On half of the Sundays, I go to church as a "single" mom, just me and the kids walking that back alley while Cory is speaking at other churches in the area, telling them all about God's goodness in the land of the living (aka the county jail).
I wish I could say I'm always positive and supportive about these Sundays. The truth is, they can be a bit of a bummer. Not a huge inconvenience, but enough to make me grumpy on the inside.
Today was one of those days, for a whole slew of reasons. Even though the kids are older, I'd prefer to have Cory's help getting us out the door. I'd prefer to have him sitting next to me at church and walking home with us at noon.
Last night I spent my evening cooking a meal for new friends who bailed today. (This is a recurring theme, but that's a whole 'nother story.)
Then Robert and his crew stopped by just long enough to knock over a table and break a flower pot (not a big deal at all, just a chaotic and LOUD 10-minutes.)
Cory came through the door at 12:30, the house cleared out, and we sat to eat from the giant pot of soup. I wondered, can't my sacrifice be good enough for these four faces? Of course it can.
And I wondered about those new friends of ours, about Robert and his rowdy friends, about tattooed necks and R's new hat with #BITE ME stitched across its front.
There are days when we feel like we're pedaling hard in reverse.
There are days we've lost our brakes and we careen. We tumble.
There are lots of days when I wonder if anything is enough, if anything helps, if we'll ever stop thinking we're wiser than we are.
I want every stereotype busted and every judgment called out - especially my own.
I want to draw from the reserves and refuse to believe people can't change.
I want to see God's glory in the hurting and the forgotten and I want to believe - really trust in my gut - that He's greater than addictions and jumbled patterns and years upon years where love is only felt as a deficit.
Cory handed me a letter at the scuffed up dinner table and I read it out loud, as our prayer. It was written from a former inmate and the church he visited today surprised him with it.
Cory and I met when I was going through a lot of hard times. I guess I look a little crazy in some people's eyes because I'm tattooed from head to toe. Not in Cory's eyes tho, he seen a man in need of help. Cory used to talk to me about what I've been through and where I'd like to be in life. This led me to a rehab center at the Salvation Army. I don't know if Cory knows this, but he changed my life. See, I went to rehab and got to know Jesus again.
After some time and a lot of tragedy, I found myself back in jail. Cory was on me this time, but more about God. See, what got me the most was how much work Cory was doing in the name of Jesus. I used to think to myself that I wish I had the love in me that that man's got. Well Cory will tell: We all got that love in us. We just have to embrace Him.
It's pastor appreciation month, and I've never appreciated a pastor more than the one who leads my family and loves these wounded men with a heart that knows its own humanity. So proud of him and so grateful that God allows us to be part of His plans. My gripes are so petty when laid against the truth of God's redemption.
Nothing is wasted. Nothing is hopeless.
No one is beyond His reach.
It seems we've all got work to do. Better get to it.