I am not OK!

Dressed in jeans shorts and a flowery little blouse, she was as pretty as a diamond with her dark hair framing her porcelain doll face.
“Her name is Isabelle, and she just came to us on Wednesday,” her foster mom said, “and it’s been wild at our house ever since with electrical outages and no water, so she’s not too comfortable yet.”  She kissed Isabelle and handed her to me, the assigned baby-sitter for our church morning service.
The little diamond girl must have been two years old, or maybe three. She took her shoes off and started to cry.  I tried to busy her with plastic cups and plates and forks.  But she just stood there, totally uninterested in the myriads of toys surrounding her.
“It will be OK,” I said.  “Let’s just sit together for a while.”  I reached for her, and as she turned to me, she looked deep into my eyes and said, “I am not OK.  I want my mommy.”
I tried to hug her to myself, and she kind of went with it, but there was a definite resistance in her body.  She started to cry.
It wasn’t a cry like when a child falls down and scrapes her knee, or the cry that one might hear when a little one is hungry, or tired, or doesn’t get his or her way.  It was a cry from deep within her soul, a cry for love, safety, normalcy; a cry birthed in utter need.  It was the cry of a wounded child who lost her footing.  “I am not OK,” she sobbed, squirming herself out of my arms.  My heart bled.
She tapped me on the leg.  “Can I have my shoes?”
“Oh yes!” I said, excited that she wanted something.  I made a big production out of putting them on, but I did not get a smile out of her.
“All done,” I said.
She stood up and questioned me, “”Can I go see Mommy now?”
“No, Sweetheart, you can’t.  But it’s OK, I am here.”
“I am not OK,” she said, sobbing once more.  I stroke her hair and wondered about the depth of sadness in her eyes.  What have you lived through, little Isabelle, that you would wind up here?  You have a wonderful foster mom who is choosing to love and fight for you, but you’re right, you are not OK right now.  You feel lost in an ocean of loneliness with no place to rest your head.  You are not OK.
But you will be. There is a day coming where you will trust again and know that you are loved and safe.  How I wish you knew that there is One who loves you perfectly and forever right here, right now.

I started to sing softly about Jesus; she listened.  But I did not get a smile out of her–just haunting, sorrowful deep eyes in a porcelain face.

Linking up with Imperfect Prose and Proverbs 31



  1. Thank you so much, Barbara; you've captured my heart because you so perfectly captured Isabelle's little heart.


  2. I’m visiting from The Gypsy Mama… and this story is beautiful, and the words you put to it are beautiful, too. Thank you for reminding me to look into people’s hearts when I look at them, and wonder about their story. Thank you for reminding me to be compassionate.


  3. Thank you for sharing. I came to your blog reading Gypsy Mama’s posts you wish more people had read. Such anguish in the brokenness of this world. It looks its worse when we see it on a child.


  4. “You are not OK. But you will be. There is a day coming where you will trust again and know that you are loved and safe.” Amen. I have said these same sorts of things to myself so many times. The victory has already been won; we just have to live our way into it. So thankful for the way you ministered to this little one…just in being there.


  5. Thanking God for your ministry toward this sweet little girl. You have captured this moment beautifully. Praying right now.


  6. Awww how sweet and heartbreaking. It reminds me of so many children who are “not ok” It breaks my heart. The tried moments of caring seem so small in these little one’s lives but I so belief that every little moment and prayer counts.


  7. Oh Barbara, this just shot right into the depths of me. I am a foster mama and in the throes of adopting out of the foster system. They are not okay. If we could all be so honest, so open. Praying for Isabelle, that she opens wide to the Father-love of Jesus. Thank you for your words.


  8. “What does this sweet child need to hear?” That is a prayer for you and of course the foster mother to pray. Charge the angels to whisper in Isabelle’s ear, “you are loved, you are safe, you are Okay.” Our foster daughter was much older, but those prayers were mine as each evening I spent quality time with her just before she went to bed. She is on fire for Jesus and reaches out every chanch she gets to touch other lives. God is gracious. Thank you for sharing this awesome story at “Tell Me a Story.”


  9. As I read about Isabelle and read of her cries of ” I am not okay” I thought how often as humans do we feel this way and do we as Christians provide a safe place to be “not okay”. May we be a person that allows vulnerability. Visiting from TellHisStory


  10. As I read about Isabelle and her cry of “I am not Okay!” I thought of how often we have felt that we are not okay. May we be people that allow vulnerability and honesty in our relationships. Visiting from #TellHisStory



  11. This breaks my heart, Barbara. I’m so glad you were there for her, continuing to speak to her, hug her, sing to her. I pray she has more Barbaras in her life.


  12. Oh, heartbreaking. Oh Father, please embrace this young one in Your love, grace, comfort, and peace. Grant the foster family and all those connected with her patience, compassion, and divine wisdom. Amen.

    Deb Weaver


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