In His Hands:
Scared, lonely, alone. She lived on the streets at age16 with her precious, 14 month old baby boy- her only treasure in the world. As a child herself, my mother longed for safety and love.
She had been her mother’s delight- red curls and blue eyes- just what her mama had prayed for- knowing that this would be her last child. Her mama died of kidney failure when mom was two years old leaving her and her 6 year old sister in the hands of a weak, broken hearted and angry father. He remarried within months to a tormented young woman who beat the children with a chain in fits of rage until they bled
Seeking love and safety, she eloped at the age of 14 and became a new mother at 15- alone on the streets, frightened, cast out and protective of her beloved infant son, David- (which means “beloved.”) One full year she spent alone like that.
Finally, in desperation she dared to go home.
She begged for her parents to take them in. Her toddler son was hungry and so was she.
Cruel anger and resentment seeped out from her parents’ hardened hearts. In cold, harsh silence, marked with bruising words of condemnation, her father drove her and her little son deep into the darkest part of Indianapolis and dropped them off on the streets in front of an inner city mission for the homeless, further crushing her already shattered heart.
Hope Shines bright in darkness
An elderly couple, the Hunts, ran Wheeler Mission with love and embraced her as their own. Her new “siblings” consisted of homeless men, addicts, teen girls and several mentally disabled jewels. It was in that bright, tiny mission on a dark street, where she learned of a love that embraced. The night she was dropped off, Mr. Hunt made her a bed on a pew next to him where he was preaching a service to the residents. They kept her and her son cherished and close, continually as she grieved. Seeds of unconditional love were planted into her hungry soul and began to slowly changed her 16 year old shattered heart into a treasured vessel filled up and spilling over with life. The Hunts and their broken “family” provided mom with a year of healing, tears and buckets of laughter as memories were made together and her life was filled with redemption and purpose.
Life is rippingly cruel.
While hope was found just in time at Wheeler mission, her heart’s greatest shattering occurred there. It was there, at Wheeler Mission, out of TRUE LOVE- love that lays its life down- love that puts the need of a child first- the love of a hero, that she decided to place her treasured, beloved, son for whom she would have given her life, into the arms of another mother. Her son was her truest love and the only consistent love she had ever experienced. She gave her son up for adoption to a family she believed would be able to provide stability and safety she was unable to give as her shattered heart healed. (Sixty years later, Wheeler Mission continues to take in broken hearts. Since then, a program has been started there that assists girl’s in parenting their children as they heal.)
Eleven years later, mom met a wild red- headed farm boy. Within months, they were married. I was born to her and my father as a very ill, premature baby. The diagnosis was “Hydrocephalus- late stage”- more commonly called “Water on the Brain.” The prognosis was severe mental retardation or even death. For the next three months, her infant child remained in the NICU- She was not permitted to hold her child one time during that painful season. Her days were spent in a little chair outside of the nursery with tears as she watched her baby in an incubator through the glass window. In desperation and fear of loosing another child, she called Mr Hunt and they prayed together over the phone. Surgery had been scheduled to insert a shunt into my head to drain excess water and relieve pressure on the brain. The next morning the surgeon came prep me for surgery, he was surprised to find no signs of hydrocephalus. My medical record at Cedar Sinai Hospital in Los Angeles, CA states, “No surgery due to prayer.”
Why? I do not know why God chose to heal me or why He allowed mom to have a cruel childhood. It is incomprehensible as to why our Loving Heavenly Father allowed her to experience- for her son- a shattered heart in order to provide her baby boy with the best home she felt he could have. As I grew up, I witnessed the residual fear she had over my well being, until God lovingly showed her that I had been in His Hands and always would be. I also witnessed the healing of years of grief over her son she had placed for adoption as God showed her that he too was in His Hands. My mother now says, like Joseph in Genesis 45 and Paul in Romans 8:28 “What the enemy meant for evil, God has meant for good!” Because of her scars and God’s love, she has been His source of hope, healing and comfort to many hurting women due to the pain He has redeemed her from. Women all over the world have been shown love and given hope because of the humble and encouraging love that shines out from her redeemed scars.
My prayer is that others find comfort in the fact that God does have their child in His Hands. He is the one who formed your child’s body and knew your child’s days and purpose before conception (Psalm 139:13-16.) You can come to Him with your unbearable burden, whatever your circumstances. Whether your child is struggling for life, emotionally pained, or perhaps out of your reach due to divorce, rebellion, adoption, separation, miscarriage, death or abortion- or waiting in an orphanage or foster home, God has your child in His strong right hand. Whatever the circumstance, bring to him your tears, fears and concerns. If you have feelings of anger, or feelings of guilt, bring those to Him too. Remember Romans Chapter 8 where we are reminded that nothing can separate you from His love! He desires to forgive, comfort, strengthen and heal you during this time. I pray that you will hear His voice of comfort speaking to you. You and your child are each precious to Him. I pray you will find comfort as you remember that your child is in His hands.
You are free to follow Him as He holds your child in His mighty, safe and loving arms.
Isaiah 40:11 “like a shepherd, he will tend His flock. In His arms He will gather the lambs and carry them in His bosom; He will gently lead their mothers.”
In His Hands:
In 1999 at mom’s request, I drew this sketch. I was working social worker at that time and regularly saw darkest suffering. The picture of a tiny child in God’s hands was drawn with mom’s story in mind, but I was also thinking of the many birthmothers that I worked with and many parents who have lost their children for countless reasons. In 2010 until December 2012 as we waited for Sierra and then Alyssa to be adopted out of what seemed to be harms way, this picture brought me so much comfort. I HAD to remember that ULTIMATELY, they are in HIS hands. Our babies, Sierra and Alyssa, now each look at this picture and say “that’s me!”
I WANT TO BE A “HUNT”
Though they have been in heaven for years already, I want to express my gratefulness to God for the Hunts and many others like them who love the unlovely without seeing any reward. 60 years ago, this aged couple chose to take in and love a desperate, energetic, hurting, angry and challenging teen- my mom. Her brokenness was deep and it would be years before she truly would evidence the change God brought into her. They dared to love “the least of these” and never really knew- in this life- if they made a difference. Well, they did. Mom raised us knowing and loving the Shepherd who forgives. She has 9 grandchildren (so far)- all are being raised in homes that adore her Redeemer- the One who breathes purpose into our cracks. Her youngest four grandchildren are brilliant gifts to her through adoption- because of the seeds of love planted into her heart that have been passed down. I have watched countless women and men- lost and broken- turn to Jesus through Mom’s love. As I often struggle to love while wondering if the pain is in in vain, I remember the Hunts. Even in their old age, they dared to love one more hurting, wayward, challenging girl.