This morning, the first day of January, and the first day of a New Year brought praises from the girls in recovery along with tears. The day had a hint of sadness due to the absence of three girls who decided to leave the center.
During praise and worship, I thought of girls who were not in the room, as I wasn’t sure who fled or why. But I knew it saddened me, as they gave up on the opportunity to go through recovery.
And a private prayer with one of my girls gave me a clue as my friend N. who felt horrible and appeared visibly riddled with pain at their leaving, offered some insight. She told me, as we chatted how she thought some of the other girls made them feel unworthy and she blamed them for contributing to the situation.
She cried and wiped her face, and said she struggled to feel loved herself and hated feeling angry with the others. She wanted forgive them, and yet, her heart was breaking into pieces like glass on a floor, with edges that cut, with wounds deeper than she wanted to feel, with anguish beyond the moment.
Even now, I’m not sure what transpired, or who it affected the most, or even how valid all the claims might be, but I do know three precious souls thought leaving rehab was a better option. I do know the recovery center offers tools for the broken, and I do know I am honored to hold church with the girls each Sunday. I do know that at any given moment, hurting people and broken people can hurt others with their words and with their actions. Thus, I know Christ changes lives and saves, too. And we need Him, desperately.
So, despite the shadow of pain, I moved ahead with service, and we offered up our prayers and worshipped with songs that spoke of ‘does anyone see her’ and ‘even when it hurts’ to ‘take me to the king’ – words of hope in Christ and words of praise to our Lord.
Two of my girls sang, “Temporary Home” and one of the girls mentioned how she needed that reminder, how this chapter in her life is moving her closer to home where she can live life in victory.
Then another girl mentioned how she came to ‘inside church’ instead of attending the services on the outside (a privilege the girls get as the move through the program) because she felt led to be a part of this morning’s worship. I shared from Luke 2 where Simeon meets Jesus in the temple and holds him, and my prayer was for the Lord to hold the girls as they were fragile, yet hopeful, and they were hurting. Can you imagine getting to hold the baby Christ? I can’t imagine such a moment. Better yet, knowing Chrits holds us, that’s an amazing and majestic realization, too.
As for Simeon at the temple, he rejoiced at knowing the Savior was born and had come to save His people. I used this part of scripture to let the girls know this same Jesus is holding their lives too, and that He even called them to the temple of our church setting this morning.
We looked at Anna who was older too, and how she pretty much never departed from the temple, and how she gave thanks to God and spoke of Christ who would redeem lives. Which became my challenge for the girls, that they would give thanks to God for Jesus this New Year.
I wanted them to look at His heart of love for them, that they would surrender their lives to Him, and that they would seek His face. That they would praise God, and speak of what He’s doing in their lives and will do, and has done through the blood of Jesus Christ!!
In other words, we can’t just talk of His birth, we must speak of His resurrection! He came to save! He came for you and for me! He came for those on the run, or those in rehab, or for anyone who might be reading this blog! He is calling to hearts, to His children — always!