A few years ago a young woman(whom I'll call Sue) providentially crossed my path at the high school where I work. She is an exceptionally bright young woman who faces daunting hardships in her personal life. She is the daughter of a dysfunctional woman who is her birth mother. In reality Sue is the actual "Mom" in this household. She is the one who holds the home together and provides the emotional (and often economic) support for her birth mother and her siblings. There is no Dad on the scene, I don't think she even knows who her birth father is. There have been a string of deadbeat males who have camped out in the house in order to take advantage of whatever economic benefits may come the way of this family through state support, but none of these males has ever held a job or seems to have any inclination to hold a job.
Sue is fiercely loyal to her Mom and her Mom is completely dependent upon Sue. This is making it very, very difficult for Sue to embark on a life of her own. At the end of the school year last year, she had the opportunity to attend a community college in another city, but her Mother kept begging her not to leave, because she can't do without her--a heavy garment for a young woman of 17 to wear and to shed.
She stops in at my office a few times a week, we chat, I give what encouragement I can. We often go out for coffee or a meal. But the whirlpool of guilt and misplaced responsibility is a hard one for her to escape.
She gave me this rose for Mother's Day last May. I'm quite sure it meant she went without lunch that day; there is no such thing as expendable income in her world. It was on its last legs when she gave it to me, the leaves were yellowed and wilting and it was dried out. I was determined to make this rose thrive....perhaps because I could "control" its environment. I can't control Sue's. I transplanted it into new soil in a slightly larger pot, I fertilized it, I put it outside so it could get some good light, I sprayed it when powdery mildew tried to take hold and low and behold, it has thrived and bloomed. I'm delighted--in a bittersweet way, as I wish it were as easy to help Sue thrive.
Please join me in praying for Sue and the obstacles she faces. Pray that I will give good advice, pray that she might see her Heavenly Father in me and that she might know Him and His love and its true and transformative power. May she bloom where He plants her.