry.

So there I am, sitting naked and broken in front of a circle of women, who have been accused, convicted and sentenced and are expecting something really deep. Here’s what you get girls, my brokenness, my hurts, my truth and the words God wants you to hear. My feelings of defeat and honest emotions. The words of forgiveness, second chances without judgement, taking away the power of the rocks of accusation and love, always love.


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