From my front row seat

Wednesday, July 25, 2018

Seatbelt is fastened. Bring it on!

One of the most common questions we get is, "What is a typical day at Blue Monarch?"  This always makes me laugh because there really is no such thing as a "typical day".  Honestly, it's like I crawl out of bed, after saying a prayer of course, and from that point on I just hope I remembered to fasten my seatbelt.  It's going to be a fast and crazy ride that will probably take me places I never imagined.

I often regret that our supporters don't get to experience what we get to see on a daily basis.  So I decided to take you along with me on just one day last week.  Don't forget to fasten your seatbelt, though, because you may get what I call "Blue Monarch whiplash".  You never know if you're going to see the greatest miracle you've ever seen.  Or if you're going to get your heart broken into a million pieces.  And both could happen on the same day.

First of all, as I pull into the gravel driveway at Blue Monarch, I am immediately greeted by a nasty, dead armadillo.  Smack dab in the middle of the driveway.  I can see from the tire marks in the grass that no one knows what to do about it.  Sam, our wonderful dog, is looking a little suspect so I suppose he is responsible for this.  Nice.  A quick problem to solve on my way in...

"Can someone please move the bikes away from the door?  And there's a goat crying.  Would someone please go check on it?"

As soon as I get the lamps turned on in my office, I get a call from a very special Blue Monarch friend.  He offers to purchase a car for Marie so she can get to work.  Marie is currently in our WINGS Program for graduates and for many weeks we have been getting her to and from work through a complicated science project made up of staff members and dedicated volunteers.  Yay!  Marie will have a car now!  She is going to be so excited.  

The car has to be picked up today so I think we should run get the car after Kate and I meet a donor for lunch.  In fact, we should drive it to the place Marie works and surprise her with it.  Yes, let's do it.  What fun.

Kate and I have lunch scheduled with an enthusiastic, faithful donor and friend, so we gather some things she needs us to bring.  She is on a mission to introduce some of her friends to Blue Monarch, so we want to send her well equipped with lots of information.  I love this woman's passion for Blue Monarch and I'm looking forward to seeing her.  She had a birthday recently so everyone signs a card for us to take.  I catch up on some emails and discuss some resident issues with the program staff before heading out the door.

While Kate and I enjoy rich conversation with this woman, who is one of the most fascinating women I've ever met, I glance down at my phone and notice I have a lengthy text from one of our graduates.  It appears frantic, so I excuse myself and go to the restroom to read it.  She is completely distraught because a fourteen-year-old boy has been sexually abusing her seven-year-old daughter.  No!  He has been charged with rape of a child but the judge basically gives him a slap on the wrist.  This is outrageous.

This mother is in a rage, as I can only imagine.  My mind immediately goes back to the day this precious little girl was born.  I held her in my arms in her most innocent, purist moment, totally unaware that seven years later her innocence would be stolen from her in such a vile way.  

I text the mother back to let her know we will do whatever we can to help her.  A little stunned, I continue to quietly process this terrible news as I return to the table and eat my barbeque as if nothing's happened.  My heart is broken and I am incredibly angry.  I need to make some calls as soon as possible.

After we say our goodbyes, Kate and I leave to pick up Marie's new car and take it to where she works.  We explain to the receptionist why we need to see Marie and she immediately becomes teary eyed.  She says, "I pray for Blue Monarch every day."  The supervisor gets Marie for us and as I lead her to the car, Marie's co-workers follow her.  Before I know it, we have a parking lot full of people crying and hugging Marie.

Marie says, "I can't believe this!  Just yesterday my supervisor said she had a word for me from God, that if I needed something, I should ask for it.  So I prayed last night that God would somehow provide a car for me!"  She laughed through the tears, "But that's not all.  I told God I really wanted a Honda because it gets such good mileage!"  And of course, the car just happens to be a Honda Accord.

It is so sweet to see Marie's co-workers lift her up and share in her excitement.  She's in good hands here.  Thank you, Lord.

I'm anxious to see Xeven's reaction, Marie's son.  Their relationship has improved so much in their time at Blue Monarch, it's hard to believe they are the same family.  When Xeven sees the car he immediately begins making fist pumps in the air.  "Yes!  Yes!"  You can tell he is so proud of his mama.  Man, I'm glad I didn't miss seeing that.

Then I learn that the Department of Children's Services has decided to allow Jessica to get her two boys back TODAY.  Wow!  We didn't expect it to happen that quickly, so we scramble to get bunk beds moved into her room right away.

Time seems to crawl by.  They are delayed because sadly, a child in DCS custody has run away from home and they must find him before bringing Jessica's boys.  We say a quick prayer for that child.  

While we wait, I check on the distraught mom to see if the court provided for her daughter to get counseling.  There are many unanswered questions and hard to understand answers.  Part of this mother's agony is because she also experienced the same thing at a young age so there are many painful layers to this trauma.  My heart hurts for all of them.  I'm angry, sad, and even a little sick to my stomach over it.  Please Lord, heal this little girl.

Meanwhile, Jessica waits, and waits, and waits at the window for her boys to arrive.  How many times have I seen this sight - a mother waiting at this same window for the first sight of her children?  I realize whenever I've seen this, there are always other mothers surrounding her who understand the pain, the fear, and the agonizing anticipation.

Jessica has not seen her boys in 18 months so I'm certain she has fears they will not remember her or even like her.  I should tell her that in fifteen years of this, not once have I seen a child who didn't immediately cling to his mother, even when there were years of separation.  That always seems like such a miracle to me.

Finally!  Here comes the car and Jessica rushes out the door.  The other moms want to run out there with her but I encourage them to give her some space.  So instead, they crowd at the railing and watch from the porch with tears in their eyes.

Immediately both boys jump out of the car and hug their mom.  I can see that Jessica is trying very hard not to cry in front of them, but tears of joy still cover her face.

I have seen this amazing scene over and over - in fact, over 250 children have been reunited with their mothers through our program.  But never have I grown tired of this powerful moment.  It still reaches in and grabs my heart like it did the very first time.  

Okay, it's 6:30 and I should get home now.  Thank you, Lord, for another "typical day at Blue Monarch".  I wouldn't have missed it for the world - and I can't wait to see what you have up your sleeve for tomorrow.  Bring it on!    

Do not be anxious about anything, but in every situation, by prayer and petition, with thanksgiving, present your requests to God.  Philippians 4:6

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