Thursday, May 27, 2010


Over the past week, I've realized how easy it is to get caught up in the excitement and in the game. The game of getting my job done, the game of increasing numbers, the game of getting us up to speed. Working under a grant can be like that-to continue with our program, there are certain goals we have to meet. We have to have a certain number of matches. And on one level, it's good for me. It pushes me. It gives me goals to work towards. However, within that there are times that it is easy to lose sight of the purpose: the individuals. We forget that within the numbers of kids we work with are stories. Stories of hurt. Stories of abandonment. Stories of confusion. Stories of loss.

Of course, in the midst of this, one of my jobs is to meet kids and their families. I think it's easy to become numb to the pain of the stories I hear. To forget to weep for the pain of the kids I meet. This week, I realized that I don't want that to happen. The pain I encounter should make me sad and angry. And the pain should move me.

I started praying this week a prayer that I have prayed before. I prayed that God would break my heart for the kids I work with.

And that happened this week.

Without going into too much detail, I was made aware of a family and of children in a situation that children should simply not be in. Promises broken, innocence taken. My heart was deeply saddened for these kids. And I thought about kids I saw in family court a couple of days ago. Girls who cannot live in their homes because their behavior is out of control. Girls who want to belong, but do not know how to make good decisions for a variety of reasons. At the end of the day, I can see the brokenness. I can see the pain. However, these kids try to mask it by trying to be much more adult than they actually are. And then they end up in court, ordered to live away from family because living at home isn't working for them.

I don't know the answer, but i do know that we are called to love the broken. We are called, as God's people, to care for the orphans. We are called to show what true love is.

Monday, May 17, 2010

The Prodigal God

I'm back. I would like to say that I will promise to write more here. Not necessarily for the benefit of anyone else (because I'm not sure that many read this), but more so for the benefit of myself. I used to really enjoy writing. I had things to say. I would like to still believe that I have things to say. But i digress. This will not be another useless post about how horrible it is that I haven't written in a long time.

What will this be about, you ask? I'm not sure yet. I could go in many directions. One direction might be my job. I'm the match specialist for a mentoring program for kids affected by incarceration. There are many, many stories there. Lots of heartache. Lots of pain. Frustration. Lots of "what is wrong with the world?" moments. There are also moments of joy, hope, redemption. That might be the easy post, because it's what i live with every day. However, I feel the need to get away from the job for the night. Don't get my wrong...loving what I am doing. It's an awesome job, and perfect for me. It's where I am supposed to be.

I'm thinking about contentment these days. I am not now, nor have i ever been, a content person. This really, really bothers me. It bothers me because I long to live in peace with myself, with God, with others. I long to be the kind of person who can not only live in peace, but can also offer peace to others. However, it's hard to live in peace if one is not content. Why am I not content? I have most of the things I desire. I have friends who I love and who love me deeply. I have a job that is rewarding and fulfilling, and work amongst incredibly encouraging co-workers. My needs are met. I am loved. Yet something I have realized in myself a tendency towards the cynical...always anticipating the next difficult circumstance.

However, I have been reminded recently to just rest. Rest in who God is. Rest in who God created me to be. Rest in the joy of where God has brought me. When I was in Kindergarten, we had an award for the "best rester" at naptime. I rarely won that coveted blue ribbon. I was always squirming, moving, talking, giggling. Not much has changed. I am still struggling to understand how to rest.

But perhaps this is a struggle that we all face. If we were all able to truly rest in who God made us to be, we wouldn't fight against God by giving into temptation. We wouldn't fight against God by running to money and possessions for our security. We wouldn't fight against God by needing others to assure us of our worth. We wouldn't fight against God by trying to be perfect. If we are truly at rest with the Father, it seems as though we might also be at peace. And does this peace lead to trust? Or does trust lead to peace?

I am reading a FANTASTIC book right now, called The Prodigal God. The author claims that the story we typically know of as "the prodigal son" should really be called "the two lost sons." Prodigal means 'reckless spendthrift.' God spends all that He has on us, so the Father in the story is actually the prodigal, pouring himself onto his sons. Both of the sons are equally lost, each trying to find their own way in this world, instead of resting in the blessings of their father (the older son uses his morality and tradition, the younger uses self exploration). Both fight against the father, and don't understand what it means to rest.

The reality, however, is that we are loved unconditionally by God. He desires to bestow all that He has on us. We don't need to fight to receive the inheritance of the Father; it's there for the taking. I realize how simple and perhaps juvenile this sounds, but a statement that can be difficult to live in to.

As St. Augustine said, "Our heart is restless until it rests in You."