By Marina Sullivan
We all have a story to live, to share and to embrace. The truth is the story doesn’t always read the way we think it should.
At Mercy Ministries, staff are supporting actors in heroic stories. There are times we stand on the sidelines as choices are made and scripts rewritten. This may mean that girls walk away from the application process before being admitted, leave the home before they graduate, or sadly for some, the fire that they played with consumes them and a life ends before the story was played out.
A life that ends prematurely speaks loudly of potential left undiscovered. Unmet destinies linger in empty spaces.
A vacant seat at a kitchen table
children not born
a husband not married
Hind sight is 20/20 they say. It seems natural to look back and question if there was something we could have said or done to make a difference and change the ending. Was there a sign that was missed or comment that went unheard? In these difficult places, come difficult conversations. Conversations with the ones left behind.
One such conversation, with a father of a Mercy applicant who had passed away suddenly, lingers in my mind and has impacted my life and my story. I remember the waver in his voice under the strain of holding back tears. He recalled a day with his daughter, a typical day filled with to-do-lists.
His daughter was in the back seat of the car and his mind was filled with the tasks of the day. He said he knew she was having a hard day “but then most days had seemed hard lately.” Then he said something so poignant, so heart stopping, that the depth of its meaning hit me to the core:
“If only I had got into the back seat and held her.”
There is little to compare to the un-quenched ache a of a parent. Yes, that is love. Unfathomable. Unrelenting. All consuming, love. That is the heart of a father.
It is there in the hard moments, the real moments that we get a glimpse of the love our Father in Heaven has for each one of us. He is waiting and willing to meet us, to climb into the backseat with our junk and mess and pain, and hold us. He knows the ending before it begins. He knows the amazing story he has written just for us. It is an epic story of love and hope and dreams”
For I know the plans I have for you,” declares the LORD, “plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future. Jeremiah 29:11
Women who are on the waiting list for Mercy Ministries receive encouragement from women who are already in the program. Small 3″x5″ index cards filled with heart and hope for women they do not know, yet so intimately understand. They appreciate how vital it is to be encouraged; they know the need for Jesus to meet them in the backseat where there is little control.