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Hopelessness and despair...and then there was Easter!

Easter is full of hope!

There was hopelessness and despair. And then there was Easter.

For many children in North Carolina, life’s journey can be difficult. This was truly the case for Jasmine, Jesse, Erin, and three siblings – precious little ones.

Jasmine lived in a house where no one had time for her. She lived in a house where many nights she went to bed hungry. No one was there to read her a bedtime story, say prayers with her, or tuck her in and give her a goodnight hug. She knew the meaning of despair and hopelessness because she experienced it every day.

Jesse moved from house to house staying with different relatives. He never had a place to call home. He never had a place where he felt safe or, most importantly, where he felt loved. It was very difficult for Jesse to trust that others could or would care for him. In fact, the pain of rejection was so painful that he would reject others before they had the chance to do the same to him. He built a wall around his heart that was nearly impenetrable.

Erin’s mom died from drug abuse. The trauma of her mother’s death put Erin on a path of hopelessness and despair. It was a journey she struggled to get through each day.

A family of three siblings recently came into our care. I will not use their names for their protection. The oldest is a ten-year-old girl who felt as if she carried the weight of the world on her shoulders. It is heartbreaking to see the despair and hopelessness in her eyes. Her sister is four and her brother is two. They came to Baptist Children’s Homes because of the effects of the opioid epidemic in North Carolina. In this case, the father’s drug abuse plus the mother’s drug abuse resulted in the neglect and abuse of their children.

In an article recently published in the Biblical Recorder, the increase of opioid abuse in North Carolina is described as frightening. “Wilmington is now America’s worst city for opioid abuse. Hickory comes in at number five; Jacksonville ranks 12th and Fayetteville is 18th. One out of every three opioid prescriptions in North Carolina is being abused. In 2015, 738 North Carolinians died from prescription opioid abuse.”

These are not just statistics or numbers on a page. They represent the sorrow of parents left to grieve. They represent children being neglected and abused. They represent hopelessness and despair.

The scenario for the children I mention is all too typical. There are thousands of children in North Carolina who know all too well the meaning of hopelessness and despair.

There are many wonderful stories – from hopeless to hopeful – found in the Bible. Of course, as Easter approaches, the one that comes to mind is the journey of Mary, mother of Jesus, and Mary Magdalene as they journeyed to the tomb of Christ.

“And very early on the first day of the week they went to the tomb when the sun had risen. And they were saying to one another, Who will roll away the stone for us from the door of the tomb?” – Mark 16:2-3

They were burdened by grief and sorrow over the death of Jesus. They knew the feelings of hopelessness and despair. As they approached the tomb, what they discovered was that the grace, hope and power of our Lord could not be bound by any tomb or by any stone! The tomb was empty.

Hopelessness and despair. . .and then there was Easter!

Opiate abuse, domestic violence, poverty, and physical abuse. Every day, the headlines seem to shout to us about the suffering of children and families. The difficult circumstances they face each day is overwhelming. They find themselves asking the same question Mary and Mary Magdalene asked, “Who will roll away the stone of grief and despair?”

For Jasmine, Jesse, Erin, and the three little ones, the journey led them to a place where they would find loving, caring cottage parents who work tirelessly to shower them with love, encouragement and hope by the bucketful. The professional and profoundly loving Christian environment provided by your generosity has worked miracles.

You have shown our children that no hurt is too big for the healing grace of Jesus; no problem too great for the wisdom of God; and nothing that has happened in their lives can prevent the love of Jesus from reaching them. This Easter, they do not make the journey alone. Through your support, you are there to help them make life’s journey.

Last year at BCH, we had the joy of witnessing 147 precious souls make their journey to Jesus.

Thank you for all you have done and are doing to help each one on the journey! This issue of Charity & Children is filled with opportunities to make a difference. Pick one, or more, and make a difference in the life of a child. For more information, call me at 336-689-4442.

Hopelessness and despair. . .and then there was Easter!

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