It's with certainty that I can tell you, I will be crying in a few weeks, when I first set my eyes on my oldest child. The one I did not give birth to, but over whose life my heart and prayers have labored for 20 months. The son who does not share our last name or live in our home, but whose presence in our family has changed us by God's hand in more ways than I can ever list, will quite possibly stand in awe of this red-headed American woman who is crying when she meets him and saying, "Thank you, Jesus" in a language he does not speak. I'm hoping that he'll see the joy in those tears and be blessed to know how much he moves my heart.
His photos hang on our walls. His sleeping bag is rolled up in its case upstairs, alongside Eli's and Lia's. His fishing pole is in our garage. Our two-year old includes him in the list of siblings she prays for at bedtime. But he is not here. There are still a few things in bags on my bedroom floor that I have held off mailing to him. Because I hoped he would be coming here and we could give them to him in person.
Instead, we will take his things to him ourselves next month. "For my thoughts are not your thoughts, neither are your ways my ways," declares the LORD. "As the heavens are higher than the earth, so are my ways than your ways and my thoughts than your thoughts." Isaiah 55: 8-9
We've also been given some wonderful things to share with our friends at Sunshine, from our local Borders, which is closing. (More tears.) We were told that flavored coffee is a big treat to our friends at Sunshine, so Borders has been collecting donations of coffee from wonderfully generous customers, and they have also put together some cool things for the kids!
We're so encouraged to see how the Lord is providing for our needs as we are going ahead on this trip He has called us to. We have been relying on the Lord for every penny of our travel expenses, and He has provided graciously for all things. We purchased our tickets last week, and we had five bucks to spare! Now we're raising funds for our expenses in-country, and we have been blessed by friends giving, either through Project HOPEFUL's "Donate" button up at the top right of this blog or directly making gifts to us for the things we'll be doing in our ministry overseas.
God is so faithful. I just want to be sure to say that today. He is so faithful, and He is always faithful. If there is anything in your life that you are sensing the Lord calling you to do, stepping out in faith, walking beyond the borders of where you are comfortable, agreeing to do more than you can possibly do with the resources you have within your control: go for it. That's on my heart to share. I don't know if someone reading this today may be hearing all the reasons not to do something being whispered over the call of Christ to step out, but I want to encourage you to say "yes." Say yes before the money is there, or the house is perfect, or the answers all are worked out. Say yes, because the One who is calling you out is able to meet each need as it arises, and if you have all the resources and all the answers, then are you really even using any faith? I'm learning so much about clinging to nothing but my Lord, and He alone is able.
I have one request of you all. Would you please pray for us? This morning I've been reading in Colossians, and I'd like to make this verse my request. "And pray for us, too, that God may open a door for our message, so that we may proclaim the mystery of Christ...Pray that I may proclaim it clearly, as I should." Colossians 4:3 & 4 Please also pray for Sasha, that his life and his future will be impacted by the message of the Gospel, that we will share with him the love of Christ in ways that meet him right where he is, and that he will know the love of a mom and dad, even though he has had to suffer the loss of his birth mom and dad. Please pray that we will be a blessing to the staff who work with all the kids, both at Sunshine and at any other orphanage or children's center we will be visiting. Please pray we will be led by the Spirit in knowing what to say and how to say it at all times, and that we would be wise and that we would build lasting relationships. Above all, please pray that God will be glorified in every single aspect of our travels and our time.
Some of you have followed our journey with Sasha since its beginning. There have been so many tears cried over this boy. We have come to love him with the love of Christ and with the love of parents, and we know God's plans for him are so good. I love what Psalm 126 says: "The Lord has done great things for us, and we are filled with joy... Those who sow in tears will reap with songs of joy. He who goes out weeping, carrying seeds to sow, will return with songs of joy, carrying sheaves with him." The Lord has brought us to the place where the tears will be tears of joy. We've birthed dreams and we've seen them die. We've handed back to the Lord those things which we believe He has written on our hearts, and He does what only He is able to do. He has written for our lives a story we could not have predicted, and it is good. His faithfulness never fails us. He is the Lord, our God, and we are honored to be able to serve Him.
Thank you for your prayers. God is using you to accomplish His will, and we know we are surrounded by those who love us and who share God's heart for the orphan. We are eager to meet the caregivers we have come to call our friends, who serve the Lord daily in the fields of the fatherless. We look forward to reporting back beautiful stories of redemption amidst the hard places. And we are very excited to spend time in person with our guy, Sasha. "Thank you, Jesus." (Tears.)