There are seasons of learning of God, learning what lies in the depths of our hearts, and seemingly being "hung out to dry". This summer has been one such season; with spurts of hope in between each crisis.
We now have (temporarily, probably permanantly) a new addition to our family; a 13 year old girl who has been abandoned by both mother and father, and most recently her Aunt. This child came with an 8 year old girl who is a former neighbor of ours when we lived in North Carolina. Both exibit scars of a homelife that is surrounded by trouble, instability and uncertainty.
The mother of the 8 year old, who is also the Aunt of the 13 year old reportedly stays out into the lateness of the night, brings strangers into the home, as the two girls have no place to sleep but on the floor in the same room as a 15 year old boy. The 13 year old has written things that have happened in the home that made the hair stand up on the back of my neck; guns brought into the home, drug parties, and lice infestation and animal feces scattered throughout the house.
When the Spring and Summer break of 2009 started, I tried to prepare myself mentally for a house full of kids; up to 7 at a time! We have a small swimming pool, televisions and games in each room and always healthy food and snacks on our table. I have prayed since our home was built that it would be a place of peace and refuge for those who entered our doors. I had no idea that God would answer that prayer! I was thinking that our home would be a place of refuge for my wife and myself after going out into the world to earn a living; I had no idea that God had other things in mind.
I have a child of my own; a 31 year old son who has done quite well for himself; he has his engineering degree from Villinova, a good job close to his home, and he represents in my mind the atributes that made this nation the success it has been in the past. God has blessed both him and my wife and I.
I have been thinking recently of some passages of Scripture regarding the poor and needy; a special people in the eyes of God. Psalm 72:13 says, " He shall spare the poor and needy, and shall save the souls of the needy..." Isaiah 14:30 gives a picture of the poor that shall feed and lie down in safety...
Proverbs 31:20 speaks of women of God who stretch out their hand to the poor; she reaches out her hand to the needy...
As this situation began to develope I immediately thought of the cost, trouble, time and energy of having a 13 year old girl introduced into our home; a child with severe childhood diabetes. Her sugar count goes from the low 60's to 4 and 5oo with the bat of an eye. During Spring Break she was rushed to an emergency room near Washington, D.C., with my wife riding in the ambulance with her as we both wondered if she was going to survive her sugar count that was over 600 at the time. She was on the verge of a coma, we could not awaken her.
The "Randy" in me shouted WHO NEEDS THIS! I have already done my time at parenting - this is not my child - who is going to come and get this child and take care of her? I looked in the mirror and realized I was looking at the person I was looking for! This little girl's mother is on the run from the authorities down south; her father has fathered 9 other children that are scattered across the nation and he is also being sought for back child support. He has no fixed address. The Aunt with whom the child was staying came up this past Monday to pick up her the other little girl who spent the summer with us. She and a lady she brought with her wanted to come into our home and "get physical" with the 13 year old. I stood guard in our driveway and told them both that our home is a place of peace; not violence and shouting. We stood in the driveway for over an hour as they tried to convince me to let them in. They did carry the little girls suitcases out of the home and ignored the 13 year old, my wife and the other neices that were in our home. As they were shouting, I was praying.
The arrogance of these two women amazed and astounded me. I could not believe my eyes or ears. My natural man was thinking that we have fed their two children all summer and not even a .99 cent bag of potato chips was offered by them! Not one dollar or nickle. I looked at my wife on one or two occasions and said, "here's another fine mess you got me into, Ollie...! (from the old Loral and Hardy show)
A question: If not us, Who?
If not now, When?
Where does a 13 year old child whose mother and father and Aunt have abandoned, whose Grandmother died while she was living with her, whose other Aunt and Uncle with whom she was living divorced and made her leave, and who was, until last week, crying that she did not want to go back to a home of violence, abuse and filth?
I have felt like Jeremiah over the summer; the mood swings from one verse to the next in this passage convinces me that what I have gone through both physically and more importantly spiritually is normal for a Believer. I know that God is in control; no matter how uncertain things presently are. The passage in Jeremiah I speak of in found in chapter 20: 11-15 -notice his "mood swings in just 5 verses -
" But the LORD is with me as a mighty terrible one;
therefore my persecutors shall stumble, and they shall not prevail;
they shall be greatly ashamed; they shall not prosper;
their everlasting confusion shall never be forgotten. "
" But O LORD of Hosts,
that triest the righteous,
and seest the reins of the heart,
let me see Thy vengence on them;
for unto Thee have I opened my cause."
" Sing unto the LORD,
praise ye the LORD;
for He hath delivered the soul of the poor from the hand of evildoers."
NOTICE THE CHANGE
" Cursed be the day wherein I was born;
let not the day wherein my mother bare me be blessed.
Cursed be the man who brought tidings to my father, saying,
A man child is born unto thee;
making him very glad....."
I have always had difficulty understanding some of these things in Scripture; I have asked God for understanding. I AM FINDING OUT. God is a revealer of what is hidden deep within my heart, and it is not pretty most of the time.
When, in the natural I should be preparing for retirement and a nest egg, I live from paycheck to paycheck as I deal with these additional expenses and continue to pay for mistakes I have made; not moral mistakes but financial decisions in past years. God is teaching me what is more important about this life; an eternal soul created by Him who is among the poor and needy with absoultely no place to go.
Even during her serious illness issues, her Aunt went back to North Carolina and immediately put a block on the perscriptions this little 13 year old needs to stay healthy. We have been burning the candle here at both ends making emergency telephone calls, trying to set up appointments with Child Protective Services here in WV, speaking with the School officials and getting her shots and such so she can start school here on Wednesday.
God has been reminding me of a verse that says that in the last of days men will cast their gold and silver into the streets because it will be worthless in His time of judgment. My retirement plans are taking a beating, my goal of being "self sufficient" in my older years is a dream that went up in smoke, and I am not ashamed to say that I have my next payday circled on the calendar on my desk!!!
God provides, God hears, God cares and God cares for the poor and needy.
In closing, as the children that have come into our home say on occasion -
" To H - E - Double - Hockey - Sticks' with retirement plans! There is more important work to be done here!