Wednesday, March 3, 2010
And so it begins...
I finally got to meet the round faces and little hands and sweet hearts and bright smiles of the kids who have captivated so many of my thoughts, prayers, and longings. It was nothing like I imagined; beautifully different than anything I have ever experienced.
When I held them and laughed with them(to the point of spewing milky rice all over the table for some 3 year old participants) and soaked in the joy from their smiles, it was so undeniable that God has ordained these relationships that began long before I drove into the orphanage that day. They have occupied my heart and my conversations with Him for as long as I can remember. These are the children I have longed to love deeply, so much so that I put their wellbeing high above my own, and JOYFULLY at that(the closest thing I know to being a parent, I believe). I remember being 7 or 8, probably, and praying while riding on the highway that I might find a baby who has been abandoned and would be able to take her home. It sounds odd, but it has made more and more sense to me as He gradually (and graciously) refines me and molds my heart to be more like His. I am beginning to see that He formed my heart to love what/who He loves before I had even read Matthew 25 or James 1:27 or Isaiah 58…
The babies in (hypothetical) trash bags are plentiful here. There are around 2 million orphans in Kenya; some abandoned by choice, many by circumstance, and countless by death/illness. I get to live with and love on 27 of them beginning today. Even just typing that seems surreal… He asks us, He LETS us see Himself in their faces and be His hands that wipe the tears and love them with everything we have, while always promising to love us all more than we could ever wrap our brains around.
My heart is more broken than ever for these children now that I have touched them and seen Him in their smiling eyes. It is so hard to hear their stories and struggles and I want nothing more than to bind up their wounds and sing of the promise of restoration and healing through Him. He is sweetly reminding me that the battle is not my own… it is not their own. HE came to be all that they need and He lets me be an expression of this overflowing love. The battle (and calling it anything else is belittling it’s magnitude) is HIS… the God of Justice is fighting on behalf of these children and I am humbled to be used in whatever way He chooses. “Defending the rights of the fatherless”, as David writes in the Psalms, is where He has me right now; I am on the front line, wholeheartedly believing and trusting that He will use me to fight for these, His children, who are left to die in the hospitals because of their HIV status… I will need prayers for such an outpouring of His grace in me when I begin to interact with the medical staff because my natural inclinations are far from loving.
Tonight. Tonight I will be surrounded by 27 little ones as we read about God’s love for us all in the books that you all have generously supplied. I will be tucking them into their beds and kissing their foreheads. I will be praying for them with tears in my eyes as I verbally profess His love over them and ask for His continued grace and mercy and peace for their precious hearts. I will be waking the ones who need their antiretrovirals and rubbing their backs as they groggily swallow down the harsh medications that, though ultimately helpful, often make them feel worse than any child should ever feel. I will probably fall asleep with tears, asking God why I cannot take their pain for them. And I believe He will give me rest each night and remind me in the sweetest way that the battle is not my own and we have a Father who asks us to put our pain and heavy hearts upon Him. I believe Him to wake me with His fresh mercy and grace as I learn how to love Him better by loving these children. I believe that what seems impossible is possible when I allow myself to be bathed in the great love He has for ME and let that love and only that love pour out onto all in my path.
There is no doubt in my mind I am in the center of His will as I take this step and move into my new home this afternoon. I am thankful that He is true to His promises and lifts up those who are bowed down.