The days always start the same but never end the same. Each night when I am finally able to drag my worn out bones into the unmade bed I feel different–sometimes more encouraged, sometimes more wise, mostly more weary.
Today started as it normally does. The 6:30 alarm goes off way too early and I am surprised it’s already time to wake up. I stand up and hear all my leg bones pop and crack and I wince at the pain in my back. This crazy life is not only wearing on my emotions. Obviously.
Soon after that early alarm, we are all five out the door. Early morning meetings are followed by trading out kids so we can each make our different appointments. The clock in the mini-van reads 8:49am as I drop off the baby with Grant. When I got Adah out I heard a strange noise in the door and we now find ourselves standing and staring at an automatic-shutting door that has just breathed its last. Grant pulls on the handle and tries different ways to shut it as I jump in the other car to head off to Spanish class, leaving him there with a baby, a broken van, and an apology that I can’t stay and help.
Spanish class is good for my heart but I’m still unsure that I am capable of fitting another sliver of information in my saggy, soggy brain. I press on anyways and pray that God will use just a piece of what I am learning to further my relationship with a neighbor.
I say adiós at 10:30 and I drive to The Connection for a meeting with someone I don’t know. She heard about the ministry and wanted to find out how her family and church could get involved. Our views lined up so closely that I was sure she was sent as an answer to a prayer that we have prayed for months.
At 2:30 our weekly ministry team meeting was full of hard questions and even harder answers, as we gathered around picnic tables seeking God’s plans for the ministry. It is a joy to work with my teammates and to watch God weave our strengths and weaknesses together to make a beautiful instrument He is using to reach our neighbors.
Rushing away from the meeting, we all loaded up in our cars and headed to Homework Helpers. We buckled in our six red-faced, dirty-footed kids who had been playing in the sun while their parents worked through a meeting agenda. When we arrived at The Connection with five minutes to spare, book bags were already strewn on the porch. It’s a good thing I can multi-task because while I’m unlocking the door I’m bombarded with questions about what’s for snack, why is it so hot, and can they have a basketball.
I strategically chose my seat on the floor to help kids with their math and to have quick access to Adah as she crawls all around at everyone’s feet. From my view I could see the door and I saw a girl walking up with tears in her eyes. She said there were people in her house, they were drunk and arguing, she didn’t know them, and they wouldn’t get out. Could we help her? Grant and Jason leave to help as me and Nancy stand on the porch whispering a quick prayer through tears. Lord, keep our men safe. We don’t know what they are walking into, but PLEASE protect them.
We finished up homework a little later and breathed a sigh of relief that our men showed up safely back to their waiting, worrying wives. I shook my head in disbelief as Grant shared what was going on in that trailer. Even after living here for three years, the sins still take us aback.
And later back at home, as I change Adah’s diaper, a tear falls from my eyes onto her soft, sweet skin. I wipe it away and she giggles. Moments before, I heard Grant’s car pull up and looked out to see him talking with someone in our yard. Someone we had prayed for earlier today–crying for The Lord to work in his situation. And now he, too, was crying out in our yard. He just got back from court and came to share the news. Our prayers weren’t answered in the way we hoped and he will likely not see his little boy again. He fought for him the best way he knew how, but it wasn’t good enough. I watched for a moment through the blinds as he paced back and forth, punching his fist in the air. He bit his lip as tears streamed down his face. His large frame could hardly hold him up with all the emotion that weighed so heavy on him.
I shut the blinds so I couldn’t see anymore. It was enough. My heart was done for the day. Meetings and prayers and planning and decisions and pleas and fears and new relationships and physical aches and broken people–it was enough for one day.
So I drag my worn-out bones into the unmade bed again for another night. I pray with Grant that we will be wiser and that God will show us the way. We can’t do this without Him. We can’t run like this without His love and His grace and His answers to our cries. Maybe tomorrow will be a day of more rejoicing and less heartache. Maybe not. But tonight we rest in knowing that His mercies are new every morning and His faithfulness is so very great.