What is so important about coffee cards and cupcakes? Angie* is. A little background information: Angie was referred to me by my good friends Fred and Joan Nelson over a year ago. She is 22 years old, has a three year old daughter and is a single mom. The father of the baby has skipped out and offers no financial support; Angie is on her own. She was working as a baker with early morning hours for $8.00 an hour, relying on food stamps and other government aid to make ends meet. At our first meeting, she was a bit hopeless and unsure of what her next steps should be. We talked about goals, likes, dislikes, ex-boyfriends, family, friends and Jesus. I discovered that Angie loves our Lord and desires a relationship with Him. That was easy. That was a year ago.
Bumps, trials, disappointments, layoffs, re-hire, angry outbursts, not taking advice, going off the radar, and finally walking out on her job of only 15 hours a week only to realize the potential for losing her apartment caused Angie to eventually reply to one of the weekly emails I had been sending her. Hot mess comes to mind. Now completely on government assistance, owing money to multiple people for rent, flat broke and humble, she was asking for help. She was ready.
What I have found out these last few years is it isn’t necessarily a bad thing to let them fall or ‘go off the radar’. What is hard, and a struggle I have with every one of the ladies I have the opportunity to meet is the unknown… will they call me back, was I too harsh in my advice and accountability, did I require too much, and what could I have changed in my approach with them? The only conclusion I have found is this: as long as I operate in God’s will, reevaluating each step isn’t the answer. What is the answer when they ‘go off the radar’ is… praying for God’s intervention, their safety and for the opportunity to present once more a relationship with them. That’s what happened with Angie, God intervened, I got a second chance and she was open to hearing advice and willing to walk the slow and arduous path back to stability (on many different levels). Isn’t God great!
Flash forward, my coffee card purchase along with a very special cupcake. Angie is working 40-50 hours a week, has been recognized several times for her hard work, is completely off government assistance, is attending a Financial Peace Management course (via scholarship), working on tools with regards to her anger management, learning the art of communication, working on parenting skills, and finally, relying on God’s will and trusting Him first before herself. That is a mouthful. Those of us who have been blessed in this life and chosen to make (for the most part) good decisions have no idea how hard and emotional this last year has been for Angie. In recognition of her diligence and personal success, albeit at times dragging her feet and quite possibly not liking me very much, I got to purchase a coffee card today. I am the lucky one, Angie allowed me to walk beside her, pray with her, at times chastise her (albeit with grace), laugh with her, and be amazed by her. She is my rock star and hopefully we will have coffee and cupcakes for years to come.
*Angie’s name has been changed
Lisa, Hope Education Network