“I need some Jesus in my life.” (This was a response to my question of, “How are you?” when I picked up one of our TRAIL kids on Tuesday night for bible study).
When we began our ministry two years ago at Great Oaks, the buzz word that was (and still is) thrown around a lot is broken homes. A majority of the kids we work with come from broken homes. They come from troubled homes and families. They are not what we would consider “normal.” They are hurting. They are looking for love (some in the wrong places). They need us. And, I think we need them.
The Free Dictionary defines “broken home” as: “a family in which the parents have separated or divorced.”
Urban Dictionary.com defines “broken home” as: “a house containing a family that is set apart due to tensions and certain problems. ex: a kid’s parents constantly fight and he/she feels lonely, depressed, angry. that is a product of a broken home, who may usually get away from the problems by doing bad things (drugs,drink,etc…). broken home can range from a project in NY, a suburb, or ironically, a 5-story mansion”
Though I’m not sure of the origin of UrbanDictionary, I like the definition because it doesn’t say that the parents have to be divorced/separated.
Even though a majority of our kids do come from homes where their parents are divorced/separated, some of them do have a two-parent home, but they live in a world of fighting, hurt, anger, and intolerance.
That’s where our ministry comes in. At this point this is where it counts.
On Tuesday nights I lead a bible study for 3 girls, ages 10-12. Here are their family backgrounds, from what I know.
12 years old
Parents divored when she was younger
She lives with her mom, who is a single parent, because her step-dad just died last month (right before Christmas). Her dad lives in the area, but I don’t hear about him often.
She has 2 little brothers
She really struggles in school and really struggles to find “her place” in school (her relationships with her friends are changing, and it’s hard on her because they are ever evolving and she’s not sure what it means or how to handle it)
She is 10 years old
She lives with her mom and step-dad; they’ve been married about 2 years.
When she was younger, ages 4 to 8, she lived in foster care because she was taken away from her mom. She went back to live with her mom 2 years ago, right before her mom got re-married.
Her dad was in jail, got out in December, and is now back in jail (she doesn’t want to tell me why and I want to respect that)
She has 2 younger brothers and an older brother.
She LOVES reading the Bible and gets to excited about bible study….she is also quite a talker and loves to be the center of attention.
She is 12 years old.
She lives with her mom, but bounces back and forth between her mom and her grandmother. (I usually pick her up at her grandmother’s house). She mentions her dad, but I have no idea where he is.
She told me she is thankful for her grandma and her “granny” who actually care about her and spend time with her.
She has 5-6 brothers (I can’t remember, exactly). Two of them are in jail for murder. Two of them have been kicked out of high school repeatedly for truancy and disrespect.
She asks me every week to pray for her brothers. This week she asked me to talk to her brothers. She wants me to teach them a little bit about respect (in her words).
This is real life to them. This is what they deal with everyday.
Talk about broken homes. I don’t think it gets anymore broken than that. My heart breaks for them. There’s nothing I can physically do, except pray. And commit. And show up every Tuesday night. And love.
Frederick Douglas said, “It is easier to build strong children than to repair broken men.”
We are definitely trying to build strong children. Through love. Through relationships. Through respect. Through studying God’s Word. Through laughing. Through caring. Through praying.
The two greatest commandments from the Lord is to “Love God and Love People.” It’s what we do.
“In violent streets and broken homes, the cry of anguished souls is not for more laws but for more conscience and character.”