If I would have known beforehand what God would ask of me in these days, I’m not sure I would have said yes.
Before I moved here to CDO, I thought about what it would be like to love street kids- I considered their addiction to drugs, their dirtiness, the baggage they carry with them from their difficult lives, their wild behavior, the language and cultural barriers. I thought about those things, I prayed about those things, and without any hesitation at all, over time, I grew to absolutely love each of them.
But I don’t think I ever once considered how hard it would be to lose them. Lately, God is always prying open my hand, continually asking me to loosen my grip of these kids. NOT to love them any less- but just to loosen my grip and trust them in His.
One of the older boys, who I have poured extra love and time into this year, was given 5,000 pesos ($125) by a well-meaning person trying to help. 5,000 pesos to a street kid is like winning the lottery. I haven’t seen him at the center in weeks. I am confident that he’ll be back when his money runs out. But until then I know I just have to let him go…
Two of the girls, sisters “D” and “A”, have a very abusive home. “D” spends the day in the streets but goes home at night while “A” prefers to wander around and sleep on the street. If “D” doesn’t bring her younger sister “A” home with her, then the dad beats her and she sleeps outside her house on a piece of cardboard. After multiple nights of “D” getting beat and sleeping outside, Meagan and I took the two girls into our home to live with us until we could find a safer place to sleep at night. But eventually, “A” and “D” went back to the street for different reasons. And I knew, for now, I just had to let them go too…
For me, this constant balancing act of loving and letting go, is one of the messiest parts of working with street kids. Its easy to assume that if you love them well enough, offer them a chance at a different future, and provide for all their basic needs, then they will respond positively and never look back. But that’s just not the case.
And I’m sure I’m not the only one who experiences this. Loving people, all people not just street kids, is HARD. Sometimes you pour all you have into a relationship and still they choose walk away. Other times love can feel very one-sided and underappreciated. And often times loving someone means fighting for them and seeing the good in them, even when they don’t care to see it for themselves.
Its true what I said up there- if God would have told me ahead of time how hard this would be, I’m not sure I would have said yes. If I would have known the whole story from the start fear and feelings of inadequacy, I’m sure, would have kept me safely at home. But now that I’m here in the middle of it, I’m daily begging God for more of His love-pour more into me Jesus so I can pour more out.
He knows the limits of my heart and still He called me. He knew how hard these days would be and yet here I am. And thank God for His sneaky ways. Because now I’m here! And I absolutely love my kids-I mean, HIS kids.
I love them for all the good I see hidden away inside of them. I love them for the crazy potential of their futures. I love them for how much they’ve grown and changed in a year. I love them for persevering through the most unimaginable circumstances. I love them for all they are now and for who I know they are going to be one day. And these days, I love them enough to loosen my grip and let them go.
Trusting that His hands are a better place for them to be than mine anyway…