Remember how I told you several entries ago that this is a journey and sometimes it’s not easy? Sometimes it’s confusing, sometimes it’s frustrating, sometimes it’s overwhelming but all the time it’s good! The past couple of weeks have been full of being overwhelmed, frustrated and confused, but also so full of His love and sovereignty… I went to a meeting with some of my church family about a week ago and as I was driving home my heart became so full of burden. You see a few days before that I had a conversation with one of my kiddos, we talked about life, we talked about scary things, and we talked about family and friends. But something this dear precious kid said to me has not left my heart or mind, “Ms. Colleen this life out here is not all it’s cracked up to be…” I looked at him with confusion written across my face, and brokenness in my heart for him, he’s right that street life is not all it’s cracked up to be, but unfortunately it’s what happens, drugs, gangs, murder, it’s what a lot of my kids know. I longed to know more, I wanted to know more, and I wanted to know what he meant.
What kind of life was he referring to (in my heart I already knew, but I felt like I needed to hear it from his mouth)? His reply the life of watching people get shot up over drugs, the life of watching people he loves go to jail (which as of late is referred to as vacation, oh Mr. S, he’s on vacation he’ll be back in a few months), the life of watching a man die because someone murdered him on accident. I literally had to hold back the tears.
Then he asked me what’s the scariest thing I have ever seen. I didn’t really know how to reply, I’ve seen some pretty scary things, and I replied exactly that way, “I don’t know I’ve seen a lot of scary things, why do you ask?” He then asked me if I have ever seen a murder, someone get stabbed or shot, if I’ve ever seen a gang beating or someone sell drugs, well the answer to most of those scenarios is yes, I then begin to pry, I wanted to know why he was asking? He told me that last summer he and some of his friends watched a man get shot on Jefferson Street and several months ago his cousin watched someone else get shot on Belnord, and that forever he would remember the images of someone shooting someone else and everyone running, he asked if I would remember seeing these things forever.
This was a perfect opportunity for me to share Jesus with him, I explained to him the things that I had seen were things that would forever be in my heart, they were things I prayed about, I prayed for God to intervene in the lives of the people who were the gunmen, the gang members, the drug dealers, that God would change their hearts, and that I prayed for the families of the victims of these crimes, and that while these things would be in my heart forever, I asked God on a regular basis to protect my mind from these images. As we talked about God he told me how much he loves coming to Kids Club, and how his dad never goes to church and how he wishes that he would, and how much he wants a bible, and how he likes learning about Jesus.
This is where I continue to pray for strong men to come into our neighborhood, to love our boys, to lead them to a life filled with Jesus, as I look at this 11 year old boy standing in front of me on a daily basis, I think about the choices he’ll be making in the next few weeks, months and years, and I know in my heart he can chose one path or the other. I pray daily for him and the other boys in this neighborhood that they’ll choose the path that will allow them the chance to break free from their environments, that will allow them to become police officers, lawyers, pastors, business owners and the multitude of other things they dream about being.
This afternoon as I come home from a morning of appointments, lunch meetings and sharing my heart with others, I will be surrounded by smiles, hugs, requests to play basketball, and I will honor these requests. I will spend the rest of my day loving these sweet precious kids that God has trusted me to love, I will spend the rest of my day answering questions about where I’ve been, about my life, about my friends and why I love them, and I will smile and love every single minute of it. I’ve realized over the past few days that these sweet kids are just as invested in my life as I am theirs, last night as I was leaving to meet some friends for dinner, one of them said, “Ms. Colleen where are you going? When will you be back? We’ve missed you, you’ve been gone all day. Can we play tomorrow?” Moments like this make me smile, and long for more hours in my day to spend playing, loving and learning with my kids.
My prayer this morning as I begin my day is for more moments like this one, more moments where the kids will completely open up to me, and allow me to pray with and for them, more moments to share Jesus, more moments to share my life experiences with them, more moments to encourage them to never give up dreaming, and working hard to follow their dreams, I pray for moments of laughter, moments of love and moments of true heart to hearts.