Think of all the bad things that could happen to a child or a woman. Seriously bad I mean, and Avril's life story will tick most if not all of the boxes.
I knew some of her story but she told me more this week. All I can say is that she is my hero.
Not because she's super good but because she's alive and smiling. I couldn't have dealt with a quarter of the hardship and pain she's endured. (I was going to amend that to maybe I would if I had to but I don't believe it.) And she keeps on believing there's hope, believing it can change.
And the change we've seen in her over the past months has been incredible but she has an enormous way to go, a tortuous battle ahead. Her departure for rehab has been put off because they had an emergency admittance. If you're a pray-er please pray that it won't be a long delay; she needs to be away from her present situation soon.
Hers was the second baptism I've been involved with. The first was a young woman, from a comfortable and loving middle class family, about to go off to university with a bright future ahead of her. She and Avril could hardly be more different yet they're the same in they both acknowledge the need of God in their lives. And it's the same God who loves them equally. And that's what makes me hang on to the fragile hope that things can be different for Avril.