On Her Doorstep
They came in and sat in a chair near the door. There were two of them and they were tiny. It was obvious that they were sisters and neither of them made a sound. It was cold outside and they sat back to back wearing dirty little jackets. Someone had braided their hair in intricate designs close to their heads. They had beautiful little faces and smiled easily. I loved them from the minute they walked in.
They were with their aunt. “I have not been here in a long time,” she said. “I really need some help. When I shopped before it was for me and my three kids and now… I have three more.” She nodded towards the two sitting on the chair.
Three? I only see two. I say it, “You said three? Where’s the other one?”
“He’s asleep in his car seat in the car.”
I prayed she did not leave him alone.
“They showed up last week with the Sheriff. It was the middle of the night and somebody was banging on my door. I woke up and sat there for a minute hoping they’d go away. When they kept knocking I went to peek out. I saw the badge so I opened the door. There he stood with these two and their brother. He had just taken their mama to jail. All I have is the clothes they are wearing and I don’t know how long they will be with me. I barely have enough to clothe my own children. I have been washing their clothes every night so they’d have something clean each day. I’m trying to keep them clean and fed so they won’t worry. They are so little… just 2 and 3.”
I had to ask, “Where’s their dad?”
“He died. He was my brother. I can’t turn them away.”
I can’t help it. I ask again. “Why is she in jail?”
“I don’t know!!! It hasn’t been a week yet so I hope to get some answers soon. The cop just said she’d given my name and that I’d take her kids.They are babies. I can’t turn them away. They are so quiet and don’t cause much trouble, and I don’t know what they’ve seen. I just need clothes for them. Can you help me?”
We began to search the children’s racks. Finding baby clothes for the littlest one was easy. There’s usually a limit on the items they can take. Today we were just trying to find as much as we could.
She found just a couple of things in their sizes, and she just looked at me. Desperate. “I am grateful, but is this all you have?”
I knew of a few things that we’d sorted and had kept in the back for when the store got low. I asked if the girls could come with me.
Each girl took a hand and came easily, their hands so tiny resting in mine. I led them to the back room where we had some small kid’s clothes hanging. As I started looking they both stood beside me watching until one rubbed her hands across the clothes like feeling a cloud. “Look at the clothes!” she said. “Will there be something for me?”
I prayed. “OH LORD! PLEASE let there be clothes for them!”
I started holding things up to size them against their tiny frames. I found a corduroy dress with fluffy teddy bears across the bottom. It was navy and it was her size! “I can have it?” she asked. “ I love it! Look at the bears!” She took it off of the small white hanger, rubbed the bears with her small hand and she never let go of it.
“Thank you.” She whispered.
I could not let her see my tears. I kept looking and praying that God would allow there to be more for her… anything for her and her sister.
We were able to find a long sleeve sweater for her sister and a sweatshirt for her. There was an outfit… pants, shirt and matching jacket that both probably could wear. We kept looking until we found several things for each girl.
I asked the girls, “Do you have a toothbrush?”
“No!” they said in unison.
I went to our box of toiletries and I found 2 new toothbrushes and some toothpaste. They both grabbed them and held them in their tiny hands… so excited to have something that was theirs.
Again…”Thank you.” This time they were smiling and they both hugged my neck so hard.
As we made our way back to the front of the store their aunt was anxiously waiting to see what we’d found. It was a start and she was grateful.
I know that a few clothes, a toothbrush, a hug will not solve their problems or bring their mama or daddy back. I can’t help but to think of what might happen to them and pray with all earnest the The Lord will hold them as they already face more in this life than any child should have to endure. My hope, however, for THAT day was that they heard that someone cared and tried to help them make it through.
Fear. Uncertainty. Hopelessness. Hurt… so hard to handle as an adult. Crippling as a child. Passing through life without thought of how choices that we make might effect others… or maybe we are so desperate and we try ANYTHING even if it costs us… our very lives.
ONLY Christ can fill us and make us who we need to be. He alone is able to carry us.. hold us… fill the God sized hole that consumes us. Nothing else.. nothing else.