This week, after my time working with a group of students at a treatment center, I noticed a beautiful young girl from the group, lingering just outside our room looking troubled. Just barely beginning her sixteenth year, “Callie” was quick to acknowledge that it was a difficult day. Her parents were coming for a visit this evening and she was feeling nervous.
“Both of my parents are addicts, and I never really know how it’s going to go. My mom is in recovery, but not my Dad. My mom’s doing better, but DHS has already taken us from her twice before.”
“Callie” went on to tell me about her five year old and twelve year old brothers, and how worried and scared she is for them. I asked her what her drug of choice (D.O.C.) has been and how she was first introduced.
“My D.O.C. is meth and marijuana. My mom taught me everything about it and showed me how to use it. We would use together. Yeah, she said that she would rather me know the safe way to use it and do it at home rather than out with friends where I could get in trouble or get caught with it.
I was up for 28 days straight with no sleep. I lost over 80 pounds in one month. After I finally came down, I slept for two days. When I woke up I was so sick and ended up in the hospital, where I detoxed and went through withdrawals. I self-committed and now all I want to do is get better so I can be there for my brothers.”
She and her mom will be working on a recovery plan that they can do together, which will include going to Narcotics Anonymous meetings, a relapse response plan, and holding each other accountable. At sixteen, she is not only struggling against her own demons, but now co-responsible for her own mother’s success or failure!
As you can imagine, my heart was breaking. I wanted to take her home with me. I wanted to show her, immerse her, in “normal” family dynamics. I wanted to scoop her up in my arms and carry her right up to the throne of God and lay her in Jesus’ arms.
Desperately, silently pleading for heaven’s wisdom, for careful, loving truths to share as a response to her story, God began to put words in my mouth…
“Do you ever think about one day when you might have a little girl of your own? Do you think you will parent differently? Anything you see yourself doing different?”
“Oh yeah, all the time!
I would definitely do a lot different.
I would take care of her and just love her and protect her from all the bad stuff.”
And then again, the God who never disappoints, whispers through me: “Well, Callie. From now on, until the time that you have a daughter of your own: YOU. BE. HER. Let yourself be that cherished little girl, deserving of love and protection. Can you do that? It is not fair that you have to be both the mom and the daughter, but you know how you would treasure and take care of your little girl. Allow yourself the same.”
The biggest smile began to grow on her face, and her eyes brightened and she said, “I’ve never thought of it that way before!”
“Can you do that?” I asked, willing every ounce of love and compassion to move from my eyes to her heart.
“Yeah, I think I can!”
She gave me permission to pray for her and she took down my number to call when she needed a hug. We both agreed that we would look forward to my next visit.
If only we could all be “the child” even as we are mistreated or experiencing those “unfair” moments, for we truly are children of the Most High King. A Father who desires to keep us safe, protect us from the bad stuff, and wants more than ever, to love and cherish us all of our lives.
Director of Prevention