Sunday, October 28, 2012

A plan in action

Things are finally coming together for when my time is up at GLA. My temporary position will be filled by a full time staff member who will arrive in January.
God has revealed some incredibly exciting plans for the next chapter! I'm so excited to share them with you. Over the next few days I'm going to tell you all about the wonderful blessings coming my way and how you can be part of it.
During this time I would love to have your prayers, of thanks to God for His provisions and of unwavering faith in His plans.

Wednesday, October 24, 2012

And Then He Smiled…

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“No wonder my heart is glad, and I rejoice.

My body rests in safety.

- Psalm 16:9

Monday, October 22, 2012

Every Once In A While

Every once in a while, one comes along that is different than the others.

One who wrecks me and reminds me how far from acceptable this normal life of mine is.

And I am lucky, when one comes and my life is changed again, in an unimaginable, and miles away from easy way. I am blessed as my heart and passion are recaptured for this place.

Last week it happened again, through him.

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20 months old. Just over 12 pounds. Eyes full of stories, pain, history and life.

When I removed his shirt to bathe him for the first time, he bit me! He’s a fighter, he has to be to have made it this long.

While he sat naked and my eyes traveled his broken and weary body I saw something that I had never seen before... Along his back there they were, honest to goodness piercing bones. With no fat to cushion as he lie on a mattress, for who knows how long, his tiny vertebrae had rubbed raw though his fragile skin.

“Lord, break my heart, save me from my selfish desires, from my human self. Lord, show me how desperately this world needs you, how desperately I need you!”

And He did. Through this little boy. Who, because he was born into a sinful world, has suffered more than you or I could ever imagine. His physical pain is outrageous. His emotional trauma is heartbreaking. His future, one week ago, was hopeless.

But today, it isn’t so. Today he is 1 pound heavier than he was when he arrived. Today his belly is full and his bed is clean. Today, while he snuggled in my arms I whispered in his ear promises, not just of my earthly love but the story of a love beyond all others. A love story of a Savior who knows his name, a Father who saw his face, loved him with a daddy love, and who died to rescue him.

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One day soon he will smile, and then he will laugh and he will be well. He will run and play like he should and I will step back and smile. I will remember how far he has come and in the same breath, I pray I will remember the depths from which that very same Daddy has rescued me. 

Saturday, October 13, 2012

Baby Daddy

When I was 19 years old I remember saying that “if I’m not married by the time I am 22 I’m going to DIE!”

Ok, dramatic? Yes. But in the world I knew then, not so far fetched. Some of my girlfriends from high school were already married, many more well on their way. I felt a little sad, a little lonely and a bit left out. Why wasn’t I in on all of that? Once, I thought it might be within reach, but loving someone and loving the idea of someone are very different things. Luckily, I learned to differentiate before making a big mistake.

Fast forward and it’s 8 years later. I have a daily conversation with my daughter that goes like this:

“Annie, say Mama”
“Dada”
“No, MAMA”
“DADA”
“Say Mommy”
“Daddy”

And I know, it’s just because of how language develops. I know, it’s just a sound. Those words mean nothing to her but oh, they pierce my heart. It kills me to know that my baby doesn’t have an earthly father in her life.

Someday I will have to tell her of a papa who walked away… I don't know how to do that. I have no idea how to put into words what circumstances would cause anyone walk away from that amazing little girl. How can I explain to her something I don’t understand? Her birth mom visits her often, she loves her fiercely! Her papa came once, he wanted to see her, he held her and smiled and said she was beautiful. I know that he loved her in that moment, I saw it in his eyes, but when he put her down and walked away, I never heard from him again. I have his photo, there is no question that is her papa, she looks just like him. He knew too and when he looked at her he claimed her, he said it. But still, he walked away.

Someday she will ask and I will have to tell her and I have no idea how to do that. No doubt God has already whispered the words that I need. I pray I have the wisdom to hear them.

Never in my wildest dreams could I have imagined that I would be 27th years old, blessed with the most incredible child the world has ever known, and be doing it alone. Being a single mother was never an idea I entertained. It wasn’t one of my childhood plans. It doesn’t fit with what I thought I wanted at all. This situation isn’t the one of my dreams, but she is. This breathtaking little girl that fills every day with joy and laughter and more love than I ever knew I had to give. She changed my life and my dreams and the things I wanted and even needed. My calling to Haiti began long before I saw her face and it will continue for long beyond what it takes for her to be mine forever. This calling was never about her or even me but this calling changed when she arrived. Because now this foreign land is my home, because it is where my family it. It’s here for as long as it takes for my baby and I do the work He has prepared and learn the lessons He is teaching. My dreams are in her future and the incredible things I know she will accomplish, my perseverance is in teaching her to serve alongside me for His glory.

I have a father here on this earth and there are no words to describe how blessed I am by him. I look at my daughter and I think I get a glimpse of his love towards me. One day, in the blink of an eye and a lifetime ago, I was that baby and he stood over my crib and thought and dreamed about what I would be. I’m guessing this surprise life never crossed his mind but I have never once doubted that he loved me or that I made him proud. I know it because he tells me and I understand why his eyes fill with tears when we talk about it. Because now, I know what it’s like to have a child that you love more than life, to know that whatever she does, it will be incredible and you will be outrageously proud.

And still, among the blessings and joy and peace He gives, this isn’t how I thought it would be. Some days it’s not even what I want it to be. I know that no one ever thinks that someone else’s child is as beautiful as their own. Some nights while I watch her sleep I long for someone to share in the wonder of her with me. To stare at her and whisper over her amazingness. To marvel over her tiny fingers and toes and dream about her future. Someday a man may come along who is just crazy enough to look at this adventure and want to be a part of it. A man that will win both her heart and mine. It may happen or it may not. Either way, as I daydream and long for those moments I am reminded so purposefully that her true daddy is there, standing beside me, staring at this beautiful child that He knit together, marveling at her beauty. The perfect Father. Abba, hers and mine.

So for now, while she chatters over and over “dada, dada” I will just keep smiling and laughing like it’s the most adorable thing in the world and I will combat the piercing pain in my heart, I will fight the feelings of failure that come with not giving her a daddy here, with the promise that I know. My God is a father to the fatherless. My baby needs a daddy and if she never has an earthly one, she is still forever be marked on the palms of His hands. His precious daughter. His beloved child.

Monday, October 1, 2012

Love Your Neighbor

There is a reason I am the way I am, a reason for where my priorities lie. I will be the first to admit that I act impulsive, entitled and outrageously selfish more times than I can keep track of in a 24 hour period. I will never claim to be selfless or to truly understand sacrificial love the way we are commanded to. I will never claim that I am doing anything more that what God tells each of us to do, I am loving my neighbor. My neighbor who happens to be a beautiful brown baby, a child of God in need.

Once upon a time I could put the value of a human life on the same level as a favorite pet or television show or comfort food. Once upon a time I had the luxury of never having seen a child so starved that his bones practically pierced through his tissue paper skin. Once upon a time I had never seen a mother hand her daughter to a stranger in order to preserve her life. In a life before this one, it didn’t cross my mind that for every breath that entered and left me each day, another child became an orphan to a ruthless disease called AIDS. I used to fall asleep each night with no idea that 16,000 children had died that day because they didn’t have anything to eat, even if I had known it wouldn’t have meant much.

Because I hadn’t held them, I hadn’t sat up with them at night watching their chest rise and fall, begging God for that next breath to come, I hadn’t bathed their lifeless bodies and placed them into a coffin or cardboard box or old suitcase to be buried in a cemetery where no one would visit.

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I didn’t know their names or their stories. I didn’t know the feeling in the pit of my stomach that would overtake me the first time a child smiled and I knew, this one would not die, he would live. I didn’t know the absolute miracle of watching him run and play and splash in a blow up wading pool. I didn’t know what it was like to feed her the first bits of food she had eaten in days and watch her eyes light up.

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These images, burned into my mind forever are the reasons that I am changed. They are why I am barely a memory of the person I used to be. Because once upon a time I didn’t know but now I do.  My eyes have been opened by the commandment of my Savior, to love my neighbor, more than my family, more than my home, more than my dog and more than myself.