There are times in our lives where our world view and heart’s desires are so completely changed that we know that change can only come from God.
It all started two weeks ago when we talked about Katie Davis’ amazing story in our Adult Bible Fellowship group on Sunday morning. On the way home, Steve asked what I was going to write this week’s newspaper column about. I responded that I had not a clue. He suggested that I write about Katie.
I spent Tuesday morning and afternoon researching her ministry and the orphan crisis in Uganda. My heart broke for the children who were growing up without a mother and father’s love. I was inspired by Katie and her complete commitment to serving “the least of these” in the name of Jesus Christ. I began to examine my life to see if I had the same heart for the “widow and orphan” that God speaks of throughout the Bible and found myself woefully lacking.
That evening, as Steve and I were channel surfing after we put the girls to bed, we stumbled upon a documentary about widows and orphans in Kenya. The faces on the screen and the stories were exactly the same as what I had read about earlier that same day.
Thursday morning we had the pleasure of hearing from a guest speaker, Kheri, at our homeschool co-op, an amazing young man who directs the Royal Kids School in – you guessed it – Kenya. Again, the stories he shared about the children this school serves were the same familiar stories that bombarded me earlier in the week.
When I came home, an email from my editor was waiting in my inbox. She said that my column reminded her of a piece that a friend had written a few weeks back and included a link to it. Imagine my surprise when I clicked over to find that it was written by a man working for Food for the Hungry in Uganda! Tears filled my eyes as I read the same heart-breaking stories all over again.
But stories of orphaned children and families being destroyed because of poverty and HIV were not the only message I had heard all week. Even louder was the message that “religion that God our Father accepts as pure and faultless is this: to look after orphans and widows in their distress.” (James 1:27)
When I scanned my house, the possessions that fill every cabinet and closet, nook and cranny overwhelmed me. Why do I have so much and others have so little? Is this really the life that Jesus died on the cross for me to have? A comfortable, safe life with lots of things when others are not sure where there next meal is coming from? How can I have everything I need and more and still not be satisfied?
Katie and Kheri’s face haunted me. Katie gave up all the comforts that this country provided her to live in what we would consider horrendous conditions (seriously, she had bats in her shower and lizards in her bed!). Kheri struggles to make sure the school has the money they need to pay their teachers. He witnesses the heart-break that these children face on daily basis.
But it was not their sad, sour countenance that passed through my dreams at night. It was the complete and absolute joy that I saw in their faces that I just could not forget. Have I ever really experienced that kind of peace and joy?
I began to pray about what changes God was clearly asking me to make in my life. I made a mental list of all the things that I could sell with the intention of sending that money to Katie’s Amazima Ministry in Uganda and the Royal Kids School in Kenya. While that seemed like a start, it just didn’t seem to be the answer. I felt like God was asking for more.
As I was standing in the kitchen, my three girls came running in to give me a hug out of the blue and thank me for being a great mom. And that is when it hit me. Adoption. God was asking me to give more than money to the African orphan crisis. He was asking me to give myself, my life, my family, my love to a child in need.
When I approached my husband, he surprised me with his quick acceptance of my idea. I should not have been surprised. He was the one who had already requested adoption information from two different agencies a year ago. It has always been his heart to adopt, it just took me a bit longer to come around.
We will be sending in our application later this week to adopt a little girl from Ethiopia. We are so excited to begin this amazing journey that God has placed before us. We know that we are going to have to depend on Him completely to make this happen. I no longer desire to live a comfortable life. In fact, I have never been able to reconcile Jesus’ statement that “we are to pick up our cross daily” with the life that I live. When faced with the enormity of what happened at the cross, I see nothing like it in my life. That is no longer acceptable.
We are also depending on Him to provide financially (adoption is expensive!) and we will still be selling lots of stuff in order to bring home our little girl (pageant friends: check back here for my big “cleaning out my pageant closet” sale!).
I am sharing all of this for two reasons. One: would you please pray for us as we move into this new season of life? Two: It is my hope that our journey will inspire others to take seriously God’s call to care for widows and orphans by asking Him what role He would have them play in bringing hope to the millions of orphaned children around the world.
The day after we made the decision to definitely move forward with our adoption, I heard this song on the radio. It describes exactly how I feel right now and has become my anthem for this phase of my life.