Some of the most difficult child cases are often the ones with the greatest breakthrough.
Over the last year, our team has been working to care for a child with Down Syndrome who was severely physically and sexually abused and sold locally for sex by her mother. This case has been extremely difficult at times, with one of the most challenging issues being family interactions. In order to protect the child’s safety and well being, legal custody was given to our team, where we are now managing the child’s long-term care.
However, as part of the legal framework, our team is still obligated to facilitate supervised visits with her mother. In the past, these visits have been extremely challenging. The mother is often drunk and behaves inappropriately, which sends her daughter into bouts of anger, fear, and relived trauma. There are continual issues of manipulation, and there have been further attempts at sexual abuse and re-exploitation, even in the midst of these supervised visits.
This week her mother had another visit scheduled, so our team began preparing our hearts for what we assumed was ahead. We found ourselves dreading the mom’s visit, thinking that once again it would be as it was previously, but as we stewed in our frustration, God began nudging our hearts and realigning our perspective. We were quickly convicted. Our hearts had become bitter and angry at the abuser (her mother). We had lost our joy, and we had lost love. The situation seemed hopeless, and we fueled that hopelessness by forgetting the only one that is our hope of glory – Jesus!
The Lord had been speaking intensely to our team about love and what it looks like to love as He loves. It is often easy for us to love the victim. The innocent child that is taken advantage of, that is used, that is abused, that is trafficked – they are easy to love. However, how often do we stop to love the abuser? How often do we love the one that has caused the pain? Rather, we often harbor feelings of anger towards the offender. We know that their actions have grieved God’s heart, but we are also called to love them with the same unconditional love that God has loved us with. Regardless of our past, our shortcomings, or our sins, God loves us with an everlasting love.
This week, the Lord challenged our team to not forget love. We prayed for the Lord to show us His heart for the offender and to give us His love for the sinner, for the unlovely, and for the unrighteous. We were blown away when the Lord began to show us the situation through His perspective. The enemy had veiled our eyes to see the mom’s visits as a burden. We had grumbled, and we had complained, and we almost missed our opportunity to love.
“You have heard that it was said, ‘You shall love your neighbor and hate your enemy.’ But I say to you, love your enemies and pray for those who persecute you, so that you may be sons of your Father who is in heaven; for He causes His sun to rise on the evil and the good and sends rain on the righteous and the unrighteous. For if you love those who love you, what reward do you have? Do not even the tax collectors do the same?” – Matthew 5:43-46
When we began to see things through God’s perspective, He began to transform our minds. We could see the situation was not at all a burden but rather a blessing. It was an opportunity to share His love. The legal framework of the case had actually given us mandatory visits – mandatory opportunities to show love to the whole family, to the offenders and the victim. We began to get expectant for God to change hearts and bring in the whole household, for we know that He can change even the hardest of hearts; there is no sin greater than another and nothing that His blood cannot cover. Nothing is impossible with God.
Our team was fueled in faith and began to engage love, and it was then that God showed up in powerful ways. The offender (her mother) for the first time saw Jesus. She began acting in the love that she had been shown. Her heart began to soften, and she entered into joy and thankfulness (in His presence there is fullness of joy!). Truth had pierced her heart, and she received Jesus as Lord. She stopped drinking and admitted that she needed help. She even thanked our team for the amazing job we were doing to care for and protect her daughter, of which she admitted she had failed to do. Wow! His love never fails.
Our team is thankful for the opportunity to love. As we grow in our relationships with God, we grow in knowing Him more – in knowing Love more, for He is Love. God gives us special love tests, and in the midst of them, He transforms us and all those we touch into His image – into Love.
Let this message encourage us all to go deeper in our love walk. May we all examine our hearts more closely and look for opportunities to love in greater ways. There is truly no greater gift!