Karen*, one of the girls in our home, often asks our staff the question “Why are you so nice to me?”
For Karen, when she first arrived at My Refuge House, the kindness of our staff was meet with suspicion. Having come from a family that abused her sexually and physically from the time she was five and then began drugging her and selling her to European men at the age of 12, Karen has every right to be suspicious of kindness. But the most gut-wrenching part, is that this sweet, beautiful girl who is now 16 years old struggles to believe she is worthy of love. She honestly– from the depths of her soul could not understand why we were nice to her, because she didn’t think she deserved it.
A few months after Karen moved into My Refuge House, she began to realize that the kindness was not an act. Our staff are not kind to her in order to deceive her. They are kind to her because she deserves to be treated with kindness.
Not long ago, Karen found the words to acknowledge, with tears streaming down her face “I have never experienced love until I came here.”
The idea that anyone could take advantage of this sweet, wonderful girl leaves me angry beyond description. The idea that Karen has a hard time believing she is lovable makes my heart grieve in a way that is not explainable with words.
I have to admit, my perfectionism has threatened to destroy me, on more than one occasion.
The work at My Refuge House is emotionally taxing– and to attack it at the pace of a perfectionist is a recipe for burn out. This year, I have tried to slow down my work load– but there is so much that needs to be done! And so many girls that need a place to live! How can I slow down when lives hang in the balance? And on a deeper, more vulnerable level– if I’m not working hard, how can I possibly be proud of myself in any way? If I can’t prove my worth with my accomplishments– am I worth anything?
Sometimes I can answer the self worth question with the utmost confidence, “God loves me because of who I am, not what I do.” But sometimes I don’t really believe it, not deep down where it matters.
God has a way of getting down to the depths of our soul though, doesn’t he? He finds a way to reach inside to the deepest darkest corners of our heart and prove his faithfulness, in spite of our nagging disbelief. And to teach me, he used Karen.
Karen has grown so much in the past few months since starting counseling and learning how much God cares for her. A few months ago, Karen handed me a poem she wrote for me. The poem, so beautifully written has been the prayer of my heart for her and all the other girls in our home, rescued and recovering from terrible situations, for as long as I can remember. But in Karen’s sweet childlike way (no doubt lead by the prompting of the Holy Spirit), she wrote this poem for me.
As you can see, the page is a little worn. I’ve been caring the poem with me for months, as a reminder of God’s love for me, and his incredible healing power for the girls in our home.
This Christmas, will you help us pray for the girls at My Refuge House? That they will know the love and acceptance that only God can give.
This Christmas, we pray the same for you. May God touch the deepest parts of your soul so that you know, without a shadow of a doubt, that you are perfect to him.
As the end of the year approaches, will you consider making a donation to help us provide restoration for Karen and the others who lives in our home? We cannot restore lives without your help! To make a donation go to www.myrefugehouse.org/online-giving
*Name changed to protect individual