This week our sermon was based on Nehemiah 1-2. The pastor began his message by saying:
Think of a time when you were excited to be a part of God’s dream. Where were you? When was it? What was happening? How were you part of God’s plan?
This statement stirred something within me. Reading it again in the sermon notes, brings me to tears. I can answer those four question quickly and surely without a doubt in my mind.
Think of a time when you were excited to be a part of God’s dream. Adoption- plain and simple. From the grueling part of gathering paperwork, getting things stamped, apostilled, and mailed to a foreign country. From the frustrating and exhilarating days in country. I never feel closer to God than when we are in the midst of an adoption.
Where were you? The small closets we visited our daughter in, the storage room filled with extra cribs and mattresses, outside on an old park bench outside the baby house surrounded by playground equipment that has not been used in years. Amongst teenagers who so desperately seek attention and long for adult interaction. Sitting outside a room, hearing a baby whimper with no acknowledgement from a staff member. I wanted to be the one to go in, scoop up, and rescue each child--love them--give him/her the attention he/she deserved.
When was it? It all began in 2004 when one of my kiddos at school went into foster care. I saw him passed from one home another. I saw the pain it caused him. That's when the flame within my heart began. The flame grew in 2005 when we hosted a small, 8 year old Ukrainian orphan in our home for 4 weeks. It continued to intensify when we traveled to Ukraine with a mission team. I saw the hopelessness in the children at the orphanage, yet I saw a small glimmer of hope in those children who had been hosted. It was in 2007, thought the hopeless days, the uncertain times, and the joyous days when Shedova Ghanna became our daughter Abigail Hannah. It was in 2009, when we met Mila for the first time and she looked right through me. I wasn't sure she would ever learn the simple joys of life. It was in the joy of finally seeing our son's file and picture in 2011 in an office in Kiev Ukraine, knowing that he would finally be a Layne. It was meeting our son Konstantine for the first time. It is ever time I see a photo listing of a child who needs a home.
What was happening? Each time I feel that excitement, I realize that I am living out God's dream for me, for my family. There was a time when I wanted nothing more than to birth my own children. Now, I realize that HE brought each of my children to life, and kept them safe until we came for them. I've loved on a child who has not bathed in days. I've loved on a child who's hair is matted from hours upon days of laying in a crib for an endless amount of time. I've loved each child for his/her abilities, and embraced their disabilities, their hurt, and their pain. We've made them a part of a family--God's family. A family that will never leave them, never forsake them, and always hold them accountable.
How were you part of God’s plan? God continues to stir my heart. He's been quietly and patiently waiting for me to vocally proclaim what I already know in my heart is true. We can do more. There are an estimated over 143 million orphans in the world. That is enough children to go three times around the world at the equator.
It is hard to grasp such large numbers, so picture being on a very long road trip. If you had these orphans hold hands in a line, you would see over 1,700 orphans per mile. If you were to follow that line of Orphans holding hands, driving 60 mph, you could drive 24 hours a day seeing 1,700 orphans every mile, hour after hour, day after day without stopping for over two months, and you would still see orphans holding hands.(http://www.orphanshope.org/)
I see a photo listing of a child in need of a home and my heart screams out- "Me! I could could be that child's Mama!", then my brain takes over and the numbers begin to cloud the feelings of my heart (thousand dollars here, thousands of dollars there, not in the bank account, lack of beds, space in the car....). I struggle with the unknown, the money aspect of it all.
I know in my heart what God has designed me to do. He has designed me to be a mother to children who has disabilities, hurt, or loss. HE has given me the ability to love all people, despite their disabilities, and embrace each child for who he/she is- Wonderfully made by God. I would drive a 12/15 passenger van. I would drive a bus. I can handle wheelchairs, feeding tubes, trach tubes, dirty diapers. I need to realize God's dream for me, and continue to be part of HIS plan, rather than let my own doubts and insecurities creep up within me. HE knows me better than I know myself.
(Thanks Pastor Kevin for the reminder!)
Plan for today- re-focus on the plan that God has for me, for our family. Prayerfully plan how we can continue to be part of God's dream and glorify HIM by being part of HIS plan.