Wednesday, November 10, 2010

Cleopatra's Purse

Last week, I was sorting through my clothing and other items to see what I needed to give away. I came across an empty purse and smiled. This had been my favorite purse: the perfect size to hold everything I needed and a style and color that went with any outfit. Unfortunately, a few weeks before, I had emptied the purse for the last time. It had become torn on both ends and no longer looked nice for me to carry around. The outside was dirty from lots of use and I hadn’t bothered to clean it since I was not using it anymore.
I considered throwing the purse away, but it seems that in Zimbabwe, everything can be recycled into something useful. I asked Nyarai if she thought anyone would be able to use the purse, pointing out the rips and tears on the sides. Nyarai’s immediate response was, “Give it to Cleopatra.” I found the suggestion odd because Nyarai had met Cleopatra only a handful of times. But, as often happens, Nyarai seems to have an uncanny way of knowing exactly who might benefit from a particular item. I trusted her instincts and sent the purse to school with her to give to Cleopatra without giving it a second thought.
A few days later, Nyarai placed a piece of paper in my hand. It was folded many times and taped on all sides. After managing to unravel it into its full form, I found it was a letter from Cleopatra. The opening line was, “Dear Janine, I am very glad to write this letter thanking you about the bag you sent me.” At first I looked at the letter slightly confused. What bag was she talking about? I had forgotten all about it already.
As I read on, shame covered me. She wrote of my tattered, dirty purse, “it is the best present I have ever received. I love it very much. Even my grandmother will love it. I promise to take extra care of it. I am going to put my books and carry it to school always. I will try my best to keep it clean. May God bless you a million. Yours with gratitude, Cleopatra.” Tears flowed down my cheeks as I thanked God for this beautiful little girl who reminded me of something very precious.
At times in our life, we might also consider ourselves tattered and dirty as sinful human beings. Our shame covers us. But then God speaks over us, “You are the best present I have ever received. I love you very much. I will place others in your life who will also love you. I promise to take extra care of you. I will give you a special purpose always. I will keep you clean; you will be whiter than snow. I will bless you a million…”
May God bless you a million this week:)


  1. WOW Janine Roberts - you have a way with words- that is so beautiful- it somehow reminds me of TOYSTORY 3 (a great movie). I like you sooooo much - don't give up. - Hope a million blessings come your way, too:)

  2. God DID just bless me through Cleopatra's story! Thank God for your gift in sharing about their lives and His work. Bless you sisi Janine!!

  3. Thanks for sharing such a beautiful story and the lessons God is teaching you through such beautiful and unlikely children! Much Love from the CI-HOP!