A Child Shall Lead

A little background on my GA group: getting my group into the community is a hard thing. We have very little participation outside of Wednesday nights, we rarely see some of the families of the girls who come to GA, and we have never had a successful collection of items for a ministry project. Much like any other GA leaders, I have to be creative and find ways we can share God’s love by sending things with girls to take to their schools or give to their neighbors. My girls love these activities and projects, and they enjoy giving their friends stickers or sharing handmade crafts with neighbors.

I have no idea why the idea to ask them to help me brainstorm something we could do together came to my mind a few weeks age, other than to say it had to be from the Holy Spirit. And I’m still amazed at the outcome.

I asked girls to help think of people in our community who need to know God’s love. Several great responses came from this time, but in the back of my mind, I thought that just a very few of them would be able to go with me somewhere on a Saturday.

And then Tina* raised her hand. These were her words: “Mrs. Heather, do you know when a mom does something and the kids have to live somewhere else? And they can’t go home for a long time? I want to give them something so they know it’s going to be OK.”

When I asked her what she wanted to give these kids, she immediately said she thought they would need shoes. When I let her talk a little more about shoes, she determined that everyone wears different sizes, so we need to give them something any kid would like to have. And that’s when her face completely lit up: “A stuffed animal!!”

After more discussion, it was determined that we could collect new stuffed animals and put a tag on each that says God loves you.

I contacted Tina’s foster mom over the weekend and asked if Tina would like to share the idea with an adult Sunday School class. I knew they’d help with collecting stuffed animals and would love to hear from one of our kids. Her foster mom thought that Tina would want to speak, but that she may be too nervous to do so. In her text to me, she reminded me that Tina has anxiety and has been through so much as a child, but she felt like I should ask Tina what she wanted to do. While none of us knew if she would, Tina overcame her nervousness and very clearly shared with the adult class that she doesn’t live with her mom anymore and she used to have many stuffed animals. She knows that kids like stuffed animals and this would be a great way to let them know that God does love them.

She is a rock star, in my book.

Tina is blessed to have been placed with family members when she was removed from her mother’s custody 7 months ago. Her family is teaching her about God’s love for her, bringing her to church every Sunday and Wednesday, and praying for her. But even Tina realizes that this isn’t the case for a large number of children in foster care.

Today, I’m thankful that God uses children who have had a heartbreak, like Tina, to help others who are experiencing something similar. I’m thankful for social workers who help place children in safe places where they can grow and be nurtured. And I’m thankful that Tina is in my GA group learning about God’s love for His world.

*Name has been changed. 

Update: Heather’s GAs (and the adults who love them) collected 21 stuffed animals. They created name tags for each animal and prayed over them before giving them to a local social worker to give to kids in the foster care system.

Heather Keller is the Girls in Action and Children in Action consultant at national WMU. She and her husband, Tommy, are raising their boys in Alabama. Heather loves a good story, enjoys camping with her boys, and loves seeing girls of all ages get excited about sharing God’s love.

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