So I don't have a photo for this update, but a simple story to share.
Last week, after I helped the KG class during their swim lesson, I was waiting on campus for another service opportunity. I grabbed a quick lunch at the snack bar & then claimed a bench overlooking the playground, but far enough away to not get distracted by the kids on their lunch break. I hauled out my Bible study on James and read about 3 sentences when a cute little girl came & sat on the bench. She had a paper & pen with her and began writing a few words. I asked what she was doing & she told me writing a poem about what kids do on break at HOPAC. She finished writing & asked if I would read it. It was a cute little poem and I affirmed her creativity.
She started writing again. She wrote & wrote. She finally looked up and told me she was writing another poem. I asked what this one was about, assuming another playground poem, a tribute to her teacher, or a cute rhyme about her best friend. No. This one was titled, "Devastation". She told me it was about how people feel when they don't have any friends.
Immediately my heart became heavy.
I asked her if that was how she felt sometimes, "Yes."
We ended up talking for about 10 minutes on that bench, overlooking all the other kids playing. She elaborated on her friendship issues and her loneliness. I asked her if she knew Jesus. She told me that she did. I reminded her that Jesus was her forever friend, that he would never leave her and would always be close to her. I told her that in those times of loneliness and devastation, she could always talk to Him and that he LOVED her. I told her that HE had given her the gifts of creativity - writing poems and songs and loved to see his daughter using the gifts he had given her. She was looking down at her paper as I talked. She looked up and said, "I'm also brave. I'm going to read my poem to my class". We talked for a minute or so more before she got up to go show her teacher her poems. Before she walked away, she looked at me and quietly said, "Thank you."
I've seen this little one a few times on campus now. She gets excited, waves & says hello to me. She did show her teacher, though I'm not sure if she's read anything in class. I'm not sure what her story is, but I think God had our paths cross to hopefully encourage her, first and foremost, but also to encourage me that my time of ministry is not over. Going from 11 years of youth ministry to, well, I don't really know...missionary...stay at home mom...volunteer...fundraiser...has not been an easy transition for me. I'm missing a sense of purpose here. It's not as clearly defined as it has been in the past. I'm still searching for where and how God wants to use me here. Until that time, He is gently reminding me to be open to his leading and obedient to his will. I am so thankful for this little moment - this gift.
Would you take a minute and say a prayer for this sweet little girl?