October 18th, 2011 at 1:22 pm
Constant family changes. Brokenness. Fewer family supports. Hurt. Struggle.
All of these characteristics often appear in the lives of families and individuals who live in multi-housing areas. It’s easy to walk right past the emotions of the characteristics, past the heartache that follows.
Ty’s story is a good example of this. Ty is a young boy who lives in a medium-sized Texas town and represents many other young children who live in the world of multi-housing.
His story, shared from the perspective of a Texas Baptists multi-housing leader, shows the reality that many encounter but also the hope that can come.
Yesterday, Ty told me his mom was back in jail. Again.
Ty is 12. I’ve known him since he was six. She’s been in and out of jail that whole time. His dad split the moment he found out he was going to be a dad, so Ty’s disabled grandmother raises him, his little brother and their infant sister. She’s a sweet lady who does her best.
I remember how excited Ty was two summers ago when his mom was getting out. This time she was going to change. Get a job. Go to church. Raise her boys. Help take care of her mom. Life was going to be better for everyone. And it was… for a few months anyway.
But then came the partying and the drugs and the fights with grandma and the disappearing for weeks at a time and the pregnancy and the birth and more disappearing and fighting. And then another arrest, this time for parole violation. Now she’s gone for another year.
“I’m sorry, Ty. How are you doing?” I asked.
His eyes teared up, but he stopped them from flowing. His face hardened. “I’m okay, I guess. I’m used to it. I’m just glad my sister never got too attached to her, so she’s not too upset or anything.”
Ty’s used to the disappointment.
I’m used to hearing stories like that one. I wish I wasn’t, but I am. We live in a fallen, broken world. I know so many kids like Ty who have to live with pain so undeserved, so unfair.
But there is hope. Ty knows Jesus. Ty knows God loves him more than an earthly dad ever could. Ty knows there’s a better way to live.
I told him yesterday that his kids wouldn’t have to live like him. That he’d stick it out, that he’d marry a good woman, and have a great family. That he’d be a good dad, a good husband.
He smiled a bit, chuckled, and said, “Yeah…”
Ty’s story was used with permission from Lindsay Cofield, Texas Baptists multi-housing and organic church ministries director. To learn more about ways you can make a difference in the lives of other kids like Ty, visit the Texas Baptists multi-housing webpage.
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