Wednesday, April 20, 2011

On a Happier Note

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I've spent the last couple of days telling you about my experiences working with children who have been abused or neglected.  I debated about sharing the stories of some of my kids, but I thought it was important that you understand why the issue is so important to me.  So let me finish the topic with the rest of the story.

My first kiddo, the one who's step-mother beat him with a belt, still checks in with me once in a while.  He is now a man of thirty-three years of age.  He graduated from high school (unlike most of the rest of his siblings) and went on to join the National Guard.  After two years of college, he took a job building homes and married a nice girl.  They now have two children of their own and are very happily married.  He has taken his experiences and has used them to build a positive life.  Like the phoenix he has come from the ashes of his youth and become a remarkable young man and father.  I am so proud of him!

He likes to credit me with his life.  Please understand, I take NO credit.  He chose, early on, to learn from the mistakes his parents made and to do better with his life.  I am absolutely amazed every time I talk to him at what a remarkable person he is.  Thank God for touching his heart and soul in a way that turned all the bad into such good!  You see, it is possible to mend these broken souls.  With time, love, and tender care we can help them find a love of themselves that otherwise would not be possible.

Part of the work that we did with the young people was to build a trusting relationship.  In most cases, this is something these young people have never had.  Through our time with them, we joined them in youth groups and Sunday schools.  We attended school functions and took long walks.  We talked about healing their bodies and their souls.  But mostly we listened.  We gave them a safe place to be and to share. 

Not all of these kids came from "bad" families, in fact, the majority of them came from families that were leaders in their communities.  They came from small town America, Nebraska.  What could be safer?  Unfortunately, there is no "safe" place; I'm not sure that there ever really was.  I always felt safe in the town I grew up in, but I knew there were kids who had less than I did and whose lives had problems.  It just didn't touch my life most of the time.  I was lucky.

I want to encourage you one more time to find a way to do something to help a child.  Not all of my kids have had the happy ending that this one did, but we never know which ones we'll touch and which we won't, so why risk it?  Become a mentor, volunteer in a youth organization, become a Sunday school teacher, take the child next door for ice cream.  Find some way to make a child feel special.  It really takes so very little.  You'll never know what difference it made for that young person, but believe me, it does make a difference!

If you're not comfortable with kids, that's OK.  Find an organization to donate to, or volunteer in their offices.  There is a way that you can help.  Find it.  Do it.  Today!

Thanks for listening!
Blessings to you!

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