You’re a single mom of two kids. Life has been really hard for you, with a childhood of abuse and a painful relationship with your children’s father, and eventually you turned to narcotics to numb the pain and depression. You knew using drugs was wrong, but addiction soon had such a powerful hold on your mind and body that you lost custody of your kids and spent several months in jail. That’s where you hit rock bottom, and knew that when you got out you were going to do whatever it took to regain custody of your kids, the most important thing in your life.
When you were released, you began working with your caseworker and rehab counselor to rebuild your life. You now have regular visits with your children, and you end every visit with the promise that you are working as hard as you can so that they can come live with you soon. You want nothing more than to have your kids with you all the time again. You alienated most of your family members, who you had a toxic relationship with anyway, because of your drug use and incarceration, so you don’t have others to turn to. But you’re determined.
You get a steady but low-paying job at a fast food restaurant, the only place that will hire you. Soon you save up for a security deposit for your own apartment, a crucial step in regaining custody. Your apartment is bare and the complex is rundown, but you’re so proud to move into your own place, even if you’re sleeping on the floor. Your caseworker says she can help find the beds that you’ll need in order to have your kids live with you, through something called CarePortal. Meanwhile, your neighbor across the hall is moving out and offers to sell you a recliner, a big TV, and a table all for $200. You can sleep in the recliner, eat meals with your kids at the table, and you picture your kids watching their favorite shows on the TV -- so it’s an easy decision to scrape together $200 from your next couple of paychecks.
Soon you get a text from someone saying they have bunk beds to give you, and that they’re going to bring a few people and build the beds for you. Beds mean you’re one step closer to having your kids with you so you feel excited, but you also feel self-conscious about having people you don’t know in your dingy apartment. You don’t trust strangers easily, but you’ll do what you need to do for your kids.
- What do you think the mom might feel when strangers walk into her apartment?
- What do you think a stranger, who didn’t know the whole story, might think when they
walk in and see a big TV in a mostly empty apartment?
- How could the temptation to judge a family’s TV cause damage in this situation?
- What do you think God’s heart is for this mom?
- Even if you didn’t know the whole story walking into this situation, what could you
affirm or do to show honor and help dispel feelings of shame or judgment?