I laid down beside her as the bed shook with her sobs. My arms enveloped her and she snuggled close. I was surprised to be called down at this late hour. She should have been asleep long ago.
As I pressed her to talk, she said she just wanted her mom. “But I can’t go there cuz my dad might find me. He doesn’t know your house so he can’t get me here. He wants me at his house but I don’t want to go. So my mom put me here…”

I tried to not act surprised. The mother had neglected to tell me this! I patted her and said not to worry. She was safe here. We would take care of her. She started to talk again. She told of two years ago when her 4 year old brother died. “I used to care for him. I taught him how to count. I fed him and bathed him every day after school. He was like my baby. I loved him… I loved him… They said it was my mom’s fault he died. But I watched my grandparents. They didn’t care for him properly. They just left him when he got sick… It wasn’t my mom’s fault.”
Her voice broke and she cried again. I sit quietly amazed at the ease with which she is speaking.
“My dad is a jerk. He locked me in a room because I wouldn’t make friends with the neighbor kids. I hate him. I don’t want to ever go back there. He drinks every night. He has a girlfriend that I don’t like. He doesn’t care about me. Sometimes he doesn’t give me enough money to get to school and I have to walk home. Please don’t make me go back there. I don’t ever want to live there again.”
“My mom is kind to me but she has so many problems. We don’t have a house, nowhere to go. She has my little brother from her new husband… he left us too. We don’t know where he went. And what about my two little sisters… we haven’t seen them in 4 years. They don’t speak our dialect anymore so we can’t get them.”
She takes a big sigh and her body shakes. I stroke her head and suddenly she is crying again. How long has she carried all this inside?
“The kids teased me at school today. They laughed at my clothes because my uniform was burned up. The fire was so scary. Everything we had got burned up. We don’t have anything left. That’s why the kids laugh. Before I was always dressed nicely and had a bag with school supplies. Now I don’t.”
Little Gina. My arms don’t seem big enough to hold you and all this hurt. I cry with her. Despite it all, Gina, Jesus loves you and He knows. He knows where you hurt. He loves you.
And then I hum some lullabies hoping for sleep to come. I remember 4 years ago when Gina came to our little school. She was wild back then. Her arm had been broken and not set properly. She was teased by her teacher and the kids. Angry and difficult to handle, she still somehow, was easy to love. For some reason, she didn’t stay long with us. I remember being sad that she had gone. Now, these years later, I have often wondered what became of her.
I turn and watch her sleep peacefully for just a moment.
Picture 37
She is just 10 years old. Her burdens are too heavy for such a little one. God has a plan for this life and I am thankful for another chance to love her.
0 replies

Leave a Reply

Want to join the discussion?
Feel free to contribute!