And he gave us an opportunity to trust in a God who asks more of us than we have resources to give... A God who wants the "yes" from us and will supply all we need to give in response.
For two years I've wrestled with the Lord about my desire to have control over how things go in my life. I have asked God to take me out of my comfort zone, and still I've clung to the familiar and the comfortable. I've asked God for a heart for the orphan, and He's given this to me, and I didn't really know when I asked for it, how much this type of heart can hurt. Or how much this heart is transformed by a love that is focused outward. And upward.
For two years, I've known Sasha in letters and photos and through stories told by the adults who care for him at Sunshine Center, people who now I call sisters in Christ and dear friends.
Last year, many dear friends across the country loved on the Sunshine kids with gifts and letters at Christmas. Some of these friends have been broken in their hearts for the child they chose and have kept on giving.
I don't think Sasha knows that he is really who God used to begin such a sweet pouring out of grace.
The Lord used our friends again last summer to provide all that we needed to fund a trip to Sunshine, and our sweet friends sent us with suitcases filled with gifts for the kids and all the staff who work so hard and so faithfully, so often unnoticed by eyes other than the Lord's.
Selden played a version of soccer-basketball with Sasha and Zamir one afternoon. We visited a Ilja in the hospital. Oksana and Olia and Misha swung me so high on a bench swing that I was shrieking, and we were laughing, and Misha was making silly noises like our Eli does.
And so often we would see our own children in these kids.
I washed dishes with Aleksandra, and I made hamburger patties with Olia and Oksana and some other girls. Kanishko helped Selden roast marshmallows for s'mores. Manoz never stopped smiling, not even once. Katia came quietly to me before we left and gave me a small bear. Valik, in his camo pajamas, ran into the room we sat in with Ilia, having tea and talking about how she felt about moving to the States, and he hugged me over and over. Then he gave me a little stuffed monkey.
How can kids we travelled acoss continents to serve be the ones giving so freely?
How is it that I am receiving so much more than I feel I am giving?
Or is that just the way it is, when we give in Jesus' name, that it is really we ourselves who continue to be filled to overflowing, so that the giving is not an emptying at all?
When we receive from a God of limitless resources, why do I continue to be surprised by the capacity He has to do still more?
It is the time of year again when I am putting together the Facebook group "Sunshine Christmas 2011" for the gift giving project, and this year there are significantly more children who are listed. Please pray with me that each child will be chosen by someone and will be blessed, even as I know each of those generous hearts who give will be blessed even more.
If you would like to be part of what God is doing to remind kids who have had very difficult circumstances to face so far in their lives that they are remembered, that they are loved, that they have been chosen to receive something special, that they are prayed for... please come on over and join us.
Please share this project with your friends as well. I would like to personally invite you to be part of loving the orphan, part of doing one small thing for one great cause: that Jesus Christ would be glorified!
(And please pray for our family at this time as well. We are updating our adoption home study, for what is now a third time. I'm not sure at all what the Lord has planned, but when He shows us His will, we will be ready.)