She was silently sobbing in a dark place in her innermost heart. Tears poured as if they had been locked away for years. Her young arms wrapped around her middle as if to hold herself together.
In the small prison chapel, the door to her heart squeaked hesitantly open and she peeked out from a lifetime of anguish. My husband and I ached for her as we answered her questions, shared the Words of God with her.
The voice of a rejected, damaged little girl dared to speak, "I think God is so mad at me."
"Oh, Father," I prayed, "Help me to meet her where she is."
"I love you," I promised her. "There is nothing you could say or nothing you could do that would cause me to love you any less. And if I can love you this much after only meeting you two times, know that God loves you so much more because He made you. He is real. He is the God who loves you and wants to forgive you."
Sad brown eyes looked up at me as the bare hint of a slow sweet smile appeared then quickly faded. Ashes from a lifetime of shame, torment and guilt, no longer buried, no longer smoldering, were stirred by hope.
Vulnerable, shaking with emotion, full of fear yet daring to hope, she pushed her heart's door open wider and stepped out.
"I, even I, am the One who wipes out your transgressions for My own sake; and I will not remember your sins." ~Isaiah 43:25