The lady looked older than me, but it turned out she was a couple years younger. She had 6 kids – the first was born when she was only a kid herself. They had been in foster care for several years. But were now back with her, and soon DHS would sign off on her as a mom.
At that point in the conversation, perhaps a normal person with manners and social grace would have just stopped – congratulated her and bowed out of the conversation. But I couldn’t help myself. I was compelled to know the whole story – to know HER. She had been on drugs – first painkillers, then marijuana, then meth. The guys she hung out with were mean, but they supplied her drug habit. Eventually it caught up with her, and the kids were picked up. She was devastated, but she was also addicted. For two more years she was unsuccessful in her struggle against it. Then she began to break free. She went through rehab – ALL the way through. Then a half-way house. Then outpatient counseling. Then she found a job. Then she got an apartment. Then she got her kids back.
What? How did that happen? These stories don’t usually have a happy ending. What was the key?
My parents believed in me. My friend believed in me. My counselor believed in me. My new boss believed in me. “You are an over-comer!” I said. Her eyes met mine, and she smiled.
When we begin to see people for who they were created to be, instead of who they are on the surface, it is easier to believe in them. And when WE believe in them, it is easier for them to begin to believe in themselves. I want to believe in people. In their potential. In the possibilities of their lives. In the awareness that a bad decision is not the same thing as a bad person. In the knowledge that we all make mistakes and none of us is perfect. In the hope that the future can be different than the past.
He lifted me out of the pit of despair, out of the mud and the mire. He set my feet on solid ground and steadied me as I walked along. Psalm 40:2 (NLT)