I am not saying this because I am in need, for I have learned to be content whatever the circumstances. I know what it is to be in need, and I know what it is to have plenty. I have learned the secret of being content in any and every situation, whether well fed or hungry, whether living in plenty or in want. I can do everything through him who gives me strength.
We agreed to meet this Friday morning (today) at a nearby park. In the email I received confirming our meeting, Karrie informed me that she watches a little 11 yr. old girl on Fridays and that she would be joining us. "Sounds good!", I said.
This little girl she watches is not just your average little girl. Every single child God creates in His image is perfect and special, but this little girl tugged at my heart as soon as I had read the email about her. She had come from an orphanage in Haiti and was blind and deaf.
For those of you that go back quite a ways with me, you may know that for almost 5 years, (in my much younger days) I volunteered in a classroom with blind and deaf kids. Some were blind. Some were deaf. Some were both. I was in junior high school at the time and begged my Mom to be able to do this. She agreed. Those children taught me what a special need I had.
It's been over 25 years since I worked with those 12 kiddos, but I can remember each of them to this day as if it were yesterday. There was something just so incredibly, amazing about them. Unbeknowst to me, even then God was preparing my heart for special needs.
One particular little girl in the classroom, Mamie, literally changed my life. She was a clingy, 3 year old African-American sweetie. Her Mama was a single Mom, working two jobs to help support Mamie, her three other siblings and their Grandmother.
Mamie's first year with us in the classroom was a lot of fun. She was funny, tenacious and bright, overcoming the disabilities she had been born with.
In September of the following year, Mamie started school, as did the other kids. I loved them all, but for some reason, my heart was always pulled towards this little one. I remember she often talked about how badly she wanted a Big Wheel.
I was maybe 14 or 15 years old then. We'd have split hours at school and I'd attend the afternoon shift, which started at 12:30. Each morning, I awoke at 6:30, dressed and headed out to the local special-ed elementary school which was only a few blocks away from our house. I was there by 7 a.m., along with the teacher and began my "work" as soon as the kids started arriving at 7:30. At noon each day, I'd get picked up by a bus that would take me to my own school, where I'd stay until 5:30 each day. I did this throughout most of my junior high and high school years, and developed pretty good sign language skills.
The second week of that school year, Mamie's Mama had a conference with the teacher, Mrs. B. I noticed that there was a pretty somber look on Mrs. B's face when she came back into the classroom. But, the day proceeded at usual. This was a Wednesday.
That Friday, when I was gathering my books to head out, Mrs. B asked if I had a couple of minutes to speak to her. I said, "Sure!" She sat down and I again noticed that sad look upon her face. She, carefully choosing her words, explained to me that Mamie's Mama had informed her that Mamie had an inoperable brain tumor and did not have much time left to live.
I sit here with tears as I type this because it's still so very vivid in my mind.
I listened to Mrs. B's words and don't honestly remember asking anything. Being 14 or 15, I sadly had not made any room for God in my life, so it never occurred to me to pray. Now, being older and knowing our Savior intimately I see that whether this 14 year old prayed or not, He knew exactly what the outcome would be to Mamie's disease. I often thank Him for allowing me to be a part of her life.
Mamie's Mama told us that fall that she worked at Sears and had put that much anticipated Big Wheel on lay-away for Mamie's Christmas gift. As the months got closer to Christmas, Mamie and I often talked about what she wanted Santa to bring her. It was so hard for me to comprehend that she was that sick. I didn't see it. She was always thin and frail, but she never changed. She was happy and loving and lived totally carefree. She didn't resemble what my image of death was.
In October, we had a Halloween party at school and the kids all dressed up. They were so cute! I remember their Moms often coming in with little crafts they'd made at home for me. To this day, I still have a couple of them hanging on my walls. They're priceless treasures to me.
November rolled around and Mamie started not attending school as often. She lived in a government project with her Mom, Grandmother and siblings that was not too far from my house. I was always tempted to ride my bike there, but never did.
The week before Thanksgiving, I arrived at school as usual. The kids started coming off the buses and again, no Mamie. I knew now she was pretty sick, but at that age, it didn't really sink in that she was pretty sick.
During morning snacks, Mrs. B called me to her desk. She had tears in her eyes as she told me that Mamie had passed away the night before. I sat there dumbfounded. "What do mean?", I remember asking. She responded with, "Mamie died last night." I sat there and bawled. She hugged me. I could sense the other kids, who's God-given seventh sense was amazing, noticing something wrong, I composed myself and told Mrs. B that I wanted to call my Mom. I did. She picked me up and I didn't go to school that day, but instead went home and cried myself to sleep.
Mamie's funeral was the first funeral I had ever attended. Actually it was the first Black anything (forgive me for the lack of politically correct terms) I had ever attended. I remember walking into this beautiful all-white room filled with flowers at the funeral home. At the very front was a little white casket with a beautiful angel peacefully sleeping inside. Oh, how I wish I had known our Lord then. Her Mama came up to me and we hugged and cried. It was then that I noticed that by the casket in the all-white room was sitting a bright orange and blue Big Wheel. The Big Wheel that Mamie so desperately wanted for Christmas. Her Mama didn't let her down!
Today, I know that Mamie is running through the golden streets of Heaven in no pain, listening to birds chirping and seeing rainbows in the sky. She is whole and healed. And me? Well, I know now that I will someday see that little girl again and I will be able to thank our Savior in person for having put her in my life.
I hope you understand now why meeting this 11 year old little Haitian girl at our play date was so special to me. And boy! Not only did she allow me to use my very rusty sign language skills, but she did not disappoint!
I titled this post that "you don't need eyes to be a miracle" because today, once again, God showed me His creations are perfect. Always. Without exception.
I was expecting the same type of child as I had loved many moons ago. A blind child walking with hands outstretched cautiously navigating through their silent world. No sir. Not this little girl. I stood in awe of God's amazing gifts when you have the faith of a child. There are no fears when you walk by faith. It truly is almost like they have a seventh sense. I take that back. Actually they do. They are God's special children. Their seventh sense? The Lord himself alive in them. And little M. was proof of that.
This little miracle had surgery just a few weeks ago which has allowed her a small amount of vision, maybe three feet, possibly more. She is quickly picking up on signing, which is wonderful. Can you imagine being blind for 11 years and all of a sudden your entire world changes?
I stood in disbelief as I watched how she scurried onto the playground equipment as if she'd been there all her life, taking note of every detail such as the screws on the playground equipment and coming up to my stroller looking at every minute part of it.
While AJ and Karrie's sweet little guy ran around carefree playing with sticks, M. noticed my camera. She immediately wanted to take pictures and I joyfully agreed. We signed back and forth and communicated as much as possible, with her being completely deaf still.
God, being the sovereign and merciful Lord that He is, has provided abundantly for this sweet girl the 3 months she's been here. They have now found an audiologist that has donated his services and made molds for hearing aides for M. Can you imagine how much more her little life is going to change?
This post turned out to be so much longer than I expected it to be when I started. But, I am just so filled with joy at how God works and am so very, very blessed that He let me go back in time for a bit, to days when I see now that even then, without my knowing Him, He was molding my heart. No, I may not have known Him then, but He knew me. And still does.
Sadly, M. returns to Haiti in three months when her medical visa expires. I ask that you keep her in prayer, specifically that the Lord use her in a big, big way when she returns. May the medical assistance that she received here, along with the love from numerous people caring for her now, be something that she carry in her heart forever. But even more importantly, may she learn the unconditional love of Jesus and use this powerful testimony in her life to bring Him much glory.
This precious, little 11 year old is a shining example to me that I can do everything through Him who gives me strength.
Can I get an "AMEN"?
Just hanging out by the water in the hopes of seeing an alligator.