Redemption Day.

Growing up nearly 2 years older than my brother John, ensured that for the first 10 years of life, I believed girls could be bigger and stronger than boys. As John was my first playmate in life, we used to wrestle on the floor like boys and play “shop” like girls, intermittently throughout any given afternoon. “Wrestling” continued up until the age of about 10 when all of a sudden, a red mist descended as I tried to headlock my brother. In attempting this, reality hit me. At the age of 8 John was now stronger than me. This had to be the best day of John’s life. He let me in on this by grappling my arms behind my back, sitting on them and walloping my head many times with the hardest cushion in our living room. He laughed like he’d been dreaming about this day his entire life. hee hee! Love you John 😉

So now, instead of believing girls could be strong based on life with my brother… I had to rely on my favourite TV show, Cagney & Lacey. Two police detectives working together in Manhattan, solving crimes. The reason I tell you all of this, is to say that yesterday was my first “Cagney & Lacey” type of day in PE. It was beautiful from beginning to end. I write this blog because I don’t ever want to forget it.

I wanted to be Lacey (the one on the left).

I arrived to the Children’s Court Magistrate with our sibling group at 9a.m. These children have been living with us now for many months but their Social Worker had not managed to locate their biological Mum during this time. The children had been removed from home months ago by the police, due to a crisis. A letter was sent to this Mum’s home address informing her about the court date. And she arrived! 🙂

After many reconciliatory tears, we entered the Court Room. The Court Judge recommended that as it has taken this length of time to locate Mum, we must bring her to home affairs in order to procure ID books for the children today. (Their homebirths were never registered). However, the problem here is that Mum’s birth was also never registered, and she has been estranged from her biological mother (aka “Granny”) for almost 10 years. The only solution here, is to find this Granny, and bring her, along with Mum & children, to Home Affairs to have their births registered. Here, ID books can be issued to Mum & the children. The Mother and estranged Grandmother’s surnames are different, so an affidavit must first be procured from a local police station confirming Mum & Granny to be biological mother & daughter. Then, we must attend Home Affairs to get the ID books which will in turn allow these children to get a birth certificate, attend school, procure work etc.

I look at the Social Worker and the Social Worker looks at me. Can we do this? Granny lives in Motherwell. A township location with a population of at least 100, 000 situated 30 kms away. The queues in Home Affairs are notorious… will we get there on time with Mum, Granny & kids? It’s raining outside so that is on our side. Less people travel to Home Affairs in wintery conditions… this might just work. All of a sudden, my Social Worker friend & I are… Cagney & Lacey 🙂

It is now 11a.m. Home affairs closes at 3.30 but sometimes if there is no-one waiting to be seen, it closes early. The pressure is on. Whilst awaiting the Court Order paper work, I pray for the children’s Mum. She weeps as the love of God begins to fill her heart and I can see shame beginning to break off this young woman.  In broken Xhosa I tell her that I can see she loves her children. That Jesus loves her and her children very much. That by enabling her children to get ID books and having their births registered, this now means their whole futures are about to change. I tell her she is a good mother because she is doing the best she can for her children. She weeps and says in Xhosa “my Mom hates me”. I say “your Mom will be proud of you when she sees you doing the right thing for your children. You have beautiful children. They are a blessing to you.” More weeping. God is doing something special here.

We load kids, Mum & Social Worker into the car. 1st stop = lunch for the kids. Our Social Worker grabs food they can eat in the car & we start pushing the pedal to the floor to weave through traffic on our way to find Granny in Motherwell township. I drive like a taxi driver. Mum weeps feeding her youngest in the back of the car… at 12.36pm we arrive in Motherwell. This whole time we have been praying for reconciliation and redemption to reign in this family. We arrive at Granny’s house. She is not there, but the children’s Aunty is. She gets into the car and directs us to the house Granny is currently living in. We arrive at the house 1.15pm. Granny is now no longer living there, but there is another Aunty and she assures us she knows the whereabouts of Granny. She climbs into the car (there are now 8 people in our 7 seater!) and we drive as fast as we can in the rain, to Granny’s house.

We find Granny. She is now the 9th person to sit in our 7 seater… squashed up close beside her daughter that she has neither seen nor spoken to in nearly 10 years. God has a sense of humour. Bar the children’s voices there is silence in the car… and a lot of squashing and rearranging of bodies as we now have to return two Aunties to their homes. They cannot walk as it is too far to walk in the rain. A rainbow appears & I remember the song “whenever you see a rainbow… remember God is love”.

We drop the two sisters home & then make our way to the police station to have an affidavit made out confirming Granny & Mother’s biological relationship. In the car, Cagney (my new best friend) & I pray that we are going to get to Home Affairs on time. It’s 2.30pm. In the car, I thank Mum & Granny for doing the right thing & helping these beautiful siblings to get their ID numbers. They exchange a few short sentences in Xhosa, with tears. Granny has never been introduced to any of her grandchildren before. By the time we fetch Granny’s ID book (from yet another house in Motherwell Township) and get the affidavit signed, it is 3.15. Due to pot holes, rain and rocks in the township roads, our car now has more than a few extra scrapes along the bottom. In some ways I am glad. They will help me remember this day.

Cagney and I (Lacey) admit the painful truth that we are never going to get to Home Affairs in 15 minutes. Granny then informs us that as Motherwell township is so big, they have their own Home Affairs department! YES! Cagney & I start praying in tongues and the whole car is now praying we get there on time. Granny gives directions in broken English (GPS is useless in Motherwell). We arrive at Home Affairs by 3.29pm!!!!!! We are the only people there (because of the rain) & so we are attended to immediately! What a day!!!! The children’s Mum was able to make an application for an ID number there and then & in a number of short months, our siblings are going to receive their ID numbers…

Praise the Lord! He is good & He restores all things!!! Not only are these children now able to receive registration of their birth, but this family once fractured with years of estrangement, have now worked together as a team, for the sake of their children/grandchildren.

This is the redemptive power of God. This is healing. This is restoration. God is the God of family & the God who heals all of these relationships for the sake of the children & for the sake of their parents.

Amen.

We then left Granny, Mum & Social Worker (Cagney) home. I will never forget how brightly that rainbow radiated in the sky, on the day God made a way for this family to begin the journey of redemption.

2015-06-04 10.43.58

A poster on the wall of the Children’s Magistrate Court, stating: “If we can heal the family, we can heal the world”.

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