On Sunday evening, I was in one of the older girls' rooms, hanging out with a group of them. One poked her head out the door and squealed, "Se Pradel is coming. Quick! Do devotions!" I hadn't realized it, but apparently they had been told just before I walked in to start doing devotions by room instead of in a large group as usual. Knowing that Se Pradel was going to be opening the door in about 30 seconds, I started an impromptu Bible lesson about the first 8 verses of Psalm 139. When Se Pradel arrived, we were able to truthfully and primly tell her to please not come in because we were doing devotions.
What followed was one of the best devotions I have ever had with the kids. After I shared my psalm, I asked them tell me their favorite texts or verses and to explain why they loved them. Martine talked about Romans 8:31 , "If God is for us, who can be against us?" She said that she gets a lot of comfort and encouragement from those words, knowing that no matter what happens at the orphanage, God is on her side. Kattia read Jeremiah 29:11 about the good plans that God has for our future. Debbie quoted Ecclesiastes 3 (a time for everything) and 1 Thessalonians 5:16-20. Edline read 1 Corinthians 13 and told us that she really believed it; if you don't have love, it doesn't matter what you do have because it's all worthless without love. Chrystel explained Hebrews 13:5 where God says he will never leave us or forsake. She said that even though her family abandoned her and people come and go here at the orphanage, she knows that God will never leave her. Merline Guillaume read Psalm 91 and whispered, with all the innocence of a child, "Sometimes I get scared, and God sends His angels to protect me."Last night, devotions were a little different. I have never known a teenage girl who did not struggle with body image, so I decided to invite all the girls to a Body Image Party. I am not permitted to disclose most of what happened at the party because we all swore an oath of secrecy, but there was a lot of dancing and a lot of laughing and a lot of serious discussion of topics such as what do you like and what do you hate about your body, what scares you about being a grown up woman, and what are you looking forward to about being a woman?
We read Genesis 1 together, where the Bible says that God created man and woman in His image and He said "It is good." I talked to them about loving our bodies, regardless of how the world may judge us. If God made us in His image, then every time we say we wish we were skinnier or we wish our eyelashes were thicker or we wish we had a larger bust, we are essentially telling God that He didn't do a good job. Every time we say we are ugly, we are telling God that this huge gift He has graciously given us is ugly. Psalm 139:14 says, "I praise you because I am fearfully and wonderfully made." Wonderfully! We are beautiful, girls, every single one of us. And when we acknowledge that, we give God the praise He deserves.