The Potter, the Clay, and Do-Overs

by Jonni Sliver

I am having a really hard time writing you today. I am feeling fine, but am completely distracted because I have Daniel in a stroller next to me and he is just too cute to not pay attention to! Daniel is five months old and is the son of Odette, one of our house mothers. While she is making lunch and working with the children Daniel spends a fair amount of the morning in our office, distracting the staff with baby conversation and adorable aerobics (biting his toes, practicing for a swim meet as his little arms and legs swing with impressive rhythm). This precious little guy is firmly convinced that he is among the most amazing of children, because he is surrounded by people who tell him every day.

On the other side of the wall is another little one – Emily is 2 and a half and when she arrived a month ago she was convinced that she couldn’t trust anyone. She was afraid of everyone, the house moms and the rest of the staff, the other children. Fortunately she arrived at the beginning of a two week period when there were only a few children in the Home, because she needed time to adjust. By the end of the first week she trusted one person – house mom Neide; but when Neide went home she cried until she fell asleep. By the end of the second week she trusted all four of the house moms, but no one else – not even the other children. By the third week she had begun playing with the other children (a good thing, because by then we had several new children!) as long as she could see one of the moms she trusted. Now, after a month, she has begun laughing and even lets adults who aren’t one of the moms pick her up – if she can see a mom!

Now, why would a two year old have such a firm conviction that you can’t trust people. Because, like Daniel, she was surrounded by people who taught her. It is heartbreaking to think of, but her father regularly abused her, and even as a tiny little girl Emily knew that her mother and grandparents couldn’t or wouldn’t stop him. So she learned that grownups are people that hurt you or let you be hurt.

If I stopped now, you may never read another of my blog entries, it is just too sad. But there is good news! We didn’t go out and find Emily; God brought her to us! And He brought her to us for a reason; He has healing for this precious little girl. He is the Potter and she is the clay; though others have done their best to mar this young life, the Potter is able to remove every mark and create in her the strong, joyful spirit He intends for her. We can’t undo what has been done to Emily, but we can rejoice and participate in the bright future she has before her, and I am so glad for that!