Our most recent Safe Family boy left today. You may have seen us around with B over the last month. Perhaps you witnessed him screaming and thrashing because he didn’t want to leave Sunday School class. Or maybe you were the man who stopped B from running into the street when he ran away from us without our knowledge. (Thank you!) You could have been the stranger at the park who he walked up to and called “Daddy.” You may have been at Chick-Fil-A, annoyed that your meal was being interrupted by B’s fit. Or perhaps you were the shopper who stared at me and wondered, “How many kids does she have?”
There were some other events, however, that no one on the outside got to see. Like my daughter helping him into his car seat because years of neglect left him unable to climb on his own, even though he is three years old. The look of surprise on his face when we lit candles in front of him for his birthday. The act of sharing as my five year old learned to not hoard his toys. B’s enthusiastic squeal as he watched an ant crawl across the side walk. The pride on his face when he learned to jump all by himself!
The precious times, however, were at night, when I would tuck him in, kiss his forehead, and tell him, “Jesus loves you.” He’d smile back at me, eyes shining, and repeat, “Jesus loves you.”
And finally, there was the night when it occurred to me that he did not know how to hug. We’d hugged him before, of course, but he just stood there motionless. So I taught him to put his arms around me and squeeze really tight. When Lee got home, I asked B to show him what he learned.
He hugged me. Then he hugged Lee. Then he pointed with a shy smile on his face back to me, and I hugged him again. Then he grinned and pointed back to Lee. They hugged. This tender moment was repeated a dozen times. It is burned into my memory, hopefully never to be forgotten.
And that is what Safe Families is all about. We are not a perfect family. I lost my temper often and my kids had trouble sharing. But we loved him, hoping to show a sliver of Jesus’s love to him, and that is what matters.
B, we are praying for you, and trusting God with your future.