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This afternoon, I sat in the crowd and watched five of my children proudly walk across the stage to accept their diploma commemorating their graduation from Grade 6.
By the Grace of God, these 5 did it and the announcer’s voice roared their names across the speaker. I was taken aback by how straight and tall he stood before the long line of hands to shake. Department Heads, teachers, and a famous politician who he did not know, shook his hand and patted his shoulder saying, ‘Good Job, Boy’.
And I think if I could have one minute of that man’s time, I would have something to say.
Yes, sir, they have done a good job. And yes, they have graduated. But…
And sir? What you do not know is that until just two weeks ago, that shy, young woman shaking your hand, was hopeless. No uniform, no lunch money, no school supplies, yet for the last year she has attended school. Four years older than all her classmates, she was determined to finish, knowing that in this culture, education is her only hope. She was alone.
And what you do not know, only two weeks ago, did my own girl bring that frightened young girl home to me. Mom, we need to help her, she pleaded. She is all along. My girl; her own little life fragmented by abuse, but her spirit resilient and strong, healed.
Maybe when you carry such wounds, you see them more easily in others.
The young girl’s story was familiar. Abandoned by a cruel mother and left to her father who beat her and did things that fathers should never do to their daughters. Sometimes she would sleep in the park, not even a peso in her pocket. Sometimes, she was okay. Sometimes she just wandered the streets, avoiding going home.
When we came tonight, we walked to the gate of the school, and her eyes filled with tears. I cannot imagine her feelings as she saw all her classmates with their parents, standing proud, in the line up.
But sir, that you do not know.
How these five came into our care is undoubtedly the Hand of God.
How they have grieved, healed, and grown is nothing less than a miracle from above.
And the resilience, beauty and hope that is real and alive in their lives, is only the work of the spirit of a Living God.
And the plans, the awesome plans of a Great God, are for them to prosper, to not be harmed, and for them to have a hope and a future.
And that, sir, you should know.