"where there is despair, hope" - Prayer of St. Francis series

Today's guest post in my Prayer of St. Francis series is my Mum! After reading her story below, I think you'll agree she doesn't need any more of an introduction...

Once a week I volunteer at the Court House. I start out helping to serve tea and coffee and then go one on one in the Salvation Army’s Positive Lifestyle Program.
The foyer of the Court House is a good place to watch the agony, despair and sometimes joy and relief of the people brought together in this place. You get to hear their stories as they stand waiting, cuppa in hand.
The despair of the young girl who had been raped and didn’t feel she could go into court to testify. The tears of her mother were heart breaking.
The mother just wanting to take her daughter home: the daughter had lost her baby the night before in the cells, been taken to hospital but was back in the cells awaiting sentencing.
And the young man the same age as my youngest son, afraid that he would go back inside, angry with everyone especially God."Why did God let me get raped last time I was inside?" I didn’t have answers that he wanted to hear and I prayed for him.
Such despair and pain, and today as the young woman told me that the police would allow her to see photos taken of her when she was savagely attacked two years ago, I asked her did she really want to see them, and as the tears slid down her face she nodded yes she needed closure this may help.
How do you give hope in such situations?

The court chaplains going into the cells to pray with people to be with their families offering support. Prayer can be such a comfort, a healing place.
The support workers going into court with them, offering advice to family and backup.
Sometimes just the offering of a cup of tea, someone to listen, a smile, a hug if necessary.
I went on a Hope Women’s Retreat. The Bible verse for the weekend was Jeremiah 29:11:  “For I know the plans I have for you," declares the Lord, "plans to prosper you and not harm you, plans for a hope and a future.”
Hope and a future…..the teams members of course knew each other, but the invited women did not. They came alone, unsure what the weekend held for them. 

Broken women who had been battling abuse, addiction, break up of marriages, loss of children. It was to be a weekend when a group of women, each broken in her own way and in despair came searching for hope and a future. To be made feel whole and worthy, loved in God’s eyes, His chosen daughters. 

Many tears were shed as stories were told, nightmares relived. All of us carried our own hurts and despair. But with laughter, lots of love and care, we all came away renewed. Hope for better days ahead, for some direction and a place to go for support. 
What carried us through the most though was prayer. 
Where there is despair, please Lord, let there always be hope.

(To read other posts in the Prayer of St. Francis series, click here.)


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