“I just don’t get it God! What are you doing? What in the world is going on?”
“ I have a plan for you Mary.”
“But God it hurts so much”
As a little girl, I always knew what I wanted to be when I grew up. I was going to be the best mommy in the whole world, just like my mom. I would marry a Godly man and together we would love our kids, read them stories, and bring them to church. I secretly dreamed of making my family blueberry pancakes for breakfast. Now it seemed like that would never happen.
What I didn’t know at the time was that what seemed like the end of my dreams was the beginning of something new. God was about to unfold a beautiful plan for my life.
“But God all I have ever wanted is to get married and be a mom!”
“Just trust me.”
“I promise to raise my children right…”
“Just trust me.”
“I’ll bring them to church…”
“Just trust me…”
“I’ll teach them your ways…”
“Just trust me…”
“God, I’m so desperate I even promise to be an obedient and submissive wife.”
Finally the message sank in and I began to trust Him. Still there were times I wondered if I would ever get married and be a mom. God knew all the questions and ponderings of my heart, He didn’t say yes and He didn’t say no, instead He took my hand and led me in another direction.
When the fall semester of school started I enrolled myself in as many classes as possible. I had planned on not returning to school this semester or taking on another semester of editorship for the college newspaper, but my breakup changed all that. I had to stay busy to keep my mind off the pain. Still, I found myself in the bathroom stall, in between classes, silently sobbing. Every night I cried myself to sleep. It was in these desperate moments of brokenness that a desire inside me began emerge.
Despite my broken heart, I wanted to love. I remembered getting a fortune cookie that said, ‘Your ability to love will help a child in need.’ I knew in my heart that God wanted me to share my love. I began looking online for volunteer opportunities. The one thing that caught my eye was volunteering with sick kids at Phoenix Children’s Hospital. However, the process of being approved as a volunteer was quite lengthy. In the meantime, I continued to stay busy at school. One day my journalism instructor gave me an assignment to write an article on an English Literacy class that was being taught to African Refugee women.
The class was being taught in the office of the Paradise Shadows apartment complex where a lot of African refugees live. Paradise Shadows is located in the Palomino Square area, a rather rough part of Phoenix. When I got there I saw kids running around, playing everywhere. They stared at me curiously as I walked to the office to begin observing the literacy class for my article. I tried to listen and take notes, but the whole time my mind was on the kids. About half way through I headed outside for a break and began talking to some little girls.
They were so eager for my attention, showing off their braids and asking me to take their picture while they did a little cheerleading routine. I was having so much fun, that for just a few moments I forgot about everything else going on in my life. Soon it was time to leave and when their little brown arms wrapped around me in hugs, something began to pull on the strings of my heart. I knew immediately that these were the children God wanted me to love.
The next day was Sunday and some of the youth and my family drove over and started picking people up for church. We have been bringing people to church ever since and I don’t think our church has quite been the same. Our children’s ministry expanded. I began assisting my friend in her Sunday school class and soon became a teacher as well for the little girls class.
Since that time I have had the opportunity to bring many of the kids to youth conferences and camps. One girl even came to live with me for several months until her mother came from Liberia. They have taught me about their culture, language, and even had me taste some African food. I have taught them about matching clothes, dressing modestly, hygiene, manners and much more. Together the older girls and I figured out how to curl their hair and I taught them my all time favorite girls game of M.A.S.H. Most importantly we all taught the kids about Jesus.
Now when I lay down at night I can smile and honestly say, God you are so good! The reason I say that is not because I have a new boyfriend and I think I’ll be getting married soon. The truth is that I am still very much single. It’s also not because God took away my desire to get married and be a mom. I still dream of holding my own baby and making my family blueberry pancakes.
The reason I say God is good, is simply because He is. I see now that His hand is on my life. I look back to when I was a little girl and see that even then He was working on me, preparing me, for what I am doing right now. I don’t know what all God has in store for my life, but I do know that as long as I keep holding His hand, He will keep on leading.