She stands in my kitchen, asking for money for gas.
She speaks of Victoria’s Secret spray perfume wasted on her motel mirror by a child who was trying to clean the mirror. She laughs, and her words stumble over themselves and slide together in a drugged sort of way. She tries to give me a piece of the cake that she bought for her youngest’s birthday to the tune of 38+ dollars or at least a cupcake from the ones that she bought for the girls for theirs for fourteen.
I feel sick.
Her children have new shoes. The sparkly eye shadow circles her eyes and the tattoos peek from neckline and sleeves while the piercings, some so new I don’t remember them glitter in my kitchen’s bright light. She left her car running for almost a half an hour while she tried to get gas money, and talked of other things. I knew that there was something more on her mind.
“If I meet you part ways can the kids go back to Sunday School?” she says suddenly. “Where could I meet you to bring them? I’d like the kids to get back in church.”
I puzzle over this momentarily, but then name a place where she could meet us if she wants them to go. I wonder again what it is that she really wants, but even though she hesitates on her way out like she almost has to say something else, she collects her two youngest ones and heads out.
Today she calls again, asking for my husband’s number. I ponder asking “why?” but decide I don’t want to know. I call him and warn him.
Yes. She did need something else.
Homeless since April, living in first one motel and then another, she has reached the end of resources. The family is about to be put out onto the street. The only way she can stay is if she comes up with $400.00. She cries so hard he cannot understand her and so her live-in comes on the phone and explains the situation.
My husband’s heart is full of compassion for people. He has tried so hard to help this family, and I hear his pain as he says, “I can only help this much. If it is not enough, then it will have to just be that way.” He is speaking to the person at the desk of their motel. “It seems like they are buying what they want and begging for what they need and I cannot go on. This is the last time that I will help them.” There has been a lot of church money that we’ve given as well as pouring incredible amounts of our personal resources into this family. My husband has reached the end. I’ve known this was coming.
And I am glad.
Even when I write that, I feel guilty. On one hand. On the other, I am (just a little bit) excited to see what it is that God is going to do next in this situation. I am so depleted that I cannot imagine anything good coming out of this. But Jesus said that He can do the impossible.
I don’t even know what that looks like in this situation.
“Oh, Lord Jesus! Once again, hold the little ones in your great love and may you accomplish your plan in their lives. I do believe that you have a plan. But oh! This hurts!”