27 Jun His Love is Better
An ordinary story about God’s extraordinary work through a mentor’s relationship with
a boy aging-out of foster care.
“As I got older and noticed more and more how broken this world was, I started to believe that much of the brokenness starts in the home. Having come from a home filled with the love of two parents that were very involved with my life, I started to see the advantages that I had. Just the fact that I was loved by my family may seem like a given but this is not true in today’s society. My sole hope for Matthew is that he will come to know God’s love through me, that he will know he has a father who loves him and that His love is better than anything in this world.
I had a decent understanding of this love growing up, but I did not know Jesus like I know Him today. It is not enough to just have great parents or a great home life, I needed to know Jesus and experience His love. How I ended up being a heroin addict and causing all sorts of turmoil in my family’s life makes no sense, I was set up for success by my family yet I still managed to stray from the path so to speak. I didn’t know God truly and it took my addiction to break down my walls and self pride so I could see how great God was through the demonstration of His love for us through Jesus Christ. As I work with Matthew, I pray that God will reveal himself to him, but I also pray that until that time, I continue to be faithful to Matthew and to love him unconditionally. Matthew has had such a hard life and does not know what love is. His thought process around love is so jaded. Even through my addiction I can look back and see that God never left me, he was constantly there waiting for me to just reach out to him.
When I finally let go and invited Him into my life, I was drastically changed by the overflow of His love. This love is what I pray for Matthew to see.
Matthew and I have been meeting together for a year and it has been tough and frustrating at times. However, when I see a victory happen in our relationship, I am overcome with a joy that is indescribable. When we first met, Matthew would not look at me in the face and would barely respond to my questions. He would often talk/joke about suicide and express that he hated his life and there was no hope. I cannot honestly say that Matthew still does not struggle with depression and suicidal thoughts, but I can say his overall demeanor towards life has changed drastically over the last year. The smile that I see on his face when I pick him up is contagious and most of our time is now filled with laughter and joy. The fact that he looks forward to seeing me and that he knows I am going to be there when I am say I am, just brings me to tears. This is just a small demonstration of Gods love through me and I cannot wait for Matthew to fully feel it for himself.
Half a year ago Matthew opened up to me about some of the abuse that had taken place while he was growing up. This was a major breakthrough in our relationship and it was so hard to hear about what he had been through. I am not a trained psychologist or therapist but I do know what Matthew is missing and that is love. All I had to do was listen and let him get it out. This demonstrated the trust that has been given to me by Matthew and gave me the opportunity to share some of my testimony with him and to show that I do know what hopelessness looks like and I too also wanted to end my life.
Now our stories may be different, but Matthew was able to see some of the similarities we shared. He was also able to see the victory Jesus had in my life.
Of course, Matthew does not share my faith but it definitely made him think. Could I really have recovered from that dark place? He asked me that day why I even bothered to show up anymore and that it was hopeless, his life would never get better. My response to him was that God placed me in his life for a reason, even if he did not believe it.
He was right though, why did I continue to show up? At that point in our relationship Matthew was somewhat abrasive towards me and he usually did not do anything that I asked him to do and it seemed he wanted to get rid of me.
This is where I can say that it is not my own doing but God working through me that I continued to show up, that I continued to pray/plead with Jesus that Matthew would see a glimmer of His love.
I am grateful to say on that day, Matthew did see a glimmer of God’s love, even if he didn’t recognize it.
I am not doing any groundbreaking work here, I am just showing up when I say I will and hanging out with him like a friend. I try and remove obstacles from his path to help him be successful but I know I have to allow him to do things on his own. I help him with job interviews and sometimes speak with managers to advocate for him since he struggles with anxiety and social interactions. I helped him get enrolled at ACC and made sure he never had an excuse not to show up for work or school. These are all great things but the whole goal here is for Matthew to see what true love is through my commitment to him.
Matthew craves for someone to be proud of him and to be loved for who he is. Everything I do is just an overflow of the love that God has shown me.
As I continue to mentor Matthew my life has proceeded to get busier and busier. Between work, my marriage, volunteering with RBI, serving in the church, hanging out with Matthew, and trying to maintain a social life, I am amazed at how God continues to provide me with the strength and endurance to maintain it all. I do not say this to humble brag but to demonstrate how much God is working through me. Without Jesus I am a selfish self-centered person who could care less about helping others. My life before Jesus consisted of selling/doing drugs, lying and manipulating others, and just overall being a terrible person. When Christ entered my life and I experienced His love for the first time, I was forever changed. Without Christ I would not be where I am at today.
My faith does not rely on blessings from The Lord, it relies on the truth of the Gospel and the knowledge of God’s love for His people. I pray that God will continue to use to me demonstrate His love towards others and that one day Matthew too will experience it and share it with others!”