Her insurance elapsed due to miscommunication with her Adult Rehabilitative Mental Health Service (ARMS) worker.  Now, she has no worker, no insurance for her and her five kids, and must navigate the system alone.  It is tough.  The requirements for regaining insurance are just a mess of dead ends and road construction detours.  She has to gather all of her kid's birth certificates.  Sounds easy, but the last two babies- now 4 and 2- were in foster care and have never had birth certificates.   The cost is $26 a kid.  Not affordable.  Social security cards, on the other hand, are free once she's gathered all the information they require- which is proving to be another battle and lots of driving to the SS office with nothing to show for it.  On top of this, money is tight because paychecks from child support are suddenly behind.  She is getting desperate.  She prays to God for help, for someone to come and show her how to make use of the dry goods in her pantry.  Then, she throws a birthday party for her daughter and invites my kids.  She makes a meal and two cakes, a real accomplishment for her since regular, everyday tasks are so daunting.  We are the only ones there to celebrate her daughter's birthday.  

As I stood bouncing my baby and chatting with her kids and her daughter's dad, I realized just how difficult things had been lately.  I had had both of her boys for a couple of months as my foster babies, and, in both instances, things resolved quickly and she regained parental rights.  That was 2 years ago.  I turned to the mom and congratulated her on preparing such a great party.  She beamed at the compliment; she is not used to getting any praise.  Then, I remembered I had told her I would help show her how to make rice. "While I am here, would you like me to show you how to cook rice?"  I asked when there was a lull in the conversation.  "Yes," she responded quickly while running over to her cupboard to show me her meager stock of supplies.  Something within me prodded me to ask, "And would you like me to show you some things you could do to cook with what you already have?"  She just kind of looked at me dazed for a moment before agreeing.  I didn't really think anything of it.  Sometimes she can be hard to understand with her bells palsy or when her dentures are out, but I just went on to teach her a couple of things while the kids played in the backyard. I left grateful that I had a chance to help support her as a mom once again. 

In the morning, I got the most precious text from her saying that the reason she didn't know how to react to my offer of help was because she had cried out to Jesus the night before- for help to make her food stretch.  I was humbled to have been the answer to that prayer.  I didn't feel like I had really done much, but to her it meant God still cared about her and heard her cry for help.  I rejoiced with her and let her of God's word: "I prayed to the LORD, and he answered me. He freed me from all my fears." Psalms 34:4.

Kirsten Solberg