Once a week, I have a special time set aside for a special young friend. She arrives at my house, we hug, exchange greetings, and find a place to sit down. Sometimes we settle at the dining room table, sometimes the couch, sometimes a mat spread outside under the big tree. Some days there’s plenty of chatting and laughter; other days are more quiet. My friend has an artist’s mind, and so we usually meet over a particular project, be it a bag of markers and a piece of paper or a messy introduction to paper mache. She creates. And as I sit and supervise and offer suggestions and sometimes join in, I open my Bible.
We have a small study, copied out on a sheet of paper. It is called “My Father God.” Each week, we focus on a truth about our heavenly Father that specifically addresses a common misconception about his character. It’s very straightforward and very basic. But I know it is simultaneously weighty. My friend sometimes struggles with the idea of fatherhood. Her story is hers alone, and sometimes redeeming that story seems like a monumental undertaking.
She is needy.
I know that word has negative implications. I don’t think it should, really. Because what my friend needs is nothing more or less than what the rest of her peers need—what her biological relatives need—what her New Hope family needs—what I need.
Over and over, I am reminded that her need is not for me. Thank God, I am not the answer to her questions or her struggles. I am not the happy ending to her story. I am such a small piece of her journey.
And yet once a week, I have the incredibly overwhelming opportunity to be a vehicle of Truth. Most days, I feel completely inadequate. I know the right things to say, usually—but when we are there, face to face, two eternal souls, sometimes I don’t know where to begin.
So we are both of us needy, and our journeys are not independent of one another. We are both in need of the same Truth, the same Savior. And once a week, my need drives me with increased awareness to my Source, in the hope of walking with my friend to the very same place.
In the official wording, I am her mentor. In reality, we are both blessed to walk together to the feet of a very great Savior—the one who gathers the needy to himself.
“Christ Jesus came into the world to save sinners—of whom I am the worst. But for that very reason I was shown mercy so that in me, the worst of sinners, Christ Jesus might display his immense patience as an example for those who would believe in him and receive eternal life. Now to the King eternal, immortal, invisible, the only God, be honor and glory for ever and ever. Amen.”
1 Timothy 1:15-17