The family has endured significant horrors. Kelly and I have alternately celebrated and mourned with the momma and her 3 daughters. One has overcome and is living life well as an adult. Another was a victim of awful human crimes and was removed from the household. She seems to be prospering.
The last daughter was taken at birth by Child Services.
The dear mom has been walking wounded since we met her. Broken relationships, poverty, addictions and a host of other demons we don't have names for, have seemed to rule her life. She mourned the loss of the last daughter deeply. It was so painful to witness her sorrow. She seemed to sink deeper into an active anguish. She was a mother with no children in her life.
God had a plan to redeem and restore. Today was a big day in that process. It was not the last day. But, it was a very significant day. Kelly and I watched it unfold from a distance. We gasped to see Jesus intervening. I am not exaggerating here. When we got the texts and photos and heard the reports we each uttered involuntary utterances. Perhaps that is the heavenly language; audible but unintelligible expressions of wonder?
How to explain? First, in God's plan, this last little girl was removed from a sure path of pain and placed in an incredible family we know. We had no idea they were looking to add to their brood until we heard they were about to formally adopt this very young child. There were safety concerns for all involved and we kept their identity, location and plans very quiet. The baby's birth father had made some threatening comments to the adoptive father, for example.
We often get to see her life as a beloved daughter in Facebook posts. With permission, we have shared a few photos and news of her life with her mom and big sister. Mom always devolves into tears when we speak of this.
A few days ago, the adoptive father texted to say they felt the girl should meet her birth mom and asked that we set up a meeting at Mosaic. Even by mid morning today, we were not sure how to find the mother. We had many of our guests looking for her to tell her of the Mother & Child reunion planned for her. The oldest sister readily accepted an invitation and had a joyous time with her long-lost sibling.
While Kelly and I visited with our own new born granddaughter, the texts and photos started pouring in. Not only did someone find the mother, she showed up looking better than I have ever seen her. We saw the joy and smiles of the momma seeing the child for the first time in years. She was no longer viewing a photo from Facebook, she was seeing her own flesh and blood. Here was the child she choose to keep rather than terminate. Today was the pay-off for all the misery of the relationship with the baby daddy.
We were overwhelmed with gratitude.
But, then we received one more photo that broke our emotions and yielded the gasps of glee. There on my phone was a photo of a 5 year old girl (removed from a mother deemed a hazard to her) actually praying a blessing on that very mother.
I know there are many scoffers out there. We live in a fallen, bitter and cynical world. But, the sight of this child interceding with the Giver of all good gifts for the woman who gave her life strengthens my faith and produces only worship.
I have cropped out the faces of the participants in today's blessing. But, the praying hands are evocative enough. PLEASE DO NOT MENTION ANY NAMES OF THOSE INVOLVED IF YOU COMMENT HERE. ...
Some days in ministry are filled with blessings. Today was one of those. One of our moms fled a dangerous domestic situation for a shelter. They’ve been sleeping on air mattresses for months. Donors got her 2 used and One new bed. We learned today that she had been praying and trusting God for beds. ...
(But, now we doubt Kelly Kaiser will ever step into this playground!)On the playground yesterday, a preschooler in Miss Shelly's class found a snake! A parent at the time was picking up their child and provided a jar for the snake and started to talk to the class a little about the creature they discovered. They took the jar with the snake inside then to observe it, draw it, talk about it, etc. They figured out it was a baby gardener snake and that he is, in fact, a wild animal. The class has been discussing whether or not it is safe to keep, or if it should be let go in the wild; if it is safe to hold, or if it has teeth that could bite... It truly is amazing how much one can learn from the simple things they discover from just being in nature. ...
We are now up to 3 classes with new parents taking the intro class and previous grads going into either Getting Ahead or the Grad class. This session, the grads will focus on Reactions to Mayhem:
During this 10 week period we will focus on addressing our reactions to the situations we face. We will be looking at how our brains and, therefore, bodies respond to life's circumstances and begin the process of wiring our brains for successful interactions with others. This class will focus on the way we react to our children, spouses/partners, friends and family. We will be talking about brain development for our kids and effective strategies for working through emotionally charged interactions.
This Managing Mayhem series comes from the Conscious Discipline program developed by Becky Bailey which is a social-emotional intelligence program that helps children and adults learn to respond to life's circumstances instead of react. It helps us learn to use the part of our brain that regulates emotion, controls impulsive behaviors, allows us to set and obtain goals and maintain long-term relationships.