But here is the bigger story. In my generation and my children's generation the stain has been washed away. And I believe the story lies in dozens of obituary notices telling of the women who married into that family and who were noted for their faith, their strength, their honor and their strong commitment to family. I deeply appreciate every one of those women and the men that married in and helped build strong foundations of faith, honor, integrity, hard work and families where love overcame evil. These folks are the real story.
Today record numbers of families are dealing with incarceration that too rarely leads to restoration and too often leads to a family legacy of pain and broken-living. But there are good women and men who have stepped up to offer stable, faith-driven homes to grandchildren, nieces and nephews, cousins, step-kids and foster kids. These are folks that, injured though they feel by the errors of the incarcerated and/or drug-addled loved one, step out in faith and offer their love, trusting God to help them find a better way for the next generation.
Like all of us they battle a culture that encourages self-will run riot living where promiscuity, pornography, a wide spectrum of mind-mangling drugs and materialism are praised while modesty, decency, generosity, simplicity, kindness and reserve are mocked and even assaulted. But these caregivers understand with stark clarity the wages of selfishness, lack of self-control and failure to anticipate the consequences of actions. The stakes are dauntingly high for them and for their communities.
There is no national "respite care" program or trendy charitable organization, few local resources and too many churches who, not know knowing what to say or do, say and do nothing to support and fortify these families.
Today, please pray for these care-givers and the children they love.
O Spirit of God, Holy Comforter! Sustain, enlighten, strengthen and empower those who care for children injured by the grievous errors of their parents. Send people to be Your hands and feet, caring for them, loving them, being a living example of Your hope, love and power. Help these caregivers to embrace and nurture their relationship with You, and by their faith introduce new life in You to them. Stir Your children to wise and appropriate help, to fervently pray for them and the children they care for and love. AMEN