Friday, July 4, 2008
This is Nellie, the little 9 year old girl who stole my heart at VBS. From Day 1 at Vacation Bible School, Nellie had my heart. I had never met her, she doesn't go to our church, but we made a connection immediately. I love VBS. I love the kids, I love being a station leader/teacher and I love the excitement and joy that these children bring with them every morning! As always I had an amazing (exhausting) time and I am ready to sign up for next year again! I have done this for many years, 4 years at this church and many many times at Wyckoff Assembly in NJ! I have a passion for Vacation Bible School, I think it is because when I was a little girl, not too much younger than Nellie, I gave my heart to Jesus at a Summer Christian Camp. People who loved Jesus, loved on me and I was never the same again. This brings me back to Nellie.
Nellie and I connected immediately. She is a sweet, smart little cookie who wore the best little grin every day. She greeted me every morning and asked me to divulge any secrets of the day (of course I would not!)! She would sit by me as I prepared my experiments (We did Power Lab this year - possibly the best VBS ever!!) and just ask me questions or want me to ask her questions. Then during snack she would ask her crew leader if she could come and see me - she did and we would talk. She just made me smile! Then at the end of every day she would come and find me and give me a big hug and remind me that my goal for tomorrow would be to try, just try and stump her with a question! Ohhhh I just fell in love with this little girl.
On Thursday I told the children that the Lord had woken me up at about 3:00am to pray for them! True indeed! I was honored to do so and humbled because of just being able to be a part of His plan for these children, well, it makes me want to cry just thinking about it! I told the children just how special they are and how loved by God they are that he would have me praying for them at 3:00am. I couldn't get my mind off Nellie. God was putting her on my heart in a big way. Thursday came and went, 7 children prayed to receive Christ as their Savior! Praise God!
By Friday, I was undone! I was in tears before the day even started. Partly because of the fact that it was over, partly because I was going to miss being with those children and partly because I wasn't sure I would ever see Nellie again, and I was going to miss her smile every morning. Nellie, handed me the sweetest note on Thursday during snack time. I was blessed beyond words and moved to tears. I didn't know anything about Nellie's life, I didn't know if she came from a home where she was loved, I didn't know if her parents went to church or were saved, I didn't know much about her except that the Lord cared very deeply about this little girl that He was putting her on my heart all the time. I wrote Nellie a note back, and at the end of the day on Friday I handed her my note and told her, in my awful cry voice, "Nellie, I just want you to know that I love you! You have blessed my life this week and Jesus loves you more than you may know! You are a very special girl, who is deeply loved by the Lord. I hope that we will see each other again some day, but if we don't, always remember just how special and loved you are!" She and I embraced and it was one of those hugs where you just want to hold on a little longer. I never had a chance to meet Nellie's Mom, but I told the woman who picked her up to please tell Nellie's Mom how much that little girl blessed me. (I was a crying mess talking to this perfect stranger)!
Well, today we had our town's 4th of July celebration and Riverside Dr. was packed. We found a spot on the river bank and sat on our beach chairs only to find that sitting next to us was none other than my little Nellie! We had been sitting next to this family for about an hour waiting for the fireworks to start and then this little girl shows up with them and my heart skipped a beat! Oh my goodness! Of course I cried out, "Nellie?" Then the next words were "Are you Nellie's Mom?" Nellie's Mom proceeded to tell me Nellie's story. She for all intense and purposes is Nellie's Mom, but Nellie has a birth Mom. I won't go into the details out of respect for the families involved, but lets just say that now I know why the Lord put Nellie on my heart the way He did! I talked to this woman tonight for about 40 minutes just hearing the tale of how Nellie fell into their lives about 3 years ago. Nellie and I share a very similar childhood in many ways. It makes total sense that she and I connected the way we did, she was just like me when I was little. OH, it was absolutely no mistake that Nellie and I connected at VBS and absolutely no mistake that we sat right beside her family so I can connect all the dots in the story of Nellie! Thank you Lord for caring so much that you would fill in the blanks for me. I have vowed to pray very specifically for Nellie and the situation she is in right now and for the family who has fallen in love with her as well. I have much hope for Nellie! Hebrews 11:1 says "Faith is being sure of what we hope for and certain of what we do not see." Oh Nellie, the Lord has His hand in your life my little friend. He will never leave you or forsake you! You sit safely in the palm of His hand and I am confident that He will take very good care of you! - Thank you Lord!