I hear my young teenage mothers in the next bedroom raving over my 2-year-old daughter’s new hair-do while exclaiming over and over again how beautiful she is.
And I stop dead in my tracks.
I could just imagine my daughter’s delight and beaming face as she stood under the showering of praises and love from her “big sisters”…who just happen to be teenage mothers.
So, what caught me off guard? Why the stopping? Shouldn’t this be normal? Shouldn’t this be the everyday?
but it hit me…
What their own mothers didn’t do. This is what their own mothers did not do for them. This is what my teenagers did not hear from their mothers while growing up as young girls. This is the happiness and praise that they did not receive when they were 2 years old. The love. The praise. The adoration. The pride and delight that a young girl feels over knowing that she is loved and adored. The pride that a mother feels over her daughter.
It wasn’t there.
Yet, as I listen from the next room, what I hear are the hearts of my teenage moms pouring out motherly love to my daughter. I do not hear the selfishness, bitterness, and anger that first entered my home, but the music to my ears that I now listen to is my teenage moms living out love to children…even to children that are not even theirs. But their minds and hearts are learning motherhood. Loving. Cherishing. Praising. Adoring.
I hear the tickling and laughing with their own infant daughters. I hear the praises and love flowing from their lips. I hear the kisses and happiness that has replaced betrayal and rejection that has been their lives before.
I hold my breath. “Maybe it is working. Maybe it is working??” Maybe this craziness that is our lives is working after all. Maybe bringing these desperate teenagers off the streets and out of the trees and into my heart, life, and home wasn’t as “off” as it seemed?
Maybe somewhere amidst the madness and chaos…is that healing and teaching of hearts, minds, and souls. Maybe? Just maybe?
The countless minute prayers that I shot heavenward the weeks and months after they first entered my home…when I was struggling to even make it from one minute to the next…maybe He heard. “You know He heard”, I tell myself, but in those hard moments, when the pasts, heartbreak, confusion and anger come pouring out from their hurt hearts, the Truth can be hard to cling to. But cling I must. And so cling I do.
These angry, confused, heartbroken, scared skinny pregnant teenagers walked into my heart and life…and just never left. And those same bitter, rejected teens are now the joyful, content, peaceful, and sometimes even just downright giddy teenage moms making my daughter beam with happiness in the next room.
I can only stand as the tears pool in my eyes and whisper a prayer of thanks. Thanks because the Father is good. Thanks because we are now at this place. This place of love and affection and kindness…slowly replacing the hurt, anger, and selfishness of before. Thanks because He has brought us this far and is not going to leave us now…not now, not ever. Thanks because He is the only One who can take our ashes and give us complete and perfect beauty. Thanks because He makes all things new. Thanks because He truly can redeem.
As I let my head fall back against the doorjamb, I let the tears fall. My heart shouts thanks…because they seem to be learning. Thanks because maybe in all of the chaos and craziness they heard something that I said. Thanks because maybe through all of the sin and frustration and tears and yelling when I shouldn’t…maybe they saw the love through it all.
He redeems whatever preciousness has been lost or taken from His children…if only we let Him. Whatever has been lost or taken from any one of us. No matter what the story. No matter how deep the hurt. No matter even how big or small the stolen preciousness may have seemed at the time…no matter how much we may try to pretend that it didn’t matter, or that it wasn’t a big deal…or actually try to convince ourselves that it just didn’t happen in order to save ourselves the pain and hurt.
No. No matter what the lost preciousness in our lives may be…He can redeem. Whether large or small, whether life changing or just a momentary hurt…He redeems.
The tears flow from a heart full of thanks because maybe through all of the sin and ugliness…He allows my girls to see the redeemed. The redemption that is my life in Christ. Through it all, He sweetly and so graciously allows them to somehow see my heart that is truly full of love for them.
Maybe they heard the truth through the shouting and the crying and the discipline and the punishments and the prayers and the tears after all. Maybe they were watching…and maybe Jesus graciously let them see the good…the love through it all.
All I can do is stand in my bedroom doorway in awe and listen…