Don’t Forget

After spending years working with inner-city children, I sometimes find myself becoming numb to the issues that our children struggle with.  I know that abuse, neglect, and addictions are all there, but it quits hitting me quite so hard; in short, I come to expect it.  Whenever that happens I find that God places children or teens on my path with stories that remind me all over again of what our children face each day.

Three times in the past weeks I have had some painful reminders of the difficult things our kids at Kid’s Church struggle with.  A few weeks ago I saw a young girl standing against the wall, arms crossed, and lower lip out as far as it could go.  I could tell something was bothering her so I asked her if something was wrong.  I was not expecting an answer because this young lady doesn’t normally admit that anything is wrong.  But that night she opened her mouth and explained through tears that her Mom had left two days ago and hadn’t come home.  The girl had no idea where her Mom was, why she had left, or when she was coming home.  She was frightened and confused, as any child would be when a parent left them without any explanation.  The girl also went on to tell me that her Mom has a new boyfriend (a frequent occurrence).

Another incident happened when a teenage girl approached me and asked if she could get my advice about something.  I was taken aback because this young lady never shares her personal life with anyone.  I was even more shocked by what she told me.  She told me that her mother is an alcoholic who becomes very abusive towards her when under the influence.  She shared that she is afraid her mother will kill her.  Can you imagine?

This past weekend, I was chatting with a little 8 year old girl about everyday things such as school and what she likes to do.  I asked her if she had any brothers and sisters at church.  She answered that they used to come but don’t anymore.  When I asked her why they no longer attended Kid’s Church she said, “They moved far away.”  At this I realized that her parents must have recently separated.  She went on to say that one morning her mother told her father to, “Get out” that he, “had to go.”  Shortly after finishing the story the girl asked me how I would feel if my brother and sister were taken away.  I replied that I would be very sad and I would miss them.  She replied that she would feel “mad, angry, and a little upset.”

I don’t know the reasons behind this separation, or why Karen’s mom left her young daughter for two days without ever saying where she was going or when she would be back.  What I do know is that I cannot imagine dealing with these problems as a young child.  Divorce, neglect, and abuse are all things that the children we see weekly deal with daily.  I thank God that my parents provided a loving home for me to grow up in; however, it is now my responsibility to allow God to work through me so that these children can experience the loving “home” God has for them.

Thank you Lord, for the much needed  reminder.

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