She came near and sat down next to me. Fifteen-years-old, troubled, sad. I had some yarn and a crochet hook in my hands. I do not crochet very well but I’d discovered that if I was doing something with my hands the kids were more likely to approach me. I guess I was less threatening with a crochet hook in my hand! But it worked.
We began to talk. She was unhappy, she did not like it there, and she wanted to leave. She would find her father she said. He had a big car and lots of money; he would take care of her. I did not ask how she knew this. It was a story that she had created in her mind to make sense of the rejection, abuse, hunger and whatever else she had endured. Since I had come to work at the mission, I had learned most of the kids had a dream they believed was their story, their hope. Most of the stories had to do with a big house, or a big car, a rich father, and someone out there who would love them…and who was looking for them.
Interestingly enough, that is exactly what she had! The home was a large two-story construction, built around a play yard with verandas on both stories. Bougainvillea and roses adorned the patio; it was idyllic in some ways. We also had an 18-passenger van- about as big as they make them. The cook was excellent, loved the kids and loved to feed them well. This place existed and functioned through a fountain of love; it still does. Her heavenly Father had provided exactly what she needed, He loved her, and He was looking out for her. She, and many of the children, were blind to what they had because these things were not enough to heal the losses they had experienced. Good food, a roof over their heads and safety was the best we could do, but we could not compete with their dream.
I told her that I did not want her to leave
“Why do you care?” she asked.
“I love you.”
“You have your own kids. You don’t love me.”
“I do love my own kids, but I love you too.”
“No, you don’t. You don’t love me,” she protested.
“Well, I have enough love for more than my own children, and you can’t tell me whom I love. You may not believe it, but I do love you because my love doesn’t just come from me, it comes from Jesus.”
Over the years, work groups came and went. Invariably one of those wonderful people would say, “All you have to do is love them.” Oh how I wish that were true! Pouring love on a broken heart is almost like pouring gas on a fire. It inflames their pain, like an antiseptic does on an infected cut. We do construct a path to healing when we meet needs, provide security, and yes—love. But only one thing allows broken people to accept the love that surrounds them. That is the miraculous work of Jesus in a broken heart. It is His work through us, or in spite of us, which opens a door to rebuild what Satan wants to destroy. For healing to happen, they must eventually make a decision to look ahead at what God has for them and break the chains that bind them to the past.
My fears for this child of God were confirmed. She did leave, and she and has suffered for it. I have seen her a couple of times over the years. She always greeted me— courteous—cautious—eyes down. I have always returned her greeting with a smile and a hug. My love is still there; the seeds of Jesus love are still there; and some day she may know the joy her Heavenly Father has in store for her. All we can do now is pray to the Lord of the Harvest for a good yield.
We all go through times in our lives when we think no one loves us, even God. Please know that He has done everything he can to let you know that HE DOES! When you already feel far away, turn around and run back to Him. Don’t run away.
I’d love to hear from you. Let me know your thoughts. Have a joyful day.