Third Grader Inspiration

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“Still, God, you are our Father…”                                          Isaiah 64:8 MSG

It has been a while since I have been able to post anything but just had to share this experience with you today.

Her brown curly hair and chestnut eyes caught my attention immediately. She was beautiful in every way and had a smile that could thaw even the coldest of hearts. When she talked, her eyes lit up with pure joy and enthusiasm. I was lucky enough to have this sweet third grader in my group for Vacation Bible School this year.  As the fun-filled week went on, we learned about how much God loves us and how He is always with us. But I learned more than just that. I determined a young girl’s sweet personality, passion for life,  and love for the Lord blessed me in more ways than I ever could’ve imagined.

The second night of VBS, we discussed amongst our small groups how God is constantly with us and working in our lives. Each child was supposed to tell me one thing they had heard that day that reminded them that God was with them. This precious little girl turned to me, brown eyes glistening, and said, “Today I found out that I’m going to get to meet my father for the first time on Saturday.”

Oh, at first, my heart completely ached for this little girl. She had trudged through her nine years life never having the opportunity to meet her dad. My mind raced through countless scenarios of how this man had missed birthday parties and school events. He had neglected reading bedtime stories and helping with homework.  He forfeited attending school open house and taking her shopping. He had missed sharing warm hugs and snuggles and taking her to church.

I was saddened for my sweet little friend because I just knew her dad’s absence must have been tough on her. Did she sometimes cry because she longed to meet him? Did it make her feel unloved because he hadn’t been a part of her life?

I didn’t have the answers to these questions or any of the details surrounding the situation with her parents. But as I continued to watch and get to know the Bible School participant, my attitude changed.

You see, it was evident to me that she HAD actually met her Father- her Heavenly Father. She had a love for being in church, worshipping, and praising Jesus that shined from every part of her being. She possessed a genuine, loving spirit and a desire to learn about God that was truly inspiring.

I no longer was sad for the third grader but instead, happy for her. Despite the negative circumstances hurled in her pathway of life, she had developed a relationship with God, her true Father, One that would never let her down or abandon her. It was clear that she didn’t dwell on the disappointments of life but rather in the loving arms of God. And instead of me helping her during VBS, she taught me important lessons about faith.

Her earthly dad may have missed out on the best parts of her life, but God never has or ever will, miss anything. Not even one tiny second. He has always been there, for the big and small details of her existence. And her attitude reassures her knowledge that through the coarseness of life, God is the safe haven that is ever-constant and soothing.

I came out of Bible School changed, challenged, blessed, and inspired by the faith of a third grader. I have a renewed appreciation for the blessings of a wonderful earthly dad and a personal relationship with my Creator as well. My hope and prayer for you, my friend, is that you, too, know the deep love and presence of your Father, your Heavenly Father. May His intense love for you be visible in every nook and cranny of your life.

Blessings,

Alisha Ritchie

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