I went to lunch at school to bring cupcakes to Joseph and his class to celebrate his 9th birthday. He is so grown up. So responsible. So capable. And he is still my baby too; he doesn't shy away from hugs yet and still tries to climb into my lap. He is such a joy and I love being his mama!
But what is on my heart right now is an encounter that I had while I was at the school. It was one of those moments that takes your breath away. One of those times when it feels like you are living out a movie script rather than real life.
Charlie and I were running late as usual. (Didn't my last post start this way too?) We quickly signed in to the office and rushed down the hall to the cafeteria. Me balancing 26 cupcakes in two precariously stacked tupperwares and Charlie clutching his sippy cup and a plastic grocery bag holding his lunch and the napkins to serve the cupcakes on.
As we approached the cafeteria, I could see Joseph's class coming down the hall towards us. My son is almost a head taller than everyone else in the class except one other boy. When we sat down I meet the 3 boys that are sitting opposite us.
"I'm Mrs. Holland. What is your name?"
"It is nice to meet you guys."
We chatted about a few other things--what they had done in PE that day, the fact that they wouldn't get to go outside for recess since it was raining. And then...
"My dad and my mom are both in jail."
Really? Did he just blurt that out? My eyes meet his. His are pale blue behind thick glasses with wire-rims.
"They are? Wow."
What do you say to that?
"I live with my aunt. I am new to this school."
Jacob goes on to explain that Campbell used to go to this school and now he is back here again. Campbell confirms that his aunt lives close by and so he goes here now.
"I am never going to see my dad again."
"I am sorry."
"My whole side of my face was bruised from where he hit me with his hand."
My stomach turns and what I had feared is true. Oh Father, my Abba, give me words.
"That is a lot for a little guy like you to deal with."
Campbell chimes in that this is now the fourth time that he has been taken away from his family. I learn that his mom's trial is today. I ask if he likes his aunt and if she is nice and I get a reluctant yes.
Chocolate as comfort; time slows in the cacophony of lunchtime revelry and I am undone. My heart aches for this little one. For what he has been through and for my inability to do anything about it.
All I can do is listen and offer a moment.
And I can lift up this little one in prayer. And I can trust that my God is a God who makes new. Redeems. Restores what the locusts have eaten. Who puts the fatherless in families.
I know that He is in control and I can hope in Him.
Sing to God, sing praises to his name;
lift up a song to him who rides through the deserts;
his name is the LORD;
exult before him!
Father of the fatherless and protector of widows
is God in his holy habitation.
God settles the solitary in a home;
he leads out the prisoners to prosperity,
but the rebellious dwell in a parched land.