I have a friend who has no memory of a father and a vague memory of her mother. She grew up “in the system” and family love is foreign to her. She says “I don’t do Christmas,” but she is entranced by the decorated trees, lights, and Christmas music. She doesn’t want to be around families at Christmas, she says, because she’s “uncomfortable.” I think that’s code for being miserable about what she’s missed out on.
Her primary word is “sorry.” She’s been so battered, so abused, so accused, that it is always her first response. She has learned the power of apology, but she over-uses it. She says “sorry” for closing the door loudly, for dozing off while watching tv, for making a comment during a tv show, for not eating enough, for eating too much. She apologizes for everything she does. I plead with her to stop saying “sorry” so much, and immediately she says “sorry.”
I met her because she was my husband’s student at the university. He often mentioned her and the obstacles she faced, especially with health issues, which remain. It is hard to keep a job when you have attacks of pancreatitis, throw up, pass out, and are sent via EMTs to the hospital over and over. But with no insurance, how can she afford the meds she needs?
I pray for her soul. I talk to her about God and his love for her. Finally, once, she said, “I try to talk to him but I don’t know how. I just feel worse after that.” She can’t use the word “pray,” but that’s what she’s trying, and I get a small bit of encouragement from that. I tell her that feeling worse is part of the answer to her prayer, because God is reminding her not to make the poor choices she has been making.
I can’t force her to make better choices, but I can remind her that she is in charge of her life and God wants to help her with it. I keep praying for her, and I’m confident God is working in her life.
Yesterday in our Life Group we read Isaiah 40:31, and I saw that I am waiting on the Lord with her. It’s just hard when I want him to work more quickly. But maybe I’m impatient for selfish reasons–to avoid the time I give to her and her dysfunction. Guess I’d better pray for myself on that!