A precious one named Susanna.

Today I met another Susanna, from a very different world, who has a very different culture and a very different story than mine. She would have been barely three years old. I didn’t see her smile, I didn’t see her laugh.. surrounded by poverty, she could barely stand on her own. I smiled and laughed as I realised that she had the same name as me, and there were giggles all round as each child repeated my name and pointed to this little one. I picked her up and gave her a cuddle, her eyes were dirty and sad, she barely responded. I wrapped my arms around her only to realise she was incredibly sick, her hard stomach was half the size of her entire body.

It’s so easy to look at all the brokenness and poverty surrounding us and just say it’s all too hard. Say that there’s nothing you can do. Pray for healing, whisper Jesus loves them, and move on. Today my heart ached as I held little Susanna in my arms.. and the phrase Mama Heidi has been speaking over us repeated over and over in my head. Love has to look like something. I went and got some biscuits and extra water bottles, my offering so small and insignificant, and grabbed up so desperately by each child.

At times in my life I’ve been so drained by my over empathetic heart, but today all I could do was thank Abba for such deep emotions for this little one and her family. For letting me feel even just a taste of the brokenness he feels for her. For this little one who’s name means a lily, a rose, purity and wholeness. As I prayed her name over her, sores covering her feet, a terrible cough racking her body, all I could do was ask the Father to let love look like something more than I had to give. To let it look like healing and freedom, to let it be that one day she is able to go to school, that she won’t have stunted growth and won’t suffer anymore.

The truth of the world is that she is just another nameless, faceless poverty stricken child. But the truth of heaven is that she is known by name, Susanna, she is seen and every hair on her head is numbered.

That the Father sees her, as he sees me, that he longs for the same relationship I have with him to be in her. That his thoughts about her matter, and that when the kingdom fully comes she will no longer be unknown, no longer be in pain.. that she will be seated with the princes and kings of heaven as a queen and daughter who knows how she has been rescued and covered with light.

I used to think of Africa and be so daunted by the emotions, the need, the desperation. I used to think that the only thing that would really make a difference in the kingdom was praying for Jesus to return and bring wholeness (which I still pray for every day!). But as I begin to understand how he longs to partner with us to stop for the one, it changes everything. One little one who shares my name, shares the meaning of purity and wholeness. A little one who’s name means a flower, who is the lily of the valley, which only blooms in the lowest of places.

My prayer for her is that she would bloom despite the pain and poverty she is surrounded by. That she would desire to live and not die, that you Jesus, would crown her with glory and honour. That I would see her again and that you would continue to teach me what love looks like to the least of these. That I would never think or feel that my influence is too great to go low and see the ones that your heart beats for - the ones that you yourself saw Jesus.