I once sat in a movie theatre, but I didn’t see a movie.
A girl sat next to me that was far more interesting than any movie could ever be, and I was far to involved with mustering the extraordinary effort it was taking to reach out and hold her hand.
I inched closer, and pulled away again. It happened a hundred times. I wondered desperately if this was the right move. I liked her, no question, she was absolutely amazing, a beautiful soul through and through, but would she like me? Was this the right way to tell her the way that I felt about her? Finally, near the end of the movie that I never did remember any of until I watched it again ten years later, I moved in, with the blood screaming in my veins, I brushed the outer edge of my pinky finger up against hers, ever so slightly, just enough that I could give her a chance to stay or back away.
Four times I held someone and fell hopelessly in love at that moment.
With each of my children I can remember the exact moment when I fell in love, the time, the place, the realization that I would die for this tiny person. For two of them I was the first one to ever hold them, I embraced their tiny bodies in my arms and promised “I will never let you go”, for the other two they came into our lives as newborns, and with each I remember holding them tight and promising; “Never again will you wonder who loves you”.
I love you
I can’t count how many times I got what I didn’t deserve.
The car crash that I should have died in, but walked away from.
The wife who should have left me while I struggled to find myself and grow up.
The kids who forgive my messed up attempts at parenting, and keep on loving me anyway.
The crazy things that I did when I first got my license, jumping the car on the streets of San Francisco, getting it up on two wheels around that corner on purpose, only to go back and try it again because it was so much fun.
The mistakes I have made in relationships, people I have hurt by being so self absorbed and results driven that I forgot about anything but myself.
Life is a series of forgiveness lessons, God coming back again and again, and helping us stand on legs that shouldn’t work.
I once met a woman who’s life was a hundred times harder than mine. She smiled. She praised God. She laughed. She cried. She had hope for a future.
You see even though Hawa’s life is about as different from mine as you can get on this earth, she and I share two things that make us the same, we both need God, and we both have been helped by others who have stepped up and been there for us in our times of need.
This past week we have been hearing the stories of the new families who we brought into our Keep One Home sponsorship program, and I can’t help but feel for these people. For all of them their lives are marked by terrible tragedy, loved ones who have died, rape of young girls who became mothers too early and will always have to wonder what life could have been, hunger that erodes hope, illnesses that rob life, houses that don’t protect them from the outside, mindsets that keep them struggling, and an economy where work is almost impossible to find for someone without an education.
We, all of us, were born into something we did not choose, we were given a life, and a script to live out. For many the simple fact of where they were born meant they had no chance to live, they died too early, died of something the rest of the world already knows how to prevent.
But there is hope, for these families in the Keep One Home sponsorship program they are starting new, they are being given a chance with your support, and they are finding there is hope in God. With your help we are building a safety net underneath them, and helping point them forward, upward, out to a place they never dreamed they could go.
What is your story? Were you helped by someone once? Do you have moments where you got what you did not deserve? I bet each of us could write a long book about the times God has stepped in and helped us, given us hope through the hands of another.
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