Chaos held the group of three-year-olds in its hand that day when I walked into P3 for work study. I had my work cut out for me; naptime was just around the corner.
As we prepared for naptime, I noticed that Erica was especially wound up, and, as usual, all the other kids closed their eyes in surrender to their archenemy Sleep while she was still wide-eyed.
The room was completely transformed from when I first walked in. The lights were off, there was soft music playing, and all were fast asleep...except Erica. I leaned over her and stroked her face with my fingertips. My thoughts drifted as I studied her eyes.
This girl will experience pain. She will probably collapse under the weight of it at some point. This little one will feel worthless. She will feel inadequate. Unlovable. Incomplete. Injured.
My heart broke.
"Erica, Jesus loves you," I whispered. "Jesus is God's son, and He made you before You were born. He knows what you will look like and what you're going to be like when you grow up. He knows everything about you, and He loves you. He thinks you're valuable." I paused to reposition. I wanted to communicate Jesus' love to her right then, in some attempt to relay it to her for a time when she'd need it - for the moment long from now when her world crashes down on her and makes no sense, for the moment when no one is on her side. "Do you want to sit in my lap?"
"Yes," came her soft answer. I scooped her and her blanket up in my arms and rocked. Her eyes grew heavier. Her body grew limper; and as I watched this little girl fall asleep, I sat mezmerized. How beautiful she was! That little life, right there in my arms. A tear slipped off my nose onto her blanket.
"Lord, let her know Your love. Let her experience it. Hold this little girl in your arms and penetrate Your truths into her heart."