Thursday, January 26, 2012

Fighting for them

Two nights ago, Adam made a run to the grocery store because we needed some essentials. Like formula, ice cream and sour patch kids. Our fall from the sugar-free wagon is fodder for an entirely different post. Unfortunately, Adam neglected to bring along his wallet, and he ended up running home to get it and then heading back to the store (we really needed the formula). When he stopped in at home, I told him I had heard a single gun-shot that sounded really close by. Like made-me-jump-and-woke-Caden-up close by. Fifteen minutes later, he burst in the door, quickly measuring and shaking up a bottle to soothe Caden's insistent cries while informing me there was a huge fight behind our house (like half a block over). There were probably 30 people with baseball bats and 2x4s, and a glass bottle was thrown, almost hitting his car as he tried to inconspicuously inch the 4runner through the brawl.  He called the cops, who were already informed and on their way, and then went back out to make sure all the kiddos were ok, because the fight involved several households of kids we are especially close to.

As he hurried out the door, I urged him to be careful and then clasped Caden closer to my chest and tiptoed down the hall to peek in on Jayci. I gingerly opened the door, watching light spill across her face. She sleeps hard, emphatically sideways on the bed, her pink sock monkey clutched in her arms. I wince as I step on small toys and knock over a stack of books, bending to kiss her forehead. And my heart clenches as I think of the kiddos just a few doors down.

Earlier that day, one of the littlest boys knocked happily on the door during "older kids" hours. I opened it, and bent to hug him hello. His too-large sweater vest was inside-out and backwards. I smiled at him and scrunched my nose, anticipating his angst, when I gently reminded him that the elementary-school kids were to come over earlier, so we could do crafts and play Candyland and help with homework. Now the older kids were playing a loud and rowdy game of "presidents," while we tried desperately to remind them to play in turn. Tears immediately streamed down his cheeks while he pleaded and sobbed that he just didn't know. He was inconsolable, so naturally I caved, and invited him in for "just a few minutes." He quickly joined Jayci at her train track and happily accepted hot chocolate topped with two giant marshmallows.

I wondered what he was doing now. Was he peeking through his blinds that always hung askew, watching his family members swing baseball bats? Did he hear glass shattering as bricks were thrown through windows? Did he watch the cops pull up, wondering who they would put in the back this time? Because, rest assured, he was learning something from the fight, as surely as Jayci learns something when we offer her a time-out for talking back.
As I settle back onto the couch in the quiet and safety of our beautiful home, I feed Caden his bottle and whisper prayers for the kiddos. I wonder who will fight FOR them as fighting breaks out all around them. Who will rescue them from cycles, from habits they can't help but pick up, from using their fists (or baseball bats) to solve problems. And I am reminded of Exodus 14:14. Reminded of the days when Caden lay in the hospital, and I was helpless to rescue him.

And as surely as the Lord was fighting for Caden, I know He is also fighting for our kiddos. Through my tears, I hear Him whisper that He has sent US to fight for them. That we will show them grace. We will forgive them again and again and again until they start to wonder why we aren't picking up baseball bats, but offering hugs instead.

Adam reminded me the other day that God doesn't always rescue us from our circumstances. We can't take every child into our home and offer them a peaceful place to live. We can't always stop fights from breaking out, or guns from firing. Sometimes our babies are born with broken hearts, and sometimes our kiddos are born into broken homes. And we don't know WHY. But we do know that God doesn't leave a single one of us to face the brokenness alone. He promises to go with us, to be near to the brokenhearted, to answer our cries with peace that passes understanding.

His tangible nearness is the only way I don't tremble with fear, at the violence so nearby, at the future our kiddos inevitably face, and at the heart which seems so fragile in my son's beautiful chest. And we will walk with boldness and courage the paths He has set out for us, because our Caden, and our kiddos are worth fighting for.

"The LORD Himself will fight for you; you need only to be still.”  -Exodus 14:!4

15 comments:

  1. I'm seriously at a loss for words!! This is so beautiful and heartbreaking at the same time!!

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  2. Love. You and Adam are right where you are supposed to be. Amazing post. Thanks for making me cry at work... again. I'm the designated crybaby here now by the way. Praying for you and this wonderful ministry.

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  3. Beautiful and heart wrenching and right outside my front door. I often feel scared and helpless on my own...I would love to know more about your ministry and find a way that I can participate. I look forward to meeting you at the next neighborhood meeting!

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  4. Prefectly written. Keeping you guys in my prayers.

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  5. you have such a gift with words...and out of all your many many posts, this is one of my all-time favorites. praying for y'all. ps...your pastor came through our office the other day, and he's preaching at our church next sunday - i'm looking forward to it!

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  6. Oh, Becca. I love this post and especially this part:

    "Adam reminded me the other day that God doesn't always rescue us from our circumstances. We can't take every child into our home and offer them a peaceful place to live. We can't always stop fights from breaking out, or guns from firing. Sometimes our babies are born with broken hearts, and sometimes our kiddos are born into broken homes. And we don't know WHY. But we do know that God doesn't leave a single one of us to face the brokenness alone."

    I feel thankful that our world and your neighborhood have you and Adam in it.

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  7. I, too, am at a loss for words. This is such a heartfelt post, beautifully written and completely inspiring. God blessed us all when he put you and Adam into our world.

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  8. I grew up in a neighborhood just like yours. It was bad. Really bad. You guys are an amazing bunch. I wish I could hug you!

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  9. This gave me chills, Becca. Prayed for you guys just now--the four of you and all the rest of your kiddos too. Hugs!

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  10. Oh, I'm sold. This is beautiful, all of it. (And that includes your precious little ones!) So happy to have found you.

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  11. I'm learning about your ministry through old posts; it is scary cool how God speaks through your words! You touch on so many questions in my heart right now as my husband and I are prayerfully considering what intentional Inner City Ministry looks like for us in Nashville. "The Lord will fight for you, you need only to be still" is an old favorite of mine. Same with Phil 4:7. Thanks for sharing, Becca!

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