From the Heart of A Missionary | “Running Away”

 

Children Running Away From Home

written by Andrea Cross

My son sat on the top bunk sobbing. “You’re so mean, Mum. I’m running away.”

The words stung, but I knew the temporary anger at not being given his way would soon subside and, after pausing for a second to be sure that the tone of my voice was calm, I gently offered to help him pack.

Offer refused.

I left the room remembering other such occasions when similar heated conversations had taken place when I was a child. The backyard at night had seemed so much bigger than it really was and the darkness so much less inviting than daylight to a small kid with nothing much in her backpack but a few soft toys.

As I walked away to let my son take care of his “packing,” I reflected on a time many years ago when we had a particularly angry girl staying with us through the foster care program that we were a part of. How she’d thrown everything she could find down the stairs from the upstairs landing. How her mouth had been literally foaming, as she spat out words that revealed a heart that had been broken and mistreated too many times. I gathered her younger sisters and my own two children into one room, as I silently prayed and quietly slipped away to call our agency while keeping one eye on her as she ventured down our street.

And now here I was with my own young son, as he expressed his frustrations and disappointments in a way that made sense to him.

Escape. Run away. Go.

As parents, many of us can share stories about our children’s attempts at running away and, most of the time, I imagine that most kids make it about 10 strides away from the safety net of home and come running back into your arms. 

For some children though, the decision to run is one that can be costly, dangerous and frightening. Would you please keep praying for the newly rescued children at ZOE (in particular the teenage boys)? Would you also join us in faith for the provision of the money to start building the custom-designed safe house? We desperately want to see these precious children safely through these hard times, as they adjust to a life that involves being loved and cared for. Sadly, this is something they may have never experienced before.

After 10 minutes had passed, and I was sure that my son’s packing must be almost complete, I slipped a tray of food and a drink through the bedroom door and quietly snuck away.

Sure enough, a few minutes later with a sheepish smile and solemn apology, my boy had returned to my loving arms.

As parents, we know there will always be something to correct, a lesson to be learned or a rule to be taught, but when a child returns home, like a long lost son, there is a beautiful feeling of unconditional love and acceptance that is exchanged and momentarily all else fades to insignificance.

As our ZOE parents say, “Though the road ahead will probably be rough, we are still so glad when a child returns home!!”

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