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Helping children make the climb

I am huffing and puffing, struggling to put one foot in front of the other, and I remind myself this is good for me. I repeat the message to myself over and over, but my body is not listening.

On a recent trip to the mountains, my husband and I spent time walking each day. We were fortunate that we were in an area with paved roads and the light traffic made walking convenient. It was great, except for one thing: hills.

In the mountains, walking includes climbing hills. Just a slight incline results in more pain, a greater lack of breath, and thoughts of “how much further.” My legs felt like concrete blocks.

I think about Baptist Children’s Homes’ (BCH) children and families and how life for them has been like walking up a hill. Through no fault of their own, life has been a daily struggle of simply putting one foot in front of the other. Most of our lives are like walking on flat, smooth roads. It’s hard to understanding why others have a hard time keeping up with the basic demands of life.

Consider the children who come to us without the foundation of parental love. As a result, these boys and girls have never felt valued or treasured. They come to us not believing that they can achieve goals and be successful. Life has too many hills to climb.

For me, walking up a hill is good. If I spend time walking up hills, I will be healthier. But when a child faces nothing but hills, she grows weary and gives up. The child believes there will never be any smooth places in her life.

Think how discouraging that would be – how easy it would be to lose hope. This is where BCH enters the picture. Through your support, we provide smooth, level places for our children. In doing so, we offer love, hope and encouragement – for some children, for the very first time.

Do you remember the verse in Isaiah about mountains, hills and uneven ground? It’s found in chapter 40. Part of verse 4 reads: “. . .every mountain and hill made low; the rough ground shall become level, the rugged places a plain.”

This passage references the coming of the Messiah. It is through Jesus that we offer children and families hope. We cannot undo the mountains the children have already traversed or eliminate the rough places that lie ahead, but we can assure them they will never walk alone.

In a few weeks, children who have just come into our care will begin a new school year in a different school. They will be frightened and their minds will race with questions: Will I make new friends? Will they put me down because I live at a children’s home? Will they make me feel like I don’t belong? Will my teachers be nice and understanding? Will I feel like a failure again?

It will definitely be an uphill experience, but we have the ability to make sure they finish the climb by encouraging them and letting them know that God is with them each step of the way.

As school approaches, children will go shopping with their houseparents to buy clothes and shoes. Although they are excited, they can feel anxious, too. For many, this is a new experience. Many children come to us clinging to all they own in a plastic bag.

Thanks to you, they will have new clothes, school supplies, sports equipment, musical instruments, computers. . .all the things they need to help them begin the new school year’s emotional and educational climb. Thanks to you, they will have loving, caring people to encourage them. Thanks to you, they won’t walk alone.

Providing all the necessities for a school year for the hundreds of children we serve is a tremendous and often daunting challenge. Will you help us with the climb? Please help each child have what is needed for school by calling me at 336-689-4442.

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