“We both know I’m not going to change, so I won’t waste your time pretending that I will. I don’t like the way things are, but I’m too scared to actually do anything different.”
Her words stung. I was suddenly deeply aware of this world’s suffering. We were sitting in the car outside her apartment, hashing out the details of the drama from the weekend before. Friends had lied. Ex-lovers had manipulated. She was left feeling abused, alone, and scared. My heart broke for this beautiful woman I’ve known since my first week at Outreach.
And then I remembered.
She had said those words before. It was as clear as if it was yesterday. Six months ago she sat in my car and said, “We both know I’m not going to change, so I won’t waste your time pretending that I will. I want to leave, but I’m too scared to really do it.” She was referring to leaving her abusive girlfriend, the girlfriend she had left before but always came back to. The girlfriend that had left her body bloodied and bruised. The girlfriend who separated her from all their friends. The girlfriend who had somehow convinced her she needed their relationship more than life itself.
Except it was six months later, and she had left that girlfriend. They hadn’t been together in more than four months. Hope welled up in me! The joy of God’s faithfulness surged through my veins!
I looked at her, tears welling up in my eyes, “You’ve said that before. And you were wrong. Remember six months ago when you said the same thing about leaving? You told me I shouldn’t waste my time listening to you and you wouldn’t waste your time talking about it. But you did leave. You did leave! I had hope for you then, when you couldn’t hope for yourself. I have hope for you today too. God’s got His eyes on you, beautiful girl. He has proven faithful. I’m going to pray He gives you the strength to get through this one too.”
She smiled. She remembered. I think a little bit of hope welled up in her too.
That is what Outreach is made of: Hours and days and months and years of walking alongside reminding youth when they forget that God is faithful, that they are resilient, and that there is always hope.