Gina is on probation for two counts of injury to a child. She beat her Daughter twice. The first time it was a slap across the mouth that left a mark. School personnel noticed and turned her in. The second time there were no marks. But the teenage daughter knew how to tell a good story and turned Gina in herself.
The daughter was angry at the world and lashed out at her Mother
because she'd been molested by two of Gina's former boyfriends.
Gina and her daughter both went through extensive counseling. Gina made some significant, long-term changes. One of those was to move out of the city and to come back to her roots in a small town. She's lived there almost two years; raising her three younger children on her own. And doing a fabulous job of it, evidently.
The daughter stayed in the city, choosing a precarious existence with her low-life boyfriend. She eventually came home to her mother when the boyfriend was jailed for beating her. Things were good between mother and daughter.
Then the cycle came full circle and she lashed out at her mother again, as an excuse to return to the boyfriend. Gina has been a mess ever since. She's worried and angry and fearful and angry and devastated and angry.
In the midst of all of this Gina decided to try church. A cousin, who'd been worried about Gina ever since things fell apart, offered to take her to church. The cousin attends a mega church in the city. Gina agreed to go.
She said the sermon was all about how if you give to the church, God will give back to you - double the amount. Gina was unimpressed. However, at the end of the service the pastor begged and pleaded for people to come to the altar for prayer. Gina got in line and made her way to the front. The pastor asked her what prayers were needed.
Gina told the pastor that her family was in turmoil. She was worried for her daughter and scared almost out of her wits for what might happen to the girl, but was unable to do anything to help her.
"You know what she did after I told her that?" Gina asked me. "She prayed for my finances. She prayed that I'd have 'financial blessings'."
"That's bullshit!" Gina and I exclaimed in unison.
"I'm never going back," Gina said. "I'll go to the little church here in town from now on. I guess my cousin could tell I was mad. On the way out she asked me why I didn't like it."
"What did you say?"
"I pointed at the kid's gameroom and the Starbucks in the lobby. I told her 'This is a million dollar church. What the HELL do they know about Jesus here?!'"
If Gina ever becomes a preacher, I'm goin' to HER church.