Monday, July 20, 2009

Three wilted flowers

Our church has started a ministry to the local children's shelter, and I had the opportunity to go volunteer there tonight for the first time.

The boys were all out on an event so I got to hang out with the girls (plus one boy who lost his going-out privilege. Being outnumbered 15:1 should teach him to behave next time!).

There was one little girl who really latched on to me. She seemed SO sad. I kept trying to distract her with stories and games, talking about what she likes to do, etc. I asked her what was bothering her and she just shrugged her shoulders but continued to follow me around and hold my hand the whole evening.

I remembered a nugget of wisdom from Karyn Purvis about connecting with the hurt child, and I said, "Sweetheart, I would do anything in my power to meet your needs but you have to tell me. What do you need?"

Those were the magic words. She began to cry and she said, "I wish Daddy wasn't in jail. And I wish Mommy would get a job so I could go home. I miss her so much." I didn't know what else to say but "I know you do." And I hugged her and it took everything in me not to cry with her too.

(When I asked her to tell me about her mom, she said, "Well, she's pretty fat." :) Man, I love kids!)

I wish I could grant this little girl a safe and a happy future, guarantee her a wonderful childhood and life. To be honest I felt completely helpless knowing her hurts were obviously so deep and her needs so great, and there was so little I could do in a two hour period. I'll be back next week or next month but she may not be. I may never see her again.

That little girl picked three flowers for me on our walk, three flowers that are already wilted. Three little flowers that almost just went into the trash can, but will instead decorate my bathroom mirror to remind me of that little girl and will remind me to pray for her. I may have no clue where she is next week. I may be not be able to meet her every need and guarantee her a happy life, but I know Someone who loves her far more than I do and is far more capable than I of meeting her needs. You'd better believe I will be praying for her. Maybe you will join me tonight in prayer for my new little friend.


kirsten said...

I'll pray.

Molly said...

Sweet Charissa. I wish I could just sit next to you and let you rub off on me. Your heart and your follow through are incredible. Thank you for living so much like Christ wanted us to. Thank you for not only hearing God speak to you about His children and their need for love, but for actually DOING something about it. So many people say they will pray but that's it. It goes nowhere more than that. Not that prayers aren't huge...but I think in all honesty its an easy out. We need to be the hands, feet, and body of Christ.

I believe what you are doing is what we should all be doing. I believe you have simply given your life to Christ. So many of us say we have, but have we really?

Thanks for continuing to make me think. I will pray for this pumpkin!

Tim Rovenstine said...

Wow, Charissa, one doesn't have to go far to find hurting people...You're pioneering in a field we all need to explore. Charge on, others will follow.

Larsen Family said...

Such a sad story. Thank you that you were there to listen to her request and offer her some love and encouragement. You never know what an impact that will have on her.

Anonymous said...

Wow that is powerful, (sitting here typing with tears in my eyes). thanks for opening up our eyes to the needs of all children and for giving that special little girl the love she needed, I know you filled her heart and she slept with that love all night.

Sean and Lisa said...

Charissa, you have such a beautiful heart! Thank you for making one little girls life a little better even if it was only for 2 hours. Our family joins you in praying for this sweet little lamb and her parents.

Beth said...

Again and again you touch my heart. I love your words and your big big love.

Dalene said...

Heartbreaking! ;o(

Anonymous said...

This post brought tears to my eyes. I see this everyday in the work I do. Sometimes I get caugth up in the paperwork and forget about the feelings. Thank you so much for gently reminding me to look at the children. This is my life's work. God planted me here years ago and I would not change it for anything. Working as a therapist with children and their families is where I suppose to be in life.
Please everyone reading this blog. Listen to Charissa. Sometimes all a child needs is a person who shows genuione interest and will listen. I cant stress enough how smart children are and when they see a good heart they know it and will approach that person. That is why they approached you Charissa this child felt your heart and knew she could trust you.
You are right you may never see her again but she will ALWAYS remember you. I see it in my practice each day. Someone touches a childs life and that child remembers it and talks about it. Even though it feels small to you it is huge to them.
This is one of my favorite quotes and I try to live by it.

We make a living by what we get, we make a life by what we give. Sir Winston Churchill

Thank you for touching this little one's heart. It makes my job much more enjoyable knowing that there are people out there like yourself who take the time to listen and care.

Chad and Dana said...

Love your heart. You are in your sweet spot and you are blooming!


jennifer... said...

Molly has a lot of wisdom!  I ditto everything she said.  Your life puts conviction in mine and I thank you for that.  It's time to do more....