The power in our listening
It might be crazy to say but some of my most beautiful moments during my experience with New Hope thus far have been when I get to see girls be their most vulnerable selves... Normally we try so very hard to hide our brokenness, our fear, our anxiety and disappointment. I see it every day, girls reaching for masks in order to show the world that the can "handle it," that what they're fighting really isn't "that bad," and they don't need to address what is "really going on inside." But really, we know the truth... None of us can truly handle anything alone... We are truly useless by ourselves no matter how difficult it can be to finally arrive at this conclusion. So when I see them cry, soften, and actually FEEL, I realize that there is true healing happening before my eyes.
So that's what happened the other night. One of our girls fled about a week ago. She had had enough. She was "done" with New Hope. I didn't see her go, only heard stories, and that's what made it all the more harder for me because I wasn't there. So I just began praying and believing that she would come back. There was continued talk, possibilities of her coming back or while others would say that she had left for good... but I truly didn't know what would take place.
Until a few nights ago when I was upstairs with a group of girls getting ready for bed. We were relaxed, listening to music, winding down for the night, but, then we began to hear someone knocking on the door... And of course in an instant my group of littles ones ran downstairs to see who had just arrived.
They began saying her name... The one who had run away... They began shouting, announcing her return. And I waited. I asked the Lord what to do. When the girls returned I decided it was my turn to go look for her.
And there she was... In the front room... Curled up in a ball, head squished between her knees, and as I continued to approach I heard faint, muffled sounds of a little girl who was trying to hide her tears of vulnerability. When I approached I didn't say anything, I just came down to her and wrapped my arms around this little ball of tears. I felt her body shaking and I knew I couldn't let her go... Not now... Not when she needed someone most.
And I didn't try to stop her crying... I wanted it to continue.... I wanted her to continue to feel, to process, to let it ALL out no matter how ugly, sad, pitiful, broken... It wasn't my mess to clean up... And God was in the midst of us, I could feel Him.
I began to ask her what made her come back, or rather who. And with my few little questions here and there, she began to tell her story through the tears that continued to flow. And I realized in that moment I was given the privilege to listen.
This story reminds me of the one in the Bible where Jesus is in a crowd of people with his disciples on his way to go and meet someone, to do a miracle and heal a little girl, but while He was on his way something else grabbed His attention. It was the bleeding woman, the one who reached out and touched His cloak without Him seeing. Before she reached out she believed Him for healing, that if only she could just touch the cloth of his garment she would be healed. And Jesus immediately knew something went out from Him... That his power had been released over someone in the crowd. He turned His attention on her, and there is a version of this story where it says that Jesus directly asked her what had happened to her, and she then it says that the woman turned to him and told Him, "her whole story."
Now I don't know exactly what story it was that she told. It could have been just her disease, or how she came and found Him and knew he would be able to heal her... But what is most beautiful to me is that He listened.
Sometimes God gives us the space, the opportunity, the privilege to be the listener that He is, to be part of the healing process that He is working together. I found myself with this girl, in the midst of her struggles, in the midst of her pain and cries. I held her as if I was holding a daughter, I prayed for her as I would pray for myself in my most desperate moments of suffering and confusion. I made sure she ate and went to bed with a full stomach as I am sure she had been missing when she had been outside of our care. I believed God for victory over her current situation and for her future. She let me in, because God let me in, and I realize that standing in the gap for these girls is the most beautiful position I could ever be blessed with.
Please join us in prayer for this girl who is in the middle of a very fierce storm. We are continuing to commit her into the Father's hands.