Wednesday, July 20, 2011


Last night I taught another preschool lesson for VBS. I’m enjoying it so much – I love that age. I love how innocent they are – at three, four, five – how easily they’re entertained, how eager they are to please you, how captivated they are by a cheap, simple prize from the prize chest at the end of the night.

As I drove home I kept thinking about my sister, at three years old, with wispy blond hair and a loud little voice that spoke words I had to interpret for everyone else. She came with me to spend a couple nights at my friend’s house while my parents traveled out of town for the weekend. My friend and I were nine, and she was an only child, so before splitting off by ourselves to play I wanted to make sure Erin had something to occupy herself. I led her to my friend’s room to show her the toys she could play with, and I vividly remember watching her as she sat down in rapturous awe of my friend’s dollhouse. It was one of those pastel-colored big plastic models, complete with lots of rooms and furniture – but no dolls. My friend hastily searched but found only a pen shaped like a leprechaun – a cheap little thing that didn’t at all fit the dollhouse – but Erin took it hesitantly and experimentally walked the leprechaun, once, up and down the dollhouse staircase. Her face fell as she realized it wouldn’t be much fun playing with an ink pen in that beautiful dollhouse. She politely gave the pen back to my friend and went about rearranging the dollhouse furniture instead.

Something lit up within me and I felt I HAD to find the dolls that went with that dollhouse before another minute went by. I told my friend that we weren’t going to play anything until we found those dolls. I searched through her toy boxes and underneath her bed until I found the mom, dad, and kid – perfect. Erin was thrilled. She played with that dollhouse the entire weekend, and since I didn’t want to leave her alone, I played with her too.

Last night, a little boy in my class reminded me of that memory. He was new to VBS, and no one knew his family – he’d just been dropped off the last couple of nights. His mother seemed very nice when I met her, but some of the things he said and did seemed to indicate that his home was fairly broken. This little boy was a ball of energy and couldn’t stop moving, dancing wildly during the VBS songs as the other kids clapped their hands. But during craft time, he sat still and labored intently over his craft, carefully selecting alphabet stickers and squeezing as many letters as he could onto his bookmark. Even when the other kids had completed their craft, he worked diligently. When it was time to go to snack, and he had fit as many lines of letters as he could, he proudly held it up to me with big eyes and asked, “What’s this say?” I read off the jumbled nonsense as best I could, then I laughed and told him, “Those words must be in a different language!” His eyes shone with pride. Later, he asked me quietly, “Will you get mad at me?” I assured him that no, I wouldn’t get mad, but he continue to ask worriedly. Finally, he crawled up on the pew beside me and cuddled into my side, glued to me for the rest of the night.

For some reason, he reminded me of the memory of Erin’s disappointed face at seeing only the leprechaun-shaped ink pen instead of dolls. And as I drove home with my neighbor’s two beautiful kids sitting next to me in the truck, I couldn’t get that memory out of my mind. I just felt heartbroken. When I got home, I went to the bathroom to take out my contacts and brush my teeth for bed, but instead I leaned over the sink and inexplicably, I just started sobbing.

When Brian walked into the bathroom and stared in utter confusion at my swollen, mascara-stained face, I couldn’t quite explain why I was crying. I mean, I knew why I was crying, but telling Brian that I was 'heartbroken for the children' just wouldn't have made sense to him. I just felt so anguished at the idea that little ones, at that very moment, were crouching in fear, being beaten, or miserably hungry.

The memory of my three-year-old sister encompasses, to me, all the sadnesses and disappointments children should feel – missing toys, ripped books, tangled doll hair, and not finding a motorized kids’ Jeep by the Christmas tree. It breaks my heart that there are children suffering things that no one should endure. And I know that this question has been asked a million times, but: why, Lord? Why are innocent children given by God to people who terrorize them or sent to people who can’t take care of them? There is horror everywhere in this world, but the idea that so much of it is inflicted on innocent little ones just makes me so confused and angry. I hate this world, and I hate the things that Satan does. I wish Jesus would come back. I just long for that so badly.

And I just don’t know how to conclude this light-heartedly. I thought I needed a good night’s sleep, but I still woke up heavy-hearted. I suppose that this morning, I am simply more determined to make the rest of VBS fun for the kids and take comfort in the fact that Jesus is coming. If he tarries, I will raise children who feel safe and reach out to those who might not.



  1. Maeg,
    I have experienced the "Why, Lord?" when I see others' suffering and know that it is exponentially multiplied out there.
    This weekend I heard an interview with Julie Malacusky of The Dream Project. (she's from Michigan!)
    Julie quotes Amy Carmichael, "God breaks our hearts to compel us to act."
    He cares deeply. We need to let our hearts beat in sync with His.

    It isn't healthy for a child to snuggle with a stranger like he did with you; that little boy is vulnerable. You sensed that.
    Thanks, Maegan, for being a safe and caring heart that can take that little one before the throne of God. He loves that little boy more than we could ever imagine.

    Love, Mom

  2. Hey Maegan - For me I think it's easier to realize it's a sinful world, and the Lord raises up His children to be His hands and feet. Thanks for being there for those kids Sweetie. We always get the bigger part of the blessing, I think, when we do pour out like you are doing. Who would have ever thought He'd give you such an opportunity, or insight. Let it change you in His perfect way. I love you. Dad

  3. Beautiful post, and I am so in agreement with that last sentence. Children are always on my heart.