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.