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A Little Child Will Lead Them

She read it in Pockets. A children's magazine, given to her by her great GrandMary.

This idea of really celebrating by giving rather than getting.

And at only six, she marched right up to me and declared that this is how she wanted to begin her seventh year.

"I just already have so much... and kids at the homeless shelter... they don't have anything, right?"

And she had asked it hopeful "... but you can still make me a cake, right? And maybe my birthday gifts could be time with people? Where everyone just talks to me and plays stuff with me? And I can still have my birthday sign you made from last year?"

So we went to Target. Made a gift registry, took that scanner and had a blast walking aisles and imaging the excitement of the unsuspecting recipients with every beep.

Then we celebrated the gift Selah is to each of us who are blessed to be in her life.

Family and friends generously gave and a little over a week later we walked into Star of Hope arms-full and hopeful these that small seeds of Christ-love would root deep in lonely hearts.

Selah delivers gifts for children at Star of Hope

This world is ugly and broken but He is beautiful and healing and we are all truly homeless without Him.

And she had whispered it quiet... as we waited for Scott Arthur and Betty Nunnally  to return to the conference room to talk with us and give us a tour of this shelter they help sustain... she wanted to know because the picture of the sweet toddler sleeping on a mat held her curiosity... "Do they really have to sleep on the floor, Mom?..."

I told her I didn't think so, that I thought they had beds.

When Scott and Betty returned with cameras and questions and compliments and information we learned that yes, they have beds, but about 900 people per night stay with them and 101 people had to sleep on the floor the previous night.

"When they come to us, they truly have nothing..." Betty told us later as we walked through cheerful rooms where staff made joyful banging-noise with children, and passed a class of staff-lead discussion with teens. She shared of a child staying with them who expressed delight that her bed actually had the luxury of sheets. "... Something she had never had before."

We saw the round tables of the cafeteria, "... So it feels less 'institutional'... more like home..."

Betty shared about professional development programs and of the chapel and counseling and of deep generational wounds and that really "only those who really embrace a relationship with Christ make lasting change. And we don't force this on them. But they have the opportunity..."

And they, who serve day in and day out, thanked Selah for sharing her gifts, and asked to take a few pictures.

She smiled shy and whispered hope to me "maybe this will encourage other kids to do the same thing?..." and I wondered how she grew into this little woman while I was blinking.

And Selah, she thought a lot and asked a lot and later told me with unwavering certainty "Mom, this is something I want to do again next year."

Elise Duncan
See more pictures on Redeeming the Days

Houston's Star of Hope Mission
Urgent and Ongoing Needs

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