SALVATION ARMY: A New Song

Lt. Jared Martin

The beginning of a new year brought a former client through the door of The Salvation Army. It had been five years since the client had been to the office for assistance and she was hesitant to reach out for help again. Being a single mother to a child that has had severe health complications over the years has left her depleted of finances. Despite the hardship that brought her into the office she was so excited to talk about the positive changes that had occurred since we had last assisted her.

The client told me that she had previously been a resident of a nearby half-way home because she and her daughter were fleeing her abusive ex-husband. The home provided opportunities for her to build her skillset. One opportunity was a mandatory finance class where she learned to budget. Now that she has completed the program, she will be onboarding as a life coach to assist other mothers in the program facing hardship. Habitat for Humanity helped her and her daughter to find an affordable home. She was happy to report that her 11 year old daughter that has been gravely ill for years was finally placed on the list for a heart transplant. Because of her frequent trips to a children’s hospital in Washington D.C. all extra income goes towards gas as well as medical bills.

The client shared with me that she had once been hopeless, but has found hope since becoming part of a loving and supportive church for the past few of years. She explained that her daughter has taken up playing the violin and has had a couple of concerts at school. Not only has her daughter gained a skill, but her new hobby has improved her daughter’s mental health. The high stress of her daughter being sick has worn both of them down, but having a new focal point of learning a new skill, helping others, and being part of a supportive community has given them newfound hope.

The mother was eager to show me a video of her daughter playing the first song she learned on the violin. Her daughter is standing in her small bedroom that is decorated with Hello Kitty. As the girl moves the bow back and forth across the strings she looks up at the camera and smiles a shy grin. Her mom cheers her on and the girl giggles. I watched the mother as she played the video and could see the adoration she has for her little girl.

Paying a $68 utility bill didn’t change her daughter’s health or miraculously alleviate the pain of her past. We were a listening ear and a glimmer of hope. In the midst of adversity, this client will go on to mentor other women that find themselves in similar situations like she and her daughter were once in. She will continue to take her daughter to medical appointments and pray that she will one day be well. She will, as she put it, “rely on God every day”. At the end of the video that the client showed me she cheered and told her daughter, “I can’t wait for you to learn a new song!”  I can’t help but to think of the new song God has given them—hope.

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