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For the single mothers living at Joshua Station (all 25 families here currently are led by single moms), life has been characterized by broken promises. Fathers who swore they would always be there for the kids. Ex-husbands who claimed they would never hit them. Family members who somehow always forgot to pay back borrowed money. For these women, it is only safe to have low expectations.
It was in that context that our small group at church endeavored to plan an event for the women of Joshua Station which inverted that pattern. Exceeded expectations…instead of lowered. Fulfilled promises…instead of broken. Alli and I were thrilled when the plans started coming together and we truly took a backseat in the process as the generous and enthusiastic members of our group took the lead. They each brought their own creativity, energy and passions into the planning. After many discussions, we settled on doing a “Ladies Night Out,” featuring spa treatments, massage, desserts, live music and foot-washing.
St. Augustine ends one of his famous quotes by saying, “And in all things, charity.” From the beginning, our group’s unstated motto exclaimed, “And in all things, luxury.” Each member of our group found ways to ratchet it up a notch.  Nothing was done cheaply, as if anything they could do was “good enough.” One group member asked her masseuse to volunteer for the event. Another member recognized a large percentage of the moms were Latina so she made culturally-sensitive desserts. And together the group hand-made neck-warmers, facial scrubs and foot baths. To top it off, the transportation for the evening was a stretch-SUV limousine.
By all accounts, the evening was a smashing success. The men in our group watched the herd of kids for the evening, allowing the moms to have a free night, and the women in our small group lavished the Joshua Station mothers with an evening fit for even the most elite women in the most prestigious country club. For at least one night, we wanted each of these women to know they were created for dignity by a God who knows and loves each one of them uniquely. For at least one night, they were the honored guests. For at least one night, they were given the very best.
In many ways, our goal was to reflect the love our Savior demonstrated in choosing, as omnipotent Creator, again and again, to lavish each of us with exceeding grace. And from the comments we heard from the guests, that message was clear. One of the mothers commented after the evening that “the hosts just kept surprising us.” Another wrote this in her heartfelt thank-you note:

It is inspirational and authentic to be shown true respect and “feel the love” one human to another in the manner you ladies demonstrated the other night.

The members of our small group communicated worth, honor and respect to these women who are all too accustomed to broken promises. It was beautiful to observe this extravagance on the margins.
Thanks to our community group member & photographer, Elizabeth Strauss, for the photos.