Shirley’s Story

I see a little girl skipping home from school in the later afternoon sun.  Her dress is a hand-me-down, her shoes are unpolished and her socks no longer have elastic around the top.  She walks across a barren yard toward a small house.  It is badly in need of paint and repair.
How tenderly I feel for this little child of poverty.  It is almost as though she were my own daughter, and I ache to hold her in my arms .. to buy her a pretty new dress .. to give her a shiny new bicycle.  But that is impossible – we are separatred by three decades of time.  I can neither talk to her nor meet her needs.  For that little girl you see, is the memory of my own childhood.  I walked in her shoes.  I lived in that small unpainted house.  And I can still feel the indescribable yearning of a child who knew that something vital was missing in her life.
I was the daughter of a confined alcoholic.  Only those who have lived through this nightmare will understand the full implication of this experience.
It was only through the wisdom and devotion of my mother that I survived the emotional pressures of those years.  She is a strong woman, and she marshaled all of her resources to hold our little family together.
Most important, Mom convinced my brother and me that she loved us.  And, because of that love, she constantly sought ways to get us through those difficult years.  She had the wisdom to know that she needed help in raising two rambunctious kids, and she turned for assistance to a local evangelical church.
It was in that little neighbourhood church that I was introduced to Jesus Christ, and invited Him into my heart and life.
He became my special friend, and I have never been the same since that moment.
As I look back on the painful experience of my childhood, I am overwhelmed with gratitude to God for answering my early prayers.  He heard the desperate cries of a ten-year-old-girl who could offer him nothing in return.  I had no regrets.  I had no status, no special abilities, no money to contribute.  I was totally without dignity or social influence.  Yet the Creator of the universe entered MY little room and communed with me about the difficulties  I was expecting.  It was awesome to realise that He loved me just as I was, and my pain became His pain.
What a magnificent God we serve!
Author:    Shirley Dobson
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