I Still Have You

In a world where texting, tweeting and re-tweeting have become all but the norm, four simple words delivered the “old fashioned way” humbled me — opening my eyes wide to a greater appreciation of the privileged role we all share as child sponsors.

young woman standing at the edge of water

“I did not write you the last time, but my father has died after being hospitalized for a while. I was very sad by his death, but …

“I still have you.”

These words were written in a letter from Nibret, my 19-year-old correspondence- sponsored child in Ethiopia.

After careful reflection and contemplative prayer, I imagine a God-inspired well deep within Nibret’s heart, overflowing with His amazing grace.

In Psalm 34:18, David reminds us that “The Lord is close to the brokenhearted.”

Brokenness met with love — a special love capable of uniting sponsor and child through God’s beautiful blessing and most merciful grace.

Prayer has a special way of making all things possible.

As I diligently continue extracting with more clarity the depth of her honoring words — “I still have you” — I imagine God, in all His faithfulness, saying the same to us.

“I still have you.”

Friend, regardless of your shortcomings or whether, like me, you carry around any self-imposed feelings of inadequacy, hold tight to God’s truth:

You are a precious child of God, dearly loved, gifted and uniquely created in His image.

I imagine our gracious God smiling upon you with a fatherly approval, saying, “I still have you.”

In subsequent letters, Nibret regularly expressed thanks for all the unconditional love so generously lavished upon her and her friends at her Compassion-assisted child development center. In fact, it was at this center that she gave her heart to Jesus.

Nibret told me,

“I made up my mind to serve the Lord throughout my life span. Jesus came to this world, was crucified and shed His blood to save us from eternal death. So we must use the chance to serve Him.”

And, while sharing Nibret’s encouraging words is indeed a wonderful privilege, her words were not for me alone.

As you joyfully reflect on your precious sponsored child(ren), may Nibret’s words resonate deep within your heart …

“I still have you.”

Re-tweet that. ☺

ABOUT THE AUTHOR: Jeremy Vance became a sponsor in 1997 and then became a Compassion Advocate in 2006. Currently he sponsors seven children and is a correspondent sponsor with nine more. He lives in Grand Rapids, Mich.

12 Comments |Add a comment

  1. Beth September 5, 2012

    You have such a gift for words, and thank you for sharing such a special moment in time. I love the way that Jesus Christ works in broken lives….and that He heals the brokenhearted. I hope that I can keep repeating “I still have you” and remember their impact that a sponsor has but that Jesus has for all who need Him.

    1. Jeremy Vance September 7, 2012

      Thanks for sharing, Beth. I fear to even think where any of us might be without Jesus’ saving, redemptive grace; a free gift offered to ALL who are willing to accept His invitation. Our world loves to convince us that in order to be successful we need to ‘do’, ‘become’, or ‘achieve’, etc. And while nothing is wrong with these intentions (when pursued with a clean heart), I love how God’s word reminds us that He knew us before we were even born. Beth, He knew YOU even before you were born. And He knew your precious Compassion sponsored child(ren) before they breathed their first breath. Bless your heart for all the love you lend to your child(ren).

  2. Michael Patterson September 5, 2012

    Sometime I forget how important letters are. We had been sponsoring Yefredy for 8 years, and her sponsorship had become little more than a monthly bill to me. I had gotten lazy about writing letters to her even after she lost her father, then later her grandfather. In February, 2005 after sponsoring her for 8 years I got a letter that said, “thank you for the Christmas gift you sent. But I want you to know that I’m sad because this past year my father died, then later my grandfather died. Now I feel like I’ve lost you because you never write to me anymore. I want you to know that I think of you as my family and I hope you will never forget me.” That letter crushed us. We realized that we had meant so much more to her than the money we sent. That day we signed up to go on a sponsor tour and go meet her in person. That trip truly changed me forever and led to many major changes in our lives. God bless you for being so faithful in your letters! I will never forget to write my sponsored children again.

    1. Jeremy Vance September 7, 2012

      Wow! Thank you so much for sharing, Michael. I am convinced that If I had even half an ounce of the God-given courage demonstrated so admirably by children like your Yefredy, I’d be a very blessed person. Over the years I’ve found myself feeling somewhat surprised, also having been on the receiving end of a letter where a child asked that I please not forget them. And every single time I hear such an innocent plea from our kids, always causes me to imagine: What must it feel like to ask others not to forget you? Several years ago in 2008, I am not at all proud to admit but I neglected letter writing…and while I can say a million excuses, I suppose, like it was a busy season (which it was) or…. wouldn’t you know, God would use a little 12-year-old boy in Ecuador – speaking through him – in order to wake me up, saying, “I’m really missing your letters, I hope you are okay. You are like a big brother to me – I really look up to you.” Humbling to say the least. Keep up the great work, Michael!

  3. David September 5, 2012

    Thank you so much for this wonderful blog! So thankful He still has us. And we get to share that love! How cool is that!?

    1. Jeremy Vance September 6, 2012

      Thanks, David! Your words were really encouraging. Love how God longs to use us all: regardless if we are young or old and despite our faults and failures – by His grace, we all are worthy candidates for serving on His team. 🙂

  4. Kris September 5, 2012

    I really loved this powerfully simple post. Beautiful!!

    1. Jeremy Vance September 6, 2012

      Thanks, Kris! I thank Compassion for granting me the privilege of sharing Nibret’s encouraging words. Next step: Sharing a final letter of encouragement for my friend, who, thanks to God’s strength has blossomed into a precious, confident 21-year-old young lady.

  5. Angelica Briceño September 5, 2012

    Wonderful!! Thank you for sharing Jeremy!

    1. Jeremy Vance September 5, 2012

      Thanks so much for sharing your kind words, Angie! You are a blessing, my friend. 🙂

  6. Teena September 5, 2012

    Thank you for sharing! Amazing. Precious.

    Llfe changing.

    1. Jeremy Vance September 5, 2012

      Thanks, Teena! Your words are encouraging. I am continually left smiling at the beautiful ways in which our sponsored children generously bless our lives.

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