Growing up, was there ever a doubt that you would grow up to the ripe old age of 16? Did your birthday come every year?
I remember longing to turn 16 – the thrill of being able to drive, get a job off the farm, to be 16. Birthdays are not something to wish for as a child. They are a given, an expectation. I remember when my nephew was killed at the age of 18 in an automobile accident. I remember the sorrow and pain of my brother and his wife. Time stood still for a while. A surreal sense of loss fell over us all. You are not supposed to bury someone so young, no more birthdays.
His death came as a huge shock to everyone. Can you imagine a child of 12 or 13 not expecting to have a next birthday? With parents and relatives rejecting you on a daily basis and constantly reminding you of your worthlessness, it would give anyone the dreaded feelings of death. Beaten down mentally, not only eliminates self-esteem but the want and desire for a tomorrow, until there is a tomorrow without the abuse. When a child is removed, supported and loved there is a chance for them to blossom like our girl “A”.
But the LORD is with me, like a mighty champion:
my persecutors will stumble, they will not triumph.
In their failure they will be put to utter shame,
to lasting, unforgettable confusion.
O LORD of hosts, you who test the just,
who probe mind and heart,
let me witness the vengeance you take on them,
for to you I have entrusted my cause.
“A” didn’t think she had a tomorrow; She was so surprised that she actually had a 16th birthday. On her 16th birthday she realized that she really could have the future that a year prior seemed like only an impossible dream. Her strength is amazing. She told us of her past, the years of mental abuse and of her resolve to make something of herself. “They will not keep me down, I want to do something great so they can see that I made something of myself. I will win, despite them.” She has plans of finishing high school and college with eyes looking forward to a career in law enforcement. As we talked you could see her eyes shining with confidence. This was a new gal, not the down trodden girl we met 8 months earlier.
And do not be afraid of those who kill the body but cannot kill the soul
“A” has a job which she loves, and she has plans for her future. She is a bright light to all of the other girls in the house. It is always intriguing to watch the dynamics of the home change as the girls come and go. Some gals come in carrying so much anger and self-doubt but with every visit there are visible changes. The girls come alive with the support of the staff and with the love and support of our wonderful ministers. Our volunteer ministers deserve so much praise for all the time they give in the preparation of the weekly visits and special outings. The change in A’s life is because of all the love showered on her from all of the ministers. Every minister is an example of God’s love, a beacon of light for the girls.
Jesus said to the Twelve:
“Fear no one.
Nothing is concealed that will not be revealed,
nor secret that will not be known.
What I say to you in the darkness, speak in the light;
what you hear whispered, proclaim on the housetops.
We are here for the long haul and we will not go away.
That is what the For the Love of Kids Ministry is about; helping with love in any way we can.