Tim Altman is the CEO of the Dawson McAllister Association, which oversees both TheHopeLine and the radio content that sends youth in need to it. Tim wrote the following post.
Tim Bishop asked if I would consider writing a guest blog or two that he could post on their website during the TheHopeLine Tour of 2014. I agreed but quickly set the thought aside. Then I met a woman whose story had to be told.
A few days ago I played golf for the first time in a year. My friend and I went to a public course at a nearby state park. Arriving at lunch time, we stopped at the snack bar for a hot dog and cold drink before hitting the first tee. A very kind woman took our order and filled it quickly. Because the course was operated by the state she was a state employee. My golfing buddy had also been a state employee and they struck up a conversation which included discovering mutual friends.
As they were finishing their chat, she turned to me and asked if I had been a state employee too. I answered no, and briefly described the work of the Dawson McAllister Association, the non-profit organization at which I serve. I shared our mission of rescuing teenagers and young adults through our radio broadcasts and our one-on-one call and chat center, TheHopeLine. Her interest quickly peaked. She explained that she and her husband were raising their 16-year-old grandson.
As she told how this had transpired, her eyes filled with tears and she struggled for control. She told me her daughter had been unable to handle the boy. He was running with a bad crowd and making bad choices. She explained how they had brought him to live with them hoping that their love, their strong Christian faith, and a consistent environment would put him on a better path. I asked how he was doing. “Better” she said, but he needs a lot of prayer. She had made it clear that she and her husband were doing their best by him today and trusting God to give them wisdom for tomorrow. “Can I pray for him now?” I asked. She took my hand and squeezed it tight. “Please!” she said, with the tears beginning to spill down her cheeks.
After a short prayer right there at the counter, I opened my eyes and saw a completely different person. Here was a mighty woman of faith who had accepted a battlefield commission from God. Never mind that she and her husband were grandparents, close to retirement, and physically challenged by caring for a 16-year-old boy. God called them to stand in the gap for this young man when his parents could not – and they said YES! They are more than grandparents, they are heroes.
Through TheHopeline, we are privileged to care for teenagers like this every day. Many times we are hope to the hopeless. But I am reminded of how much worse it would be but for so many heroic grandparents standing in the gap – heroes sacrificing the little bit of peace that has finally come to them after a long life of struggle and responsibility in order to preserve the next generation. We owe them more than we know.