I felt the hard plastic push into the back of my leg. I turned around and looked down at the 3-year old offering me his “ bump shruck” (dump truck) so we could play together. His mom continued giving me the tour of the house and pointing out the specific items she wanted cleaned and the hard spots that were in more need of cleaning. With each new room we walked into the little boy would offer me a new shruck to play with and tell me what it’s used for. We made our way into the kitchen where mom attempted to show me how the Tupperware is to be organized. 3-year old took this opportune moment to show how each item of Tupperware works and what lunch he puts into each container. Mom, frustrated that we kept getting interrupted and that Tupperware was now all over the kitchen floor, asked again for 3-year old to go play somewhere else. In a golden moment of communication, with Tupperware held high, 3-year old ardently exclaimed, “Mom! See me!”
His words immediately struck me. This child wasn’t asking for mom to look at him, but for him to be seen by her.
I think of our boys here in the Joel Home. How many times have they stood in the kitchen, dishes strewn everywhere, hands held high, exclaiming, “Courtney! See me!” How many times have they followed me around with their gifts of love, desiring my undivided attention, desiring that I would stop everything I’m doing and join them to play with their favorite toy?
How many times do our boys, through odd behaviors, ask me to see them, to notice them, to value them?
Once again, it is a child that is teaching me the best lessons of a life lived in Christ.
I’m reminded of the woman Jesus met at the well. Knowing her history and knowing that, according to the world, she had nothing to offer, Jesus looked past all of that directly to her. Even though she held no special titles, had no qualifying experiences, and held no public position of authority or respect, Jesus saw her and valued her and took the time to make her feel seen and make her recognize that she mattered. Jesus looked directly to the heart and the need of this woman.
The words of a 3-year old challenge me to look past behaviors and to the hearts and the needs of the guys God has entrusted to us. I need to see them and value them. I must recognize the gifts and qualities God has instilled in these guys and then help them to recognize these gifts, as well! Even though these guys hold no special titles, haven’t had experiences to qualify them, nor do they hold high public position, my job is to imitate Jesus and recognize that each one of these boys matter. Not only do they matter, but as we studied with them last week in 1 Timothy, they have something to offer and are not to be discounted.
These guys may have bounced from home to home, some even finding themselves homeless at points in their lives, but Christ has a plan for each of them and is about the redemptive work of these incredible young men. If Jesus could take time to stop and sit with a woman and speak restoration into her life, how much more should I be doing the same? My prayer is that, like the woman, many will come to believe in Christ because of the testimony of these guys (John 4:39).
Sweet boy, I see you, I notice you, and I value you. You matter.
“Jesus said to her, ‘Everyone who drinks of this water will be thirsty again, but whoever drinks of the water that I will give him will never be thirsty again. The water that I will give him will become in him a spring of water welling up to eternal life.’” – John 4:13-14
“But the LORD said to Samuel, ‘Do not consider his appearance or his height, for I have rejected him. The LORD does not look at the things man looks at. Man looks at the outward appearance, but the LORD looks at the heart.’” – 1 Samuel 16:7