For all the women out there who have children, you know having a baby is tough. It’s incredibly painful, it’s long and drawn out, it is the most exhausting 9 months we ever go through. Going into labor can last a couple of days then giving birth is the hardest thing a female body can endure. But the second it is over and there is a bundle of squirming joy in your arms, all is forgotten. The thoughts of swollen ankles, weight gain, sleepless nights, incontinence, fear, emotional upheaval, weird cravings; and most importantly, THE PAIN, is lost to the joy. There is the moment where I thought I was crazy when I was holding my son, Kaleb. I thought to myself that it wasn’t that bad and I was ready to do it all over again. It’s the same for a lot of people getting clean and finding the Lord. It’s easy to forget where I was, where I came from, how bad it hurt, how I almost died; how I lost my family, my children, my home, my things, and my soul to the streets. I CAN’T AFFORD TO FORGET. I was reminded this week by a long string of unrelated (yet related) events that had me thinking hard about how very grateful I am to the family and staff of Jacob’s Well Recovery Center. They put up with so very much; yet, they see women walk away and never turn back to give thanks. The staff of Jacob’s Well still gives hope, they give of themselves, they sacrifice their families, they sacrifice their time, and they help people get HEALED. They help birth the baby! They wipe our sweaty brows, they coach us through the pain, they hold our hands through the labor, they are right there in the delivery room!! Yet some women walk away and forget that they left their bundle of joy at the door. This is a very small percentage, but it happens all the time. Facebook is a horror to look at some days because of the sadness I see in girls I sat right next to. Some end up back in jail, prison, homeless, lost to the world, lost to themselves, and some even in the grave. I’m not judging them, I have no right to. I hurt for them. The pain out here in the real world has been here for me the whole time. It’s my choice whether or not to pick it back up and hold onto it. For me it was when the pain far exceeded the pleasure that I had to change for life or lose my life and it took me over 20 years to get to that point.
Luke 17:11-19 – Now on his way to Jerusalem, Jesus traveled along the border between Samaria and Galilee. 12 As he was going into a village, ten men who had leprosy met him. They stood at a distance 13 and called in a loud voice, “Jesus, Master, have pity on us!” 14 When he saw them, he said, “Go, show yourselves to the priests.” And as they went, they were cleansed. 15 One of them, when he saw he was healed, came back, praising God in a loud voice. 16 He threw himself at Jesus’ feet and thanked him – and he was a Samaritan. 17 Jesus asked, “Were not all ten cleansed? Where are the other nine? 18 Has no one returned to give praise to God except this foreigner? 19 Then he said to him, “Rise and go; your faith has made you well.”
There are a couple of points behind this scripture. The one (the only one) who came back was a Samaritan, despised by the Jews, an outcast. I was despised by a lot of people and I was definitely an outcast. But I was healed anyway. I was released from my pain and my prison and I was given hope. Lepers had to go before priests to prove that they were cleansed of their disease and Jesus sent them off BEFORE they were cleaned. They went in faith, so He healed them as they walked away. They believed. They took off, pain and all, horrible disease and all, and believed. The six months I spent at Jacob’s Well were a lot like this. I knew I was sick, I knew I was in pain, but I believed that I could be healed, so I did things in faith before I saw the evidence. Here is the sad part…of the ten, only one returned to thank Him. My study bible says this, “It IS possible to receive God’s great gifts with an ungrateful spirit.” WOW. I am so grateful. I want to grow in God’s grace. I want to thank Him even when He doesn’t ask for it. I want to learn from the pain and never go back. Childbirth is a beautiful thing so we choose to do that time and again. God gave us the gift of forgetting so we would continue to be fruitful and multiply. I thank Him for that! Nearly losing my life in the process of “birthing” my pain on the street is a whole other ball game. Yet, He STILL gives me the gift of forgetting. I don’t want to forget THAT pain. I will go right back to it, just like I would go right back to childbirth, if I choose to forget.
I challenge anyone reading this who has either graduated Jacob’s Well, or know someone who has, to give thanks today. Post a comment here or reach out on your own. Give thanks and pray for the people who so freely gave of themselves to help give those of us that were suffering a hope and a future. They aren’t asking for it, they never do, but THEY DESERVE IT. I pray blessings over the Ministry, over the staff, over the Haynes, Brogan, and Tilghman families. I pray blessings over every single girl who has made the hardest decision of their life to step foot over the threshold of that beautifully anointed place and that safe haven for greatness. I pray for those out there in pain that they find the strength to make another turn when their mile markers come up. I pray they go in the direction God chooses for them. And I pray for the girls that are out there doing everything they can to walk their salvation out with fear and trembling. They are all courageous. They are all inspiration. They are all world changers. They are STRONG! Give them ALL guidance and love them as only You know how, Lord. Continue to show them who You are. Amen.