The beautiful little dark-haired girl, her big brown eyes shimmering with intense excitement, was mesmerized as she drew. The teacher approached to get a closer look at AnneMarie’s artwork. From first glance, the teacher could clearly see the child’s attention to detail. For a six-year-old kindergartner, her artistic talent far exceeded her chronological age.
The white two-story bungalow was situated amid a green grassy yard, with bushes and flowers strategically planted all around. The front and back porches were brick-red in color. The black driveway where a blue car was parked led to the white garage. There was a swing set and a tree with giant red apples in the back yard.
As the teacher continued to look at the picture, she soon realized that the house had no windows or doors. She would point out this oversight when AnneMarie was finished. Surely a child this detail-oriented had simply forgotten as she was engrossed in drawing other parts of the picture.
AnneMarie finished the drawing with a blue sky and white floating clouds. The final touch was a huge shining sun. The yellow rays seemed to be smiling down on the child’s home.
The teacher watched as AnneMarie inspected her picture. Seemingly satisfied with her artwork, obviously oblivious to the oversight, AnneMarie put her crayons back in the box.
Stunned, the teacher said, “My dear, you did not draw any windows or doors in your home.”
The girl nervously averted her eyes from the teacher’s gaze and stammered, “That’s because there is no way to get out of my house. Once I’m in there, there’s no way out.”
Puzzled, the teacher asked what she meant. AnneMarie sat in stony silence.
The confused teacher decided to talk about another aspect of the picture. She drew AnneMarie’s attention to the bright yellow sun and how it seemed to be smiling down on her home. As soon as she finished that sentence, AnneMarie’s face crumbled and she appeared to be choking back tears. Then anger flashed in those big brown eyes.
She grabbed the black crayon from her box, and covered the sun with darkness. Still angry, she blackened the white house, the grass, flowers and trees. Even the garage and the car were scribbled out of focus with the strokes of black. The swing set and apple tree were soon unrecognizable.
The teacher appeared startled, but was abruptly interrupted by another student’s need of help. This incident was soon forgotten by the busy kindergarten teacher.
Little did this teacher know that AnneMarie was from an abusive home. She, nor any other teacher, seemed to recognize the signs of torture that were in all of her artwork. A home with no escape? No windows? No doors? A child’s words that there is no way out? AnneMarie called for help through her drawings, time and time again. Sadly, it went unnoticed by the teachers of her day. In their defense, teachers in the 1950s were not trained to look for abuse. This tortured little girl went through her school years with no one recognizing her distress signals. Eventually her artwork stopped, as did her pleas for help.
But somewhere deep inside of her, hope never waned. With every morning’s bright yellow sunrise, she would hope and pray for rescue. When the dark night fell, the blackness of horrific tortuous acts done to her eradicated any trace of hope until the morning sun would rise again.
What happened to that little dark-haired girl with the big brown eyes? Is she still locked up in the torture of her own mind? Did the hope of the day’s yellow sunshine ever find her, leading her out of the night’s darkness and pain?
I am here to say that the “Son-shine” of Jesus Christ found that tortured little girl, leading her to total freedom! If she drew pictures today, AnneMarie’s home would be filled with windows and doors. She would happily run in and out of the house, free from her haunting childhood past of being raised in Satanism.
AnneMarie no longer draws, but writes. Her story of coming out of darkness into the healing light of Jesus Christ is now a published work. It tells the world that God’s grace was sufficient to sustain this child, protecting her for such a time as this in history. AnneMarie truly is “A Grownup Child of Grace.” I know, because I am AnneMarie!
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