Wednesday, August 3, 2011

Is it foolishness or power?

My heart is heavy for a girl who is half a world away. This girl is not hypothetical, she has a name, and she is beautiful. For the sake of her heart, I will leave a lot or details out, but if you know us well you know who she is.

This girl is alone in a country that is not safe for girls to be alone. It is a miracle she has lasted this long, and as is the case for all orphans, it is questionable how long she can continue.  She needs a family to fight for her, she needs a family to love her, she needs a safe place to call home.

I received a call from a dear friend, whom I trust in these matters, asking me to pray about this girl. This friend pours out her heart and life for orphans, seeking to find homes for those who are alone. Her joy in what she does is evident in every conversation, and she takes it as a high calling to be able to care for orphans. My dear friend knows our hearts well enough to know what we are thinking and praying about as far as children in our family, and has been a wonderful encouragement along the way. She asked me if she could send this girl's information my way, and just asked me to pray about adoption. Somehow, even as my brain screamed "NO!" my mouth said "yes," very timidly. I was a little shocked by the words coming out of my mouth, but that's not a new experience for me!

By absolute providence, I walked outside and there was J, home from work on his lunch break. I told him about my conversation, and we both sat stunned, staring at each other, shaking our heads.  "We're not ready yet" is what both of us were thinking.

We have talked extensively about adoption over the last year. We initially looked into a certain area of the world, and felt like we were supposed to wait. Not that we were wrong, just that our timing, and our understanding of the situation was off. So then we started looking into foster care locally. We submitted our application and started the background check. A week later we get this phone call. This is not what we were expecting, but it is also exactly what our hearts were headed towards.

J went back to work, and when he got home that night we talked again, both with several hours of prayer under our belts. As we talked we came to one conclusion. This is where the rubber meets the road in our faith. This feels very much like a "Do you love me?" moment (John 21.)

We say that we want to care for the orphans, especially the older ones whom few are willing to care for. We say that we want to be a safe harbor for girls who would otherwise be destroyed by the broken world around them. We say that we know that God has a plan for our lives that involves loving those who are hard to love. We say that we are Christians.

What is comes down to is do we trust God?

Do we trust that his plans for us are good, and that those plans are for the expressed purpose of conforming us into the image of Christ, who for the joy set before him endured the cross? Do we trust God that he is good? Do we trust that the safety of a girl we don't know might be more important to the kingdom of heaven than the safety of our family? Do we trust that God knows every aspect of this girl's life, even though we may never know all of it? Do we trust that, by God's grace, we can love her even if she never loves us? Do we trust that the message of redemption is more important than our lives? Do we trust that God is who he says he is, and that we are who he says we are?

Do we trust God?

And furthermore, are we willing to put our hearts, lives, money, reputations, and safety where our mouths are?

We are standing at a line that once crossed cannot be be uncrossed, and we are asking each other over and over, "how can we NOT?" Admittedly, I feel a little like Indiana Jones stepping out into the abyss only to find that there is a straight and narrow path there. There are a million reasons to say that this is not the path for us. There are a million excuses for why we should just walk away and let someone else worry about this girl. And anyone in our lives, if we explained our reasons logically or spiritually enough, would understand. Some might even give us a little pat on the back, as if we had narrowly escaped a close call and were to be thought of as lucky.

But God has one reason for us to step over the line, love. Love that has been richly lavished upon us, even while we were afar off, enemies and traitors with hatred in our hearts. God knows our many excuses, and yet still compels our hearts to love.

Today, I have found myself sobbing at the thought of a girl I know so little about. Scrolling through Facebook, sitting in the waiting room at the doctor's office, driving down the road, folding laundry, every day life has become unsafe for my heart. And so I pray for her, and I think on 1 Corinthians 1:18 - For the word of the cross is foolishness to those who are perishing, but to us who are being saved it is the power of God.


  1. I LOVE how God is working out his amazing plan in your lives, friend. I've been praying for this precious girl!!

  2. I found your blog through Marla's, and it's really a blessing to hear your heart spilled out on these posts. I'm praying for your family and your girl far away. My own family has a "heart son" who is in Eastern Europe, who's aged out of adoption eligibilty, but who I've cried over more than any of my other 3 kids. We were blessed beyond description to spend time with him this summer. Oh my word, I cannot describe. It was beautiful and painful in ways I can't really say (so I haven't even sat down at my own blog for weeks, because I only cry! But your blog and those of others have blessed me so much). So I understand how God gives you a heart for the older child and for a girl you still wait to welcome and how hard it is to be willing and to still be waiting. Praying for you!

  3. Oh Shannon! Isn't "age-out" the ugliest phrase, as if kids don't need a family once they reach a certain age? Thank you for sharing, i will be praying for your heart, for your son, and for your family.