I woke up this morning praying to God that he open my eyes to what he wants me to see, and to place on my heart what is on his heart. I wasn’t prepared for what He was about to reveal.
In my 20 years in the medical field, I thought I had seen just about everything in child illness or disabilities, but today showed me differently. I looked to my right and I saw three children with Hydrocephaly. I looked to my left and I saw four children with Down’s syndrome. I looked behind a few rows of children over and I saw three more with mental handicaps, and all were paralyzed. I saw more children than before with Cerebral Palsy. I witnessed numerous children with sensory issues that my special needs momma’s heart tells me were all autism. I saw one beautiful young girl with what I knew was an eye disorder. My medical background says she has a tumor behind her eyes, and later I found out she does have a vein issue that pretty much backs up my diagnosis. I don’t think my eyes have ever seen such brokenness and such beauty all in one place.
I glanced to my right and saw this beautiful little girl and then I saw her gait; she was extremely bow legged, to the point that she walked on the sides of her feet. I’m still not sure what her diagnosis would be, but really it doesn’t matter. What I saw was beauty…God’s child. What I wanted her to feel was love. His love. What I did next was such a simple gesture. I had her sit down in front of me and painted her fingernails…because what girl doesn’t love to get a manicure, right? The look on her face was something I will never erase in my mind. I then gently took her sweet, tiny feet in my hand and began painting her toes. Anyone who knows me knows I hate feet. But hers were special, and today I would show her she is special, unique, loved, chosen and never forgotten, not by me or by my Jesus. By painting her toenails and by handling her feet in my hands, she felt beautiful and no longer different. For a few minutes she wasn’t ostracized by others, but instead she was loved. It was a simple gesture to me, but to her it was love, worth, value and beauty. Imago Dei means “in the image of God.” This beautiful little girl was created in God’s image and I was blessed to tell her that because of this, she is perfect.
In the brief time I had with her, she wasn’t just a recipient of a bed, or an orphan, or even a Ugandan child living in the bush. She was Nancy.
Eight year old Nancy, a girl who was loved, who is special to me and to our Jesus. I asked Nancy if she had any prayer requests and she told me she wanted me to pray that she can help other people. My God, melt my heart! Through a translator, I told dear Nancy that God gave her a gift…a gift of her heart, and He wants to use that heart to love others. I took my hand and placed it over her heart. I told her that God would use her in mighty ways and that she needed to be strong, listen to His calling, and be obedient to it, and she will be a great servant of God.
Today, God opened my eyes. He broke my heart. I heard His voice and He spoke to me that I am to advocate for the Nancys of this world…the children of Uganda.
We are called to minister to the needs of the widowed and orphaned. We are commanded to aid the Nancys of this world. The question is, will you help them? Will you walk beside these children, supplying their need of a bed, the only comfort they may ever feel? Will you join me in showing them the love of Jesus Christ? Will you tell them they are worthy of care? Will you?
June, 2016 Gulu Team