Our neighbours out-of-tune karaoke had been blaring out all day and was still going strong at 7pm. After months of staff shortages we have hired a new house-mother and begun a new duty schedule that allowed Michael to re-start evening devotions with the children. Things unravel when we miss evening worship with them. The noise and difficulties of the past few days had tired me and Michael out but we both knew how much we all needed this. I grabbed my little book, A Pocketful of Promises and joined Michael where we usually gather at the close of the day. 14 boys were sprawled in front of the TV engrossed in a Superman movie.
“C’mon then boys, let’s have devotions!” Michael shouted. There were loud protests from the TV room but they came and sat down with us. Ivan went to get his guitar and Michael began strumming a Tagalog song. There was something I wanted to talk about I told them, but it was a difficult
subject. They leaned in to listen as Michael interpreted for me. That week I had encountered two professional people who had asked me – with the child present in the conversation – if he/she had been ‘abandoned,’ and were curious to know details of their placement with us. I apologised to them for other people’s care-less-ness. We talked about self pity and how we need to run to God’s Word, to fill our hearts with His Truth about us, rather than listening to cruel words spoken by others. And I corrected them for insulting each other – because I have heard them say hurtful things like, “You will never see your Dad again, he is locked away in prison!” and “Your Mom is a prostitute!” or “You don’t have any parents…you are a beggar!” At school their exasperated teachers insult them, and at home they pull each other down to somehow feel better about themselves. They don’t feel better.
I explained that being abandoned is not their fault, the abuse is not their fault – their parents for whatever reason could not cope and made terrible choices that affected them. It isn’t easy but with the strength found in God’s Word hurtful words and actions can be ‘like water off a
ducks back.’ I explained what that meant! Because, at the end of the day, it is what God thinks about us that really matters. Romans 8:28 ‘We know that all things work together for good to those who love God, to those who are called according to His purpose.’ They do love God and have been called to live here at LAMA House according to His purpose.
They listened carefully. The littlest one had fallen asleep on top of the coffee table as usual!
I want you all to close your eyes I suggested…and listen as if God were speaking these words directly to you tonight. Close your eyes…
Michael translated into Tagalog;
My love, (he paused)
It makes my heart sad that my children must suffer, but take courage in knowing that I can work even this situation out for good. When you are feeling sorry for yourself, try to think about all the blessings I have poured into your life. They may be difficult for you to recognize right now, but start with the gift of your life…you are alive and breathing and able to do a lot of things. Think about the people I have brought into your life. I want you to know that I care so deeply about you that even if a hair falls from your head I know about it. My love for you will never end – and neither will my blessings. I have great things planned for you – you will see. Almighty God.
Nobody looked up, no-one wanted to move. It was as if we had entered another purer world and we didn’t want to leave. Jesus had come to sit with us for a while. We suddenly felt comfortable sitting there in complete silence with Him, as if we could remain there forever. And this was all we needed - someone to simply be there, to feel that we were cared for. It was rare and beautiful – full of fixing and healing and knowing. And I think a lot was said, in a language only God understands. Was it 5 minutes or 10, I’m not sure, but we didn’t want to move from that place where we didn’t need words!
By Lesley Gomez, Author.