Wednesday, July 28, 2010

"Lord, whatever it takes to reach the lost, I want to do it"

As most of you know I do not have a relationship with my mother and that because of my mother's addictions I basically raised myself since the age of six. I touch a little bit on it here only for the story sake but one day, if the Lord prompts me to, maybe I"ll blog my testimony but today isn't the time for that.

Over the last year God has been bringing our Outreach Ministry to a new level and changing how we serve His people. What we thought Outreach should look like was not what God wanted it to look like. If you've walked with the Lord long enough you know that sometimes how we think things should look and how He wants things to look can be totally different. At the beginning of the year I read the book Servolution which just sparked a whole new outlook on how God wants us to serve others. There is a specific line in the book where pastor Dino Rizzo says, "Whatever it takes to reach the lost", and when I read that I prayed, "Lord, whatever it takes to reach the lost, I want to do it". I was so excited and ready to fan the flame of this new spark God created in me but what I thought reaching the lost looked like and how Jesus wanted me to reach the lost wasn't exactly the same. 
It's my passion to help others and I am privileged to do what God has called me to do, although I work in the ministry I do not live with the people we reach out to nor do I have to travel for hours to work with them and certainly none of them gave birth to me. We listen, pray, counsel with them, we work with them through their situations, teach them how to build better lives and many times we become friends with them but we still leave them, go home to our family each day and in the end it still hits your heart different when it's your immediate family that you are trying to help.

Four years ago we had made a decision as a family that my mother's lifestyle is not appropriate nor safe for our family and had to sever ties with her as a mother and grandmother. Because her and I never had a mother-daughter bond, severing ties with her and working on  forgiveness of the things she has done throughout my life was pretty easy. What is not easy is having to deal with her.

I've spoken to my mother three times in the last three or four years and each time was because of a tragic event like a family death or her being close to her own death because of drug and alcohol overdoses. At the beginning of this summer the same scene was played out. I received a phone call that I'm quite used to receiving and I was told that she was incoherent and due to her choices she was being evicted from the place where she was living. At first I said, "I'm not going, I'm finished with her, she doesn't listen and I can't keep putting my family through this, I've been dealing with her for thirty three years and I'm tired of it"! And the Lord, just like he always does, reminded me of what I prayed for earlier this year, "Lord, whatever it takes to reach the lost, I want to do it", and so began the drama began.

Apparently someone needs to be legally responsible for adults who don't make wise choices and when they're not married that becomes they're children. The law says you can't force a person to go anywhere against their will without a court order so needless to say on a Friday afternoon, it wasn't easy getting her out of the place she was in but after invading peoples homes I'd never met before, dealing with the sheriff, and multiple phone calls we finally got my mother to a hospital. That was just the first day! Then trying to find facilities that would let her stay longer than a week, her getting mad at me because I refused to go back to the house she had been evicted from to get the her three closets full of clothes, her manipulation in the beginning of her detoxification process and the drama that comes with being in a rehab facility was all a bit much for me.

I forgot to mention that where she lives is an hour drive from my house, I'm a wife, a mother, I work in ministry and also work part time for my husband. Needless to say I do not have many minutes to spare to make hour long trips multiple times a week for my mother but again, "Lord, whatever it takes to reach the lost, I want to do it". Until four years ago she always had a husband that dealt with these things. I even had to mentally prepare myself to drop her off at a homeless shelter because we could not find a facility for her. I know you may be wondering why she couldn't come and stay with us but if you have ever dealt with someone who has an addiction problem the way my mother does you know that bringing a person like that into your home is not safe especially if you have children. Fortunately she found a half-way house that would take her for up to year and she seems to be making some progress.

I know with God ALL things are possible but I also know that people have to make choices to turn to him and do what is right. About the age of thirty I quit hoping for a change in my mother. I never quite praying for her but after years and years of lies, manipulations, and being in and out of more rehab facilities than I even knew existed, I just quit hoping for her change and just prayed for a miracle. Over the last few weeks I have been shocked at myself because I find myself wanting to send my mother cards or notes of encouragement each week or pictures of my son. I've even shared with her my blogs on grieving the death of my dad because she is still grieving the death of her own father. Her circumstances are different this time around, she has no home, no husband, no father, and I've asked her brother not to help her as long as I'm working with her because each of these men in her life have always enabled her  manipulation and addiction and ultimately they have contributed to the way she is today so maybe, just maybe without these things in her life this time will be different. I've often wondered why God allows my mother to stay alive when she is only existing but I know that clearly He did not give me to her so she could raise me because she didn't, but maybe God gave her to me for reasons I just don't know yet. I hope the next time I write about her she will have made much better progress.
And yes, I'm still saying, "Lord, whatever it takes to reach the lost, I want to do it".

***As a side note I have to say that I have a great support system around me in dealing with all of this. My husband is my hero. He's walked through a lot help me with my mother and my spiritual family has been so encouraging with their words and prayers and even helping me to find a facility for her. I'm very blessed with the people God has placed in my life. That is why I can say I love life even through the rough times.

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