Herman's story is getting harder to tell

I’m so behind on the updates. Seems like life and my 3 kids are gettin’ in the way of my blogging lifestyle.

Ah, who am I kidding? That’s just an excuse. The real reason I haven’t written is because this story is getting hard to tell.

But our promise was to tell you the story…

At the end of May we had a really beautiful birthday party for Herman. Ben wrote a great update that I’ll be posting on Wednesday, with some pictures from the party.

Last Monday, Ben and I visited Herman in prison.

Yes, Herman is in prison. He got locked up. There’s a convoluted story about him trying to cash a bad check in Chester. Of course we don’t suppose to know the whole truth.

Let me say right here – Ben and I are convinced more than ever that God himself helped us hand pick Herman. He’s easy to love and hard to love at the same time. Why is loving so complicated?

Two Wednesdays ago, we went looking for Herman and couldn’t find him in the usual spots.

Ben asked Delancy, “Hey Delancy, you seen Herman?”

Delancy responded, “I heard Herman got locked up.”

Ben and I looked at each other. Got in the car and headed to the one and only men’s prison in Wilmington – Gander Hill (pictured above). We found Herman – but we had to wait about a week to see him.

On our 1 hour visit – we talked to Herman through a glass window, with terrible old school pay-phone-like telephones that buzzed the whole time. It was like a painful hour long hearing test.

All this time we could go hang with Herman whenever we felt like it, all on our terms – until now. Now we were separated by glass. Glass is such a divider. It makes it worse that you can see through it.

Herman was wearing all white. He looked a little agitated. But he was happy to see us. At one point, he said “I knew if I got any visitors it would be you two. I knew you would find me.”

Ben and I took turns straining to hear Herman. We pieced together his story. Towards the end Ben got to say his last goodbyes to Herman, and I heard Ben say – “I love you Herman.” I could tell from Ben’s voice that he meant it. Like really meant it. (Ben moved to Houston last Wednesday. He’s going to be an amazing doctor.)

I told my children that Herman is in jail. Tonight I was praying with Eden. She asked me if she could pray. What did I say? Yes, of course! 4 year olds say the most amazing and beautiful prayers.

Eden prayed….”Jesus, help Herman to get out of jail soon.”

A simple prayer, that I know God heard.

I don’t know how to pray for Herman – except that he might truly be transformed by God. That God would change him. I know I can’t. And that God would provide for all his needs.

I was reminded again on Sunday to seek out compassion for Herman. Our Pastor was closing his sermon series on Hebrews. Right there at the end of Hebrews was a verse I needed to hear:

Remember those in prison, as if you were there yourself. Remember also those being mistreated, as if you felt their pain in your own bodies. Hebrews 13:3

In a way, Ben and I have earned a voice in Herman’s life – a voice that will hopefully call him to a new place in his life (maybe over time). At least we can give him that opportunity. I’m learning through this that I can’t change anyone. Only God can, and even if I do everything in my power to change someone – it’s still totally out of my control – you know?

Oh the money! Almost forgot. It’s been a while now that Ben and I have realized that Herman is not ready for an apartment. We were in the process of looking into a couple of programs in Wilmington that offer housing and drug and alcohol recovery assistance all together. At this point, we still hope to use the money directly for Herman – once he’s in a healthy place to receive. We’ve even talked about using the money for counseling.

Just in case you’re wondering – we’re not going to pocket the money! We’re not that lame, I promise. The money will sit in a separate account until we figure out how to spend it.

You know, in the end – money doesn’t solve anything. It’s not the answer.

14 comments

  • Who ever said redemption and reconciliation were nice and easy? Love, connection, and consistency can be messy, can be confusing, and is always a struggle.

    Keep loving – it’s always worth it!

  • Who ever said redemption and reconciliation were nice and easy? Love, connection, and consistency can be messy, can be confusing, and is always a struggle.

    Keep loving – it’s always worth it!

  • I will pray for Herman’s healing. Healing is not easily fixed with money, agreed. Healing is not a sit-com, get it done and happy ending thing. Healing, we learn, happens in God’s time, not our own. It says alot for the relationship between you three when he knew you would find them. Relationships are such as big part of the healing process.

  • I will pray for Herman’s healing. Healing is not easily fixed with money, agreed. Healing is not a sit-com, get it done and happy ending thing. Healing, we learn, happens in God’s time, not our own. It says alot for the relationship between you three when he knew you would find them. Relationships are such as big part of the healing process.

  • Thanks for the update. And thanks for not giving up on Herman. I think it’s very easy to allow our hearts to hardened when people don’t respond or behave the way we expect them to. I have clients that have made poor choices this week and gotten themselves kicked out of housing programs. I would love to fix it for them, but the truth is I can’t. Only God can change a heart. But I can make a conscious choice everyday to continue to love them in spite of their choices, even if that means backing up and allowing them to face consequences. That’s loving unconditionally. I ask myself sometimes, “Will I continue to love this person even if they never get their lives straight?” If I’m not willing to do this, then I’m not really loving them at all. It’s so hard sometimes.

    All that to say, thanks for loving Herman without conditions. I am choosing to love him too.

  • Thanks for the update. And thanks for not giving up on Herman. I think it’s very easy to allow our hearts to hardened when people don’t respond or behave the way we expect them to. I have clients that have made poor choices this week and gotten themselves kicked out of housing programs. I would love to fix it for them, but the truth is I can’t. Only God can change a heart. But I can make a conscious choice everyday to continue to love them in spite of their choices, even if that means backing up and allowing them to face consequences. That’s loving unconditionally. I ask myself sometimes, “Will I continue to love this person even if they never get their lives straight?” If I’m not willing to do this, then I’m not really loving them at all. It’s so hard sometimes.

    All that to say, thanks for loving Herman without conditions. I am choosing to love him too.

  • Thanks for the update. It is a reminder that the love Christ has for us goes further than we could imagine, and our love for others can in a small way reflect it.

  • Thanks for the update. It is a reminder that the love Christ has for us goes further than we could imagine, and our love for others can in a small way reflect it.

  • Jesus said in Mark 2:17 “It is not the healthy who need a doctor, but the sick. I have not come to call the righteous, but sinners.”

    His grace is sufficient, even for Herman (or me, or you).

    Keep loving him.

  • Jesus said in Mark 2:17 “It is not the healthy who need a doctor, but the sick. I have not come to call the righteous, but sinners.”

    His grace is sufficient, even for Herman (or me, or you).

    Keep loving him.

  • Thanks to all of you that have commented on this post. And thanks for encouraging us to love Herman.

    I agree w/ Ken – keep loving
    I agree w/Deana – relationships are essential and used by God when people are spiritually healed and reconciled to God
    I agree w/Shanda – Love w/out conditions and choose to love
    I agree w/Curtis – Christ’s love goes further than we imagine (well said!)
    I agree w/Andy – His grace is sufficient…even for me…even for Herman.

  • Thanks to all of you that have commented on this post. And thanks for encouraging us to love Herman.

    I agree w/ Ken – keep loving
    I agree w/Deana – relationships are essential and used by God when people are spiritually healed and reconciled to God
    I agree w/Shanda – Love w/out conditions and choose to love
    I agree w/Curtis – Christ’s love goes further than we imagine (well said!)
    I agree w/Andy – His grace is sufficient…even for me…even for Herman.

  • I was thinking about Herman today and how all of our stories with Christ have so many similarities w/ Herman’s story. We’re unlovable, yet God chose to love us. He finds *us*, often in the midst of crazy life circumstances. He’s with us even when we’re facing the earthly consequences of our sin. He is prepared to offer us a safe harbor, yet we so often choose not to take hold of what he’s offering. Yet he keeps pursuing us.

    When I think of homelessness, addiction, and lifestyle in these terms, I realize how much the darkest corners of my heart can resemble Herman’s outward life.

    “Everyone needs compassion
    A love that’s never failing
    Let mercy fall on me
    Everyone needs forgiveness
    A kindness of a Savior
    The hope of nations

    My Savior
    He can move the mountains
    My God is Mighty to save
    He is Mighty to save…”

  • I was thinking about Herman today and how all of our stories with Christ have so many similarities w/ Herman’s story. We’re unlovable, yet God chose to love us. He finds *us*, often in the midst of crazy life circumstances. He’s with us even when we’re facing the earthly consequences of our sin. He is prepared to offer us a safe harbor, yet we so often choose not to take hold of what he’s offering. Yet he keeps pursuing us.

    When I think of homelessness, addiction, and lifestyle in these terms, I realize how much the darkest corners of my heart can resemble Herman’s outward life.

    “Everyone needs compassion
    A love that’s never failing
    Let mercy fall on me
    Everyone needs forgiveness
    A kindness of a Savior
    The hope of nations

    My Savior
    He can move the mountains
    My God is Mighty to save
    He is Mighty to save…”

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