The Adventure Begins

It’s been too long since I’ve written, and the words feel jammed inside somewhere. As if I need to get a few cleared out, and thoughts might flow a little better.

Changes. Changes full of beauty and a deeper love than I could imagine.  Terrifying changes. Changes that drive me to Jesus in utter dependency and a fresh realization that there is nowhere safer to be than in Him.

Since my last post here, a lot has happened.

The Adventure Begins

A few weeks ago, I woke up in the morning and headed into what seemed would be a normal day. A bit later, I got a terse text that said “Come to the chapel right now.” I’m sure tires were screeching as I careened through the neighborhood. An hour later I was purchasing airplane tickets for my Dad and two other men to go international on a mission to protect the innocent. 7 hours later they were headed to the airport and embarking on a journey which no one really knew what it might involve. I prayed I would see my Dad alive again.

During the week he was gone, we prayed, we stood strong, we excitedly waited for any and every little update we could find.

And, unrelated to anything else going on, we received an email from someone about a little girl here in the States who needed someone to care for her.

A week after he left, I hugged Dad tightly in our living room, so thankful for the Lord’s protection.

The next day, I got another brief text: “It looks like she’s going to be ours.” So fast. What was happening? I wasn’t sure, but I already loved this little girl whose name I still didn’t know, and I was ready to do whatever God asked.

Two and a half days later, I looked for the first time at the beautiful girl who was to be my little sister.

As I looked in her eyes, tears filled mine and I had to turn away before they spilled over. Desperation. Hope. Terror. Emptiness. Trauma. Excitement. Desperate hope. I saw her story written on her face as she turned away from all she had ever known and got into our car. She pressed her face against the window and waved one last time as we drove away before turning forward and allowing a deep sob to escape her chest. There was no stopping the tears in each of our eyes and hearts.

So young, so vulnerable. And ours.

I helped her make cookies this morning. I posed for her as she drew a picture of me. I watched the Sound of Music with her. I sat with my arms around her, her sweet head in my lap. I went shopping with her. I laid on my bed and ate pretzels with her. I whispered “I love you” over and over. I hugged her goodnight. I promised to be right there with her first thing in the morning. I watched my parents fall in love with their new daughter. Tears spilled over again as she excitedly yelled “Daddy!” as soon as he walked back in the front door from the gym.

For nearly 25 years I have been the youngest child, and paradigms are shifting in our family.

This little one looks up to me like no one ever has before in my life. We love each other deeply, and every time she snuggles up to me and wraps her arms around my waist and doesn’t let go, my heart aches a little more. Ever since this little girl stepped into our lives just a short while ago, tears have either been running down my cheeks constantly or hiding just around the corner ready to show up without warning.  How can I already love her this much? How can I be a big sister to one so desperate for love and a rebuilding of trust? What do I do when I see the hurt well up and she closes down and acts in the only way she knows how based on the things she has experienced in her young little life–experiences I can’t even imagine. How can I show her the love of her Heavenly Father?

Jesus. HE is how. Jesus is Who I must turn to. His heart is the only one that can handle such love and such sorrow.

This past several weeks has been life-altering in ways I could never have fathomed when I got up that Friday morning. It has been difficult. It has been heart-breaking. It has been exhausting…

…and it has been filled with JOY. It has been filled with JESUS. I can’t deny the beauty in seeing my own weakness and His utter strength. I’m enraptured.

Seeing the heart of God in my parents through these past few weeks has touched something in me that hasn’t ever really been touched on before. I can’t express how honored and humbled I am to be part of their lives and learning from them the way I have for my whole life–but especially the past few weeks. Their given-ness; their endless love; their pre-decided “YES!” to anything the Lord may ask of them; allowing the door of their life–physically and emotionally–to be flung open to the most vulnerable. Thank You, Jesus. You had a beautiful plan when you scripted the lives of my parents.

And the proof that You know what You’re doing? It’s inescapable. I see it so clearly in the way this little sister of mine came into our family.

It is with great joy and expectancy that I can say my life has changed and it will never be the same. Oh! the adventures the Lord takes us on!

Dear Little Girl

Dear Little Girl In The House Up The Street,

I love you. I don’t know your name or how old you are . . . I don’t know your favorite color . . . I don’t know what your favorite kind of candy is, or what your least favorite vegetable is . . . I don’t know whether you’re a tomboy, or would rather play princesses . . . but I love you.

I actually know nothing about you except the fact that you’re beautiful and completely too young to be going through what you’re going through. Any age is the wrong age to be mistreated and unloved–but to see it happening to a young child right in my neighborhood . . . it keeps me awake at night.

I wish I knew what I could do for you, but having searched every corner of my brain for something to do, I’ve come up with nothing except love you from afar and pray for you. So here I am loving you and praying for you. I hope to be able to hug you someday, feed you good food, and play dollies with you.

But, until that day comes–if it ever does, know that there is a girl named Grace down the street from you who is loving you from afar. And that if she ever gets a chance to help you out of that horrible situation, she would risk life and limb to save you from what you’re going through.

I love you, dear little girl. So much.

With arms aching to hold you,

Fire

I literally want to tell everyone I meet about my Jesus. There is a bubbling-over adoration for my King that is getting in the way of “normal, every day life”….and I’m thrilled to pieces about this.

I want that getting in the way of my life–because life in Christ is my life. Something is wrong when your life feels the same as it did before. There is a difference between life in Christ and life outside of Christ, the stark contrast of light and dark, cold and heat. If I am in Christ, dead to self, and burning with a passion for my Jesus…shouldn’t that feel different than when I was living in sin, and running a steady course toward eternal death? Shouldn’t there be a fire inside of me that wasn’t there before?

And, doesn’t the fact that something is on fire completely change the dynamics of everything around it? It should. Something is burning.

This is why I so love the reality that my life* is being interrupted by a deep and not-to-be quenched love for God. My life is not my own (resounding theme in my existence right now)…my life is hid in Christ. It is His life . . . and His life has every right to interrupt my own. My life is of no importance, because my life is not my own. My life is changing because of God in me. And, again, I am thrilled to pieces about this!

*For clarity’s sake: when I talk about my life being interrupted by God, it’s in the “a man plans his ways, but the Lord directs his steps” sort of way.

“There burns a fire with sacred heat
White hot with holy flame
And all who dare pass through its blaze
Will not emerge the same
Some as bronze, and some as silver
Some as gold, then with great skill
All are hammered by their sufferings
On the anvil of His will

Chorus:
The Refiner’s fire
Has now become my souls desire
Purged and cleansed and purified
That the Lord be glorified
He is consuming my soul
Refining me, making me whole
No matter what I may lose
I choose the Refiner’s fire

I’m learning now to trust His touch
To crave the fire’s embrace
For though my past with sin was etched
His mercies did erase
Each time His purging cleanses deeper
I’m not sure that I’ll survive
Yet the strength in growing weaker
Keeps my hungry soul alive”