I was nervous the first time I stepped foot inside the children's home. Would they like me? What would they be like? Could I make a difference in the lives here? Today, more than a year and a half later, I walked out of the children's home with a grieving heart after saying good bye to teenagers and staff I've come to know and love.
Although fearing rejection from these "hardened teens", my experience at the home turned out to be the complete opposite. Welcomed with open arms, I now know the truth - They made the difference in my life. I am the one who was blessed!
It was at the children's home that I experienced first hand the volatility of everyday life for these teenagers. I walked in on a boy self-harming, cutting his hands open and smearing blood over his arms. I witnessed police handcuff and take away a girl after violent attack on another teen. I listened as kids recounted the most horrific stories of abuse and neglect. I worried and prayed for runaways.
But love is stronger than tragedy. And love pulled me back each week.
It was at the children's home that I saw teens who had everything taken away from them share the last can of soda. Kindness in the most unexpected places. The boy who could make me laugh like nobody's business. The girl who stopped to help a stranger clean her yard. The boy who would bleep out expletives when he rapped for me the "church lady". The teens who would meet me at the car and carry my bags for me, eagerly asking "What are we doing tonight, Miss Anisha?"
I cried on the way home tonight. Sad to go, but thanking God for the privilege of loving and being loved. I am truly blessed.
"Your mercy flows like a river wide,
And healing comes from Your hand.
Suffering children are safe in Your arms,
There is none like You."
There is None Like You - Hillsong