Many of you involved with CPR-3 or my prayer updates have heard a little about Jessica & Hope – two adorable sisters who were dropped off by their mother at a CPR-3 site last June. Jessica is about five years old, although she’s small enough that she was wearing a onesie last week, and she’s beautiful. She’s hesitant to show emotion and it’s common to talk to her all afternoon and get nothing more than her looking at you when you talk as the biggest reaction for the day.
When we (Tiffany and I) first arrived, Jessica would stand far away, just watching us. She slowly warmed up as visits passed, playing with other kids while we were there, but still didn’t get near. The first day she followed the children to play with Tiff’s hair, we celebrated on the tap-tap home afterwards. We visited with Amanda and I watched patience and love as Amanda, no matter if Jessica responded or not, continued to ask questions, read, and talk about the day. It’s hard to keep this up visit after visit – you catch yourself “Does she understand?” “Is this pointless?” “Why am I trying so hard, it’s like I’m not even here”.
Last Sunday, Jessica played with me. My church is in her community and when I got out she was laughing, playing, talking in her adorable squeaky voice, and responding to my questions. I was overflowing, laughing with her and talking to her the whole time. (If you’re friends with me on Facebook, you saw a picture of her laughing last week!) In the afternoon, she got quiet again…no reason to it, but I went back to talking and asking questions despite her lack of reaction. Coming to me if I motion that I can carry her, or walking around the corner to sit by my as I talk with the girls doing laundry – but silently. We took the kids to the ocean (a ten minute walk!) and carried Jessica and Hope while the other kids skipped along…continuing to pour into them, even when they weren’t reacting.
This Sunday, she was quiet again. Sharing my lap with another girl, not really talking as I asked her questions, she sat in silence for about a half hour. Then she turns her head up to look at me, and in a voice so quiet I have to lean down, I hear “lanmè?” (Creole for “The sea?”). I hid the fireworks inside and gently asked her if she liked the ocean, if she wanted to go, if she remembered last Sunday. She timidly replied back “wi” to all of the questions, nodding her little head slowly with a hint of a smile creeping onto her face. I promised her we could go tomorrow and she smiled, content as I repeated the promise in her ear while she turned back to face forward. She remembered! She asked a question, on her own, and is moving to understand our love for her and that we WILL come for her! That she can ask, and we will respond in love!
You should have seen her face when Amanda, Kellie & I showed up yesterday to take her.
What a parallel to God, right? We are the Jessica’s – hurt by this world, not responding, definitely not talking and laughing with Him. He has no need for us, no reason to keep visiting (especially since it’s a lot of time spent with no reaction anyway)…yet he continues to show up and pour into us. When we aren’t responding, he keeps coming. I can definitely remember times in my life where He could have asked “Why am I trying so hard, it’s like I’m not even here”. His heart is broken with ours. He wants to show us our potential, he wants to see us play, he wants to talk with us, he wants to take our hand and walk with the ocean with us. The ocean that he created, under a blue sky and shining sun. And we are silent, we aren’t responsive, we’re in our own world.
But he keeps coming.
He’ll remain by our side – no matter how we’re reacting to Him in the moment (if we’re reacting at all). And you know what? After a long time, some of us react. We don’t turn around completely all at one time, we may shut back down that afternoon. We don’t start talking to him every time and we don’t open all of ourselves up – but we start to trust Him, because He keeps showing up, and when he shows up – He is good.
Man, He is patient with us. I’m so thankful that He has continued to come hold my hand, talk to me, love me – even when I’m not responding.