My girlies.
My lovelies.
My princesses.

These are some of the words I use to describe the young women that choose to come to The Sparrow’s Nest. I hold my breath while they make the decision to come and I revel in God’s timing for each one. I hold my breath when they leave willing myself to trust that same God to guard and protect their fragile hearts, minds, and bodies.

I know I break and have broken professional boundaries. There is a reason they say out in the world to not get too close. To not let them into your personal lives. But they allow me into theirs. So shouldn’t I allow at least a glimpse into mine.

But I have been entrusted with their incredible lives and the precious lives of their babies. I know without a doubt I have been created to protect life and to make pathways for that life to flourish and to grow. When you are a protector you are fierce. You are a fighter. You naturally are a defender.

But if I have been entrusted with their lives maybe it is wrong of me to call them “mine.” They clearly belong to my Heavenly Father. They are a daughter of the King. They just don’t know how to wear their crown yet.

I received devastating news this afternoon that has left me almost completely immobile in my bed. I don’t know hardly any details at all except one of Sparrow princesses has been murdered and her little boy is in critical condition.

I don’t get it. I don’t understand. I feel powerless. The demons in my head are taunting me saying “see, you are not making a difference at all, there is nothing to save here, what is done is done and nothing can change.” I question whether I could have done more. When all my red flags are going off in my head when I see social media posts from all of the girls but for Ali, Could I have somehow saved her?

Then a still small voice whispers to me “I brought you Ali when she was most responsive to Me and My love. I brought her to you when you needed your chin lifted as well.”

Our code text to the board and staff when Ali decided to move in with Baby K was “A GIRL IS IN THE CASTLE!!”
Our dream was being realized and God was starting with one who needed so desperately to be reminded she was His princess. I remember when Ali came to the Daddy Daughter Dance and took the mike away from the emcee and so bravely shared her testimony and reminded the guests why they were there. They were there for her and for girls like her.

Ali was brash, and loud, but contemplative and receptive. Baby K was her world and she did the best she could with the knowledge she had. I remember one of her visits back to us asking again about budgeting. I loved getting all the texts of her trying to go back to school, finding a job, trying to live on her own and posts and posts of her beautiful little boy she loved so very much. She had so many strikes against her. Some of her own doing, some of those around her but she kept getting back up. She was a sassy fighter.

Maybe it isn’t so wrong of me to call Ali mine. She was a gift to me from God to show His faithfulness, to show the real battle around all these beautiful young hearts. Maybe it’s not wrong of me to call Lashonda, Brianna, Azarhe, Lauren, Chi, Maddy, Jasmine, Jodie, Brooke, Teddy, and so many others my lovelies. It hurts to love them but it is who I am. I cannot give up on my girlies and their babies.

Tonight, I am “hard pressed on every side, but not crushed; perplexed, but not in despair; persecuted, but not abandoned; struck down, but not destroyed. We always carry around in our body the death of Jesus, so that the life of Jesus may also be revealed in our body. For we who are alive are always being given over to death for Jesus’ sake, so that his life may also be revealed in our mortal body. So then, death is at work in us, but life is at work in you.”