Last week was a terrible week for me.
Emotionally, and spiritually.
Most days I’m not even sure what got into me.
I was mean, snippy, rude, and had no patience.
I let my uglies come out, big time!
I knew I needed an attitude adjustment so I prayed that He would point me in the right direction.
That He would lay what I needed most on my heart.
I was thinking something along the lines of an excerpt from the bible, a hidden message in our sermon that week, or just a simple sign.
What I got was completely different.
It wasn’t a hidden message and it was not simple, that’s for sure.
This week {and it’s only Tuesday} my heart has been rocked.
Like seriously, rocked to it’s core.
Last night I sat and watched a documentary hosted by Half the Sky on PBS.
Believe me when I say I had no idea what awaited me.
The majority of stories revolved around sex trafficking and women’s oppression in other countries.
Gabrielle Union said it best, “Education for them is a safe haven.  For a few hours a day they have a safe environment.”
Can you imagine that? 
What we sometimes think of as a “break” from our kids for 6 hours a day to these children is the only peace and safe place they know for 5 days a week.
And that’s if the family pays for the girls to receive an education.
Most don’t believe girls should receive an education because they are lesser than men.
There were teenage girls working 6 days a week selling lottery tickets to pay for their own education.
Some were selling lottery tickets as a source of income for their family and when they weren’t able to sell all of their tickets they would receive physical punishment at home.
They showed brothels filled with girls ages 7 and up who were used as sex slaves.
They were sold like pieces of clothing, to men.
They were beaten and abused.
Physically, mentally, and emotionally they were torn down and treated like objects rather than people.
That was sign #1.
Then this morning on my way to therapy the lady who drives me proceeded to tell me a story of something that happened to her on Sunday.
This lady heads up Operation Christmas Child at our church and on Sunday she traveled to pick up the shoe boxes we will be filling.  
When she got to said destination there was a speaker there who was a 24 year old Russian woman.
This same woman had received an Operation Christmas Child shoe box when she was just 12 years old and  living in an orphanage.
She expressed to her audience how much she treasured her shoe box as a little girl.
How she had always longed for hair clips but living in an orphanage had never had them, and how she had to keep her hair so short because the lice was uncontrollable at times in the orphanage.
She received hair clips in her shoe box, and even though her hair was short she put in her hair.
How she wished she didn’t have to share 1 toothbrush with 25 other children, and longed to brush her teeth more than once a week.
She received a toothbrush that year.
How she never felt loved in her
How she had never been hugged.
She was finally able to give a hug to the stuffed animal tucked inside her shoe box.
How the only noises you could hear at night were the creaking of the beds in the orphanage as the children would wrap their arms around themselves and rock themselves to sleep.
She thought it was truly amazing that somebody out there cared enough to send her this box.
She had never known love like that.
That was sign #2.
As I laid in my warm, clean, queen size, bed last night with hot tears streaming down my face I had a few thoughts and emotions running through me.
My biggest emotion was gratitude.
My children have three meals a day, they know where there next meal is coming from.
They know what it feels like to be hugged, to know home as a safe place, to know how love feels.
My kids have 2 different toothbrushes AND toothpaste because we have 2.5 bathrooms.
To my kids mom and dad are only known as protectors that will keep them away from anything harmful, not throw them out because they have shamed our family.
We have the resources to clothe them, feed them, take care of, and educate them.
Spiritually, mentally, emotionally, and physically we can meet these needs, and for that I am grateful.
These were my signs.
I’ve been taking for granted what is right in front of me.
On days when it seems like too much work, or I want to throw in the towel
I want to remember their smiley faces, their bright and happy eyes, and their childlike attitudes.
I want to remember their innocence, the way they mispronounce words, and the messes they made because of all the toys they had!
I want to keep them this way for as long as possible.
I want to put them in a capsule and savor this time.
Because as we all know I will never get this time back.
I don’t want my uglies to come out when someone doesn’t hang their book bag where it belongs.
They are kids.
There will be messes, fights, little patience, unkind words, and headaches.
But I know there will also be laughter, fun, joy, fulfillment, pride, and love.

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