Every year our office provides Christmas gifts for children from the Deveraux organization here in Central Florida. Last night was the Christmas party where we got to give out the gifts we had all so carefully selected for our adopted kids. The girl I pulled this year loved gospel music and crafts so it was an absolute hoot to pick out things for her. I found makeup, a jewelery making kit, watercolor pencils and some really cool clothes. I also included a modern version Bible and a Winnie the Pooh journal and wrote in it describing how I would prayer journal with my Friend. She had written that she loved Winnie the Pooh.
This is the first year I've gone to the party. Our office manager mentioned that the kids often look around for who the gift was from so I wanted to be there for her. Kate and I went and we had a blast.
When I met the child I sponsored, it was a delight. I remember being 14--the acne, the friends, the joys, the struggles. I noticed that she was limping a bit during the night and her counselor told me that it was from a suicide attempt earlier this year. My heart both soared and sank. I've struggled with suicidal thoughts starting at age 10. For the longest time I thought everyone did. I know the constant war that goes on and the struggle she will face, probably for the rest of her life. She's in good hands there, but it was even more of a reminder of where I've come from and where the Lord has taken me. Still, my heart breaks for her pain because I have known it well.
One of the words the Lord has given me for the year is Joy. I'm not sure what that will mean, but I'm looking forward to finding out. I know my Friend has been there through all of the past pain. He will be with her for all of her current pain and he will provide Joy at His right hand. In His presence, there is the fullness of Joy and I am grateful for that continual presence.