Last week, we once again experienced the battle of readiness.
We were connected with a young girl who had finally come to the realization that for the past five years, her life had been far from normal and that she needed help. She had already suffered from a heavy meth addiction and was only 21-years-old. This addiction partnered with other difficult circumstances and life choices, led her down a path of destruction, instability, and loneliness.
As we began to meet with her, we heard over and over again about how she wanted a different life. What is harder to discern is if someone is willing to put in the hard work it is going to take to successfully get that new life. [This is where most people fall short- they have the desire to change but when the road becomes rough, their perseverance isn’t there.] She had decided that she wanted to go to a rehabilitation program that was out of town. This usually takes time; maybe a week, maybe two weeks, but it is rarely ever immediate. We were left with a choice- how do we temporarily help this girl before she receives the long term treatment she needs? Her immediate needs were things like a home, food, clothing, places to go during the day, things to do at night, and people to be around that were not controlled by drugs. Typically, people who desire help do not have any of these things and therefore do not last long enough to get to where they need to go! But this girl had something going for her that other addicts lack: she had a group of people that were willing to rally around her and help her get to where she wants to go. For six days we had people willing to give their homes, time, food, clothes, families, and more to help give this young girl a chance to succeed in life. Many of the addicts we work with have burned all of the bridges that they once had in their lives. This can leave them feeling hopeless, and that there is no way out of their current circumstances.
We hope to confront that fear of being alone and without hope, and relieve it. The goal of Urban Purpose is to walk beside people who are in difficult situations and help them find their way out of it, so that they may begin to lead the life God intended for them to lead.
We were able to take our friend to a rehabilitation center in Mississippi where she will be for a month (thanks to a partnership with a local church body in Birmingham). After this month, we hope to walk with her during the time of transition into a more normal and stable life. We look forward to the future she has in store!!
The people we have the opportunity to work with come from all different backgrounds. We’ve worked with people that were living in homeless shelters, housing projects, double-wides, under bridges, and in nice homes in the suburbs. Some of them graduated from high school, some of them dropped out, some got their GED, some didn’t make it out of elementary school, and some got scholarships to go to college. They all carry different baggage from past decisions and circumstances. They battle different addictions and wrestle with a variety of mental health issues. Some of them don’t have a relationship with their family, some of them don’t know who their dad is, some of them wish they didn’t know who their dad is, and some of them have loving parents that we’ve had the opportunity to walk with while their child struggles along this journey.
And while so much of what each person brings to the table is different, so much of it is exactly the same. They’re all lonely. They all feel isolated. And they all struggle to cope with the myriad of issues and emotions that come from this loneliness.
So, while many of us can’t sympathize with a lot of what these folks are struggling with, we can sympathize with their loneliness. We may never have battled addiction, been in trouble beyond a speeding ticket, or wondered where we were going to sleep each night. But all of us have experienced times of intense loneliness in our lives. We’ve felt isolated and alone. We’ve wondered if anyone cared about or understood what we were going through. And we’ve all longed to have people walk with us through our struggles.
This is something that God has been teaching us a lot about lately. For a long time we thought we understood what it meant to invest in and build relationships with the people we’re working with. Lately we’re beginning to understand just how much deeper the issue of loneliness truly is in the lives of those we work with.
This is why the theme of our year-end campaign is Never Alone. It’s something we can all resonate with and it’s something we can all fight for in the lives of those we’re called to love. We wanted to tell you some of the stories of those we’ve worked with and how God has led us to walk with them over the years. But we also want you to pray with us and for us as we continue to grow in our understanding of how much further we need to go in surrounding those God has put in our lives with gospel-centered intentional community. You can click here to read a few stories of people we’ve worked with over the years. We’ll also be posting some new stories here on the blog in the coming weeks. Thanks so much for all of your prayers and support. We hope you all have a great Christmas.