Wednesday, December 5, 2012

shared suffering...

I was touched by a quote today, and I just had to blog about it. The professional singer, Aaron Ivey, said it in a sermon:

The call of orphan care is not a call to simply "save the orphan". The call of orphan care is to share in the suffering of the orphan. It's to intentionally position yourself, your family, your community, to suffer alongside the orphan. To say, 'Your suffering, is now my suffering. Your story, is now my story. I willingly position myself to suffer alongside you.'

(the whole sermon is worth listening to if you have time)

But I have been sitting here thinking about our "suffering" because of the fact that we can't be with our boys right now. They are a thousand miles away, and although I feel them right in my heart, I can't feel their little hands holding mine. I hear their little laughs ringing through my memories (and on our videos of them) but they don't hear my voices saying "Momma Loves You". It is all because of sin. That makes adoption hard. Some people ahead of us have done horrible things and it has forced more "hoops" to jump through to protect the kids. We have gladly done all that was asked of us, knowing its just what is required. And really, the joy they bring outweighs the pain it causes!

And this is just the beginning. Because they are so small, they will have less "baggage" than some kids who have been in more difficult situations. They will not remember when they were abandoned, but I don't ever want them to worry that it might happen again. I want them to know that we will ALWAYS love them and we were called to stay with them in a forever family. Their suffering... being alone and confused.... is our suffering. Waiting to be united. They may not realize there is anything going on! They know us, but not in the way that we know them. We care for them deeply and LONG to be with them, and they are happy to simply eat, sleep, and play. We know that ahead is lots of fun and the blessings of family and all that entails, but they don't have any idea what that will look like. It's the same with the love that God has for us. His love for us is SO fierce and yet gentle. It stands through the worst storm, and reaches out to undeserving sinners like us. We can't imagine this kind of love... even though He tries to show us, we often don't listen and like a proud child, assume we can figure this life thing out on our own. We don't care for Him like he cares for us... But he chose to suffer not only with us, but FOR us. Our story is forever HIS story.

We will have things come up as the boys grow... they will know from the beginning how much God loves them and that we were blessed that he chose to give them to us... but there will be days that the differences in our skin color or heritage confuse them and they will wonder why did their birth mom not "want" them. This will be part of Ryan and my story. We will tell them HOW MUCH GOD LOVES THEM... and that they were birthed by a woman who loved them enough to have them, and then to leave them in a place where they would be found by someone who could care for them... and God wanted them to become Rainbolts! He wanted to put some lonely boys in a family (Ps 68:6) and to fill our home with children (Ps 113:9). Our story is not written by me... It is written by the author of history and creator of the greatest love story every told, and I can't wait to see what the next chapter holds. I am forever grateful that our story includes a cross, an empty tomb, a loving family who told me about HIM, friends who keep me going when I am ready to quit, cross-cultural daily life and all that comes with living in India, a husband who keeps life full of laughter, and two precious Ethiopians who have stolen my heart and made me a momma. What a joy to serve a God who can write THIS kind of story!

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