Tuesday, May 10, 2016

An Inconvenient Kind of Love...

Timothy Keller once said, "All life-changing love is inconvenient."

At the time, I didn't comprehend the depth of that statement.  Not until God uprooted my life and transplanted me here in Uganda.  Now when I read that quote, I realize that I couldn't agree more!  Loving people with a Christ-like love is tough; and it's messy, and painful, and scary, and...*sigh*...

I read a blog recently that detailed some of the heartaches associated with loving someone well. More specifically, the writer talked about foster care and how it sucked (Sorry, missionaries aren't supposed to use that word, are we?!) to bring a child into your Home only to have them torn from your Heart a few months later because the biological mother suddenly decided she wanted to be a mom. She referenced some of her personal experiences and confessed some of her not-so-friendly opinions towards the biological parents and her belief that she could do a better job of raising this innocent child if given the chance.  But then she shared what God had been teaching her over the years throughout her fostering experience:
1.  Children, whether biological or not, are not ours; they belong to God.
2.  Returning a child to their home may be a loss to us, but it is not a loss to God.  He remains sovereign regardless of the circumstances.
3.  Despite the child's location, God is big enough and He can care for that child with or without us.

As I continued to read the article, the truths in each line clenched my heart. No, I am not a foster mother nor was I ever raised by the foster care system. But this woman's words resonated with me.
I knew this woman...
I was this woman...
The ministry where I serve is a host to many painful stories.  Children are carrying years of pain, neglect, and rejection.  Just yesterday, I stood quietly and watched 'my' kids as they sat in class and prepared for their midterm exams.  Some of their stories stirred in my mind:  A young boy, about eight years old, infected with HIV and suffering from inadequate nutrition at home. A sweet adolescent girl, unwelcome in her family's home, struggling for a place to call 'home.'  A young girl, about 10 years old, unaware of what real love is, seeking acceptance from whomever will show her the slightest bit of attention.  A teenage boy, abandoned by his mother and rejected by his father, desiring that someone--anyone--show him the path to real life.  A shy girl suffering from experiences of inappropriate touch, afraid to let anyone close to her.
I look at these precious babies and naturally think, "Of course they would be better off with me."  "I can be a better mother and role model for them."  "I can do a better job of meeting their physical and emotional needs."  "I can do a better job of loving them!!"
Then, somewhere in the midst of my internal temper tantrum, God gently said to me, "Perhaps so, but don't forget about me.  I am all they need.  I am their Father and you can trust me with their hearts.  Trust me to love and care for them when you and the world come up short.  I promise you, I have good plans for each of them."
It was exactly what I needed to hear in that moment.  A soft reminder that no matter how much I love these kids, there will always be Someone who loves them a million times more.

Even so, it isn't easy.  God has called me to love these children as my own and to show them a love that they have never known before.  I have no doubt that once they experience His unconditional love, their lives will inevitably be changed for eternity! :) I am doing my best to be obedient to that call, but there is still this fleshy, human part of me that wants to shout, "God! This isn't fair!"
It's not that I don't want to love these kids, loving them is the easy part. Nearly everything about them is lovable.  The hard part is the emotional toll it takes on my own heart.  Acquiring just a glimpse of the injustice that these kids are forced to face each and every day. Witnessing the effects that this broken and busted world has had on these young lives.  Seeing the tears in my children's eyes.
Every ounce of me wants to be the superhero mom that rescues them from their hurt and pain; to jump in and wipe away all of their tears.  I want to hold them close and reassure them that everything will me okay.

But I can't.

Admitting that is like thrusting a dagger through my heart.  It is a battle that I face every day.  An emotional tug-of-war.  On one side, my head is telling me to just trust God (and that seems like the right thing to do...), but I can't ignore my flesh on the other side screaming, "Do something!!!"  My emotions are constantly being violently jerked in different directions.

Fortunately, God has given me this scripture to cling to:
"And we know that God causes everything to work together for the good of those who love God and are called according to his purpose for them."  Romans 8:28

God has not called me to save these children--that is His job.  They belong to Him anyway.  Truly, He can use me as a vessel to share His love for them, but even in my absence, His love will prevail.  And even in the pain, He remains to be God.

So, I am learning to trust Him on another level these days,  And I am thankful that He is being patient with me because as Mr. Keller said, Love IS inconvenient.  But while it may be inconvenient for me, it is no excuse to jump ship and give up.  I must continue the race that God has put before me. Loving my babies through their pain is hard.  Seeing their tears is agonizing. Knowing their stories is heartbreaking...and I am sure that if it breaks my heart, it is breaking God's heart all the more.  Thankfully, His promises are stronger than the pains of this world and His love has already overcome!

Thursday, March 17, 2016

A Taxi Ride with Purpose...

My heart did a little happy dance last week on the way home from Bible Study.  I, with five of my kiddos, was crammed into an overloaded taxi.  (And by ‘overloaded’ I mean a 14-passenger van stuffed with 20 people, a toddler, two babies, and six chickens.)  Once we had boarded, my youthful little ones wasted no time with their typical, playful banter—joking, teasing and laughing with each other.  Immediately, I saw heads turning.  There were glances…and then double-takes from the other passengers as they observed this peculiar hand-gesturing communication that was happening. 
(Side note: It is a common misconception that Deaf people and their conversations are quiet.  Though sign language in and of itself is an unspoken language, it is still very animated and expressive.  Hence, sign language is not as silent as one might imagine.  Additionally, people who are profoundly deaf are often unaware of the sounds around them as well as the sounds they are making during a conversation.  To a person unfamiliar with deafness, these noises may sound strange and sometimes alarming.)
Needless to say, my kids were having a blast and as a result, they were making a little bit of noise...okay, maybe more than a little…
After all of the glances and stares, the comments soon began to follow; they hailed from all sides of the taxi.  And I’ll admit, most of what the other passengers were saying, I either didn’t hear clearly or I just didn’t understand.  (I am doing my best to learn Luganda, but I am far from fluent.  And my own hearing loss is an additional barrier sometimes.)

Still, I was able to clearly see that people were fascinated and quite intrigued by my kids and their unique language.  The curious onlookers were very quick to admit to each other that they had no idea what was being said (signed) and that they wished they knew.  (Welcome to MY world, folks.  And welcome to the world of my Deaf children.)

But remember when I said that my heart was doing a happy dance?...

Here’s why:  There was a woman sitting in the back of the taxi with us, smack dab in the middle of our (somewhat noisy) chatter.  She had been looking this way and that for several minutes, perplexed by the little hands that moved busily around her.  I watched as she paused for a moment, then a humble smile came to her face as she boldly announced to the other passengers, “These kids may be deaf, but you see, they sure are happy!”

And there it was—God’s light shining ever so brightly in that dimly-lit taxi.

Here in Uganda, and in communities around the world, people see a deaf child and automatically discount their value and potential.  It is often believed that because a child is unable to hear, they are also unable to read, write, learn, work, etc.   But Friday night was different.    
In the back of that crowded taxi, I trust that God spoke to hearts and affirmed in them what I have known in my own heart for a while:  We are all created for a purpose.  He knows each of us better than we know ourselves.  Scripture says that, “Before I formed you in your mother’s womb, I knew you.  Before you were born, I set you apart...” Jeremiah 1:5.  We are His workmanship, created to do good things (Eph 2:10) and a child’s deafness cannot stop Him from being glorified.  Our God is much bigger than that.  In fact, only He has the ability to turn their pain into praises and their rejection into rejoicing.  And for sure, He and the angels rejoice each time He is able to shine His light through those precious vessels. 

I realize that most people don’t want to admit that God intentionally made a child deaf…(I find it more common that people want to ‘pray away’ their deafness.) But could it be that my children’s deafness is just part of His elaborate plan? An opportunity for Him to receive praise and glory in unsuspecting places?  Is it possible that my children can be other examples of ‘nobodies’ that God has carefully chosen to follow Him and be a reflection of Himself.  We see numerous other examples of such transformations throughout scripture: Moses, Job, Joseph, Esther… People who came from nowhere, without a resume, and without the necessary skills.  But despite that, God uses each of them in profoundly powerful ways. Perhaps my babies are among them?

I believe that thousands of years ago, God saw all of us in that taxi and knew that a group of [cute] Deaf children would be the perfect way to show His love and mercy. Nothing about that taxi ride was an accident—not even my children’s deafness.  Everything was orchestrated by God, for God.

And the part about this story that I think I love most…my kids didn’t even realize the looks, the stares, the comments…they were too busy being full of joy to even recognize what had happened that night.  I truly believe that God has filled their hearts with an undeniable joy which has primed them and prepared them to be used by Him no matter what the circumstance.
Leading praise and worship at Bible study:

I am always amazed at how much I learn from my kiddos.  Friday night was no exception. 

Which leads me to this question: Are we finding joy and contentment in the circumstances of our lives?  Or are our impure hearts getting in the way of what God wants to do through us? 

Tuesday, January 12, 2016

Follow Jesus?...What Does That Even Mean?!...

I had another Luganda lesson this morning.  As I was walking to class, I could feel a little hesitation in my step, but that feeling quickly faded, which opened doors to a pretty productive day…

After class, I took a little jog across the street—haha, who am I kidding?…
I didn’t jog; I walked. . .  
Nonetheless, I headed to a little cafĂ© to meet a friend from church.   Not long into our conversation, my friend boldly admitted that this whole ‘Jesus thing” is just too tough to grasp.  

“Of course I go to church every Sunday, but I can’t wait until it is over…”  
I quietly watched as she recalled moments that were particularly confusing to her and I couldn’t help but feel immense empathy for her. 

Why?  Because just a few years ago, I was her!  Trapped in that very same situation—I had ‘accepted Jesus’ and was surrounded by fellow believers…but I felt more lost and alone than I ever had before!  I would see people raising their hands at church, shouting and praising Jesus.  During conversations, they would rattle on about how ‘God has changed my life’, and ‘My joy is in Christ’, and ‘I live for Jesus.’  Their words did not resonate with me at all…I just didn’t get it. They had surely gotten something that I was still missing. 
I was angry.  And jealous.  And confused.  If Jesus really is the same ‘yesterday, today, and forever,’  then why were they suddenly overflowing with happiness and confidence…yet I didn’t feel a thing?

Across the table, my friend continued to explain, “I’ve tried reading the Bible, but those stories don’t make sense to me.  I need help to understand what all of those words mean.”

I nodded in agreement.  As a new and young believer, I too didn’t understand the hidden meaning rooted in the scriptures. 

“And when I ask questions, nobody wants to sit down and explain things to me.  So, I have just accepted that the ‘following Jesus’ thing may not be for me.  Other people can do it, but for me, I don’t know what it means.”

And there it was again, that little nudge from God reassuring me that I am exactly where I am supposed to be.  Just as He had done a few years back, His gentleness was speaking to my heart.  It was as if I could hear Him say, “But she is made in My image! My love for her is unending and I won’t give up on her.  It is time to fight for her heart.

God hasn’t called me here because of my intellect or my insight or anything else for that matter.  And that’s okay because this isn’t about me anyway.  This is all about God and His incredible love for His children.  More and more I am coming to realize that I am not qualified to be here.  I don’t have what it takes to do this work…except, I do.  I have Jesus and that is all it takes to win over hearts.
My friend—along with countless other Deaf kids throughout Uganda—are desiring to find their true identity.  They long to feel loved and to feel whole.  They may not know it yet, but they need Jesus.  They just don’t know how to find Him.
(Insert: God's awesome plan...with me in the middle of it all!...)

It is quite daunting to think about this road God has laid before me, but then I remember His promise to always go before me.   Without fail, He leaves me humbled, excited, and extremely thankful that He has afforded me such an opportunity to walk alongside these precious young people as they begin to discover the power of Christ. 

(P.S.  Please pray with me: I am praying that my life will be a constant light and a tangible expression of His love for them and that I remain in a steadfast surrender as He uses me to offer salvation to His beloved Deaf children.)

Saturday, January 9, 2016

A Flashback...

20th of November, 2015

So, I have been a little silent recently when it comes to my media accounts.  It has been nearly two months since my last blog post and I haven’t posted many updates on facebook either.  Nevertheless, the work here still continues.  And I apologize for slacking a bit on updating you, as my ministry partners and prayer team, but in the words of my childhood friend, “If you can’t say something nice then don’t say nothin’ at all.”  My friend, Thumper, was right. And I hate to admit it, but it has been a tough season these past couple of months. And on more than one occasion, the words running through my head (and my heart) are surely not what God wants me posting across your computer screens.
There have been several days when I have wanted to post something…anything!!, just to vent some of this overflow of emotions welling up inside of me.  Some days I would just get so frustrated. Then I would realize my frustration and become all the more frustrated about allowing myself to become frustrated in the first place. 
Still, I did not want anything leaving my lips—or my fingertips—that was not from God. So, I have been sitting quiet for a little while.  Years ago such ‘punishment’ would have been right close to torture for me.  Back then, I always had an opinion about everything and I was always willing to share it.  Fortunately, Jesus has been helping me to build a filter and I have calmed down since those days…but even these past few weeks have been challenging for me.  Luckily, I have resisted the temptation to fall back into my old ways and I have remained silent.
And I am glad that I have done just that because when I stopped talking, God started talking. 
Well, it is probably more accurate to say that He was there talking to me all along; I was just too busy fumbling with my own words (and opinions, and thoughts, and ideas, and plans) that I couldn’t hear His.
But in the quiet of the day…(which doesn’t happen too often..) I have been hearing this scripture scroll through my mind:

"Look how far you have fallen from your first love!
Turn back to me again and work as you did at first."
Rev. 2:5

I don’t know what is going to happen in the next days, weeks, or month to come, but I have a feeling that God is at work.  In just a few days I will be returning to the US to celebrate the holiday season with family and friends.  Often, missionaries refer to this time as ‘vacation.’  While I will be on vacation from my daily routine…I get the sense that it is going to be anything but a vacation for my spiritual journey. 

And that is perfectly okay with me. 

Thursday, October 8, 2015

Finding The Strength...

I have to be honest—When my alarm went off at 5:00am Friday morning, my first thought was, “Lord, I am gonna need you to get me through the day.”  It had already been a long week.  I was exhausted and I barely had the energy or willpower to roll out of bed.  I had no idea how I was going to last for another 16 hours.  But I knew that lying there any longer wouldn’t help either, so I talked myself out of bed. 
No surprise, I didn’t have the energy to good breakfast either.  And quarrelling with the little charcoal stove was not on my to-do list for the day.  I slathered a piece of dry bread with some pb & j and walked my three miles to school.
On Fridays, I am responsible for teaching the student chapel before lunch. Then, at the end of the school day I take a handful of my kiddos to Deaf church for Bible study.  As I pondered the day ahead, I realized that it was 7:12am and already I was looking for a pace to sit…how on earth was I going to make it?
Apparently, I had forgotten that my strength is not dependent on the quality of sleep I got (or didn’t get) the night before.  My strength is in Him—and unlike me, He does not grow weary.  Little did I know, He was about to give me a little lesson on that verse…
After finishing the science lesson with my 4th graders, I began preparing for the chapel service.  For most of the morning I had been dreading it, but at some point, late in the morning, I began feeling a sense of excitement.  A subtle assurance that it was going to be okay.
Turns out, it was not okay—it was fabulous!
The memory verse of the week had been Ephesians 6:11 and I began teaching the students about the importance of wearing the armor of God.  I had prepared a couple of demonstrations and was very happy to see how attentive my young students were.  As always, I concluded the lesson and asked if there were any questions.  Initially, my babies sat silent. No one ever wants to be the first to raise their hand.  But scripture says that where 2 or more are gathered, God is in their midst.  And I know for sure that He was there in that classroom.

Soon, hands began to rise and questions started floating my way…and before long I had questions and comments coming from all corners of the room:
“The helmet protects our head…what about our eyes?”
“Why does the Bible tell us to wear armor? I thought God doesn’t like fighting…”
“Is Moses in heaven?”

I could see that God was really speaking to their hearts and I smiled as I gazed around the room.  Nearly every student had ‘concentration’ stamped across their foreheads. Gears were turning and the questions continued:
“If Satan asks for forgiveness, will God let him into heaven?”
“How many times will God forgive me when I sin?”
“Is it okay for Christians to eat pork?”
“What is the book of life?”
“God made the world…but who made God?”
For nearly two hours we sat in that classroom and discussed and pondered the Word of God.  I am confident that in a perfect world, we could have continued our conversation until the sun went down.  But, unfortunately, this place isn’t perfect; time is limited…and my kids had to eat lunch.  Nonetheless, I promised them that we could resume the conversation later.
As I prepared for bed later that night, my heart was overwhelmed with joy and gratitude for God.  My mind was wandering in a dozen different directions, replaying the events of the day and thanking God for the work He is doing deep within each of my babies.
Then it suddenly dawned on me—it was almost midnight and I was wide awake!  Nearly 17 hours before, my body could barely muster enough energy to keep me standing upright.  And there I was, lying in bed, bouncing with energy!
“…but those who hope in the Lord will renew their strength. They will soar on wings like eagles; they will run and not grow weary, they will walk and not be faint.”  Isaiah 40:31
I had read that verse so many times before.  I had heard it quoted and I had even done so myself…but on Friday night that verse finally became real to me.
This life in Uganda is not easy—nearly every day I find myself standing at the foot of a mountain and God is asking me to climb.  I look around, see only my utter weakness and physical fatigue and I quickly become busy looking for alternative routes and shortcuts.  For years I had read and believed the scriptures that said my strength is in Him…and it wasn’t until Friday that I truly understood what God had been saying to me.  He really IS my strength—literally, figuratively, spiritually.  He hasn’t called me to this place so that I can do this and that…He has called me here so that HE can do it.

What a peaceful realization. 

Thursday, October 1, 2015

Dancing In The Rain...

Praise Jesus!  It is raining here in Kampala today!
I have come to realize that it is easy to take the ‘little’ things in life for granted.  Especially in the US, we don’t think twice about our water supply.  When we are thirsty, we twist the handle at the kitchen sink and pow! We have water!  When it is time to shower, we again have an endless supply of clean water with a quick turn of the faucet.  The same is true for washing dishes, doing laundry, cooking, washing our hands before dinner, and a host of other things.
Unfortunately, here in Uganda, it isn’t always that simple.  Today, for example, our rainwater basin was empty.  That meant no water for drinking.  No water for bathing. No water for cooking, cleaning, washing, or anything else.  Luckily, there is a public well--about a mile from school—and our kids were sent with their little yellow buckets to fill them with water and carry them back to school.  That way, we could have water to cook lunch.
Jerrycans that were recently filled with the well water.

Sound inconvenient?
It is.
But as with most trials we face in life, there is a silver lining.  The beauty in this challenge?  These kids and the humble residents of Uganda have a perspective that is (sadly) foreign to so many Americans these days.  These young people know exactly where their water comes from.  They don’t take this gift for granted.  Instead, they genuinely understand that everything comes from God.  Here in Uganda, even something as ‘simple’ as rain results in prayers of praise and thanksgiving.  And that is exactly what happened today.  Our lunch-time prayers were filled with requests for rain.  Our students approached His throne with confidence and requested that He provide us with rain…and before we could finish eating our lunches, rain began falling from the clouds.  My babies danced around the school, smiling and laughing as they darted through the raindrops and shouting, “God has heard us!  He is answering our prayers!”
I couldn’t help but smile at the joy that was overflowing from their hearts.  And in the moment, several scriptures began to flood my mind:
“…a childlike faith…”
“faith as small as a mustard seed…”
“The prayer of a righteous man…”
“Pray continuously.”
But more than that, I was reminded of God’s faithfulness.  We are His children. He hears our cries to Him and, like any good father does, He finds great joy in seeing that our daily needs are met.

God may have been refilling our water tank today, but He was also filling my love tank and reigniting my desire to know Him more.

This is a short video of the rain...which briefly turned to hail! 
You can see it bouncing into the classroom with force! 

Tuesday, September 8, 2015

Stories With New Endings...

I began this blog post several months back, but hesitated to post it.
After much thought and prayer, I have decided to share—for no other reason except that I know God is going to use such stories to reveal His power and grace. He is the author of life and the author of our lives. He alone is orchestrating a remarkably beautiful redemptive story in each of us.

When people learn that I am a full-time missionary in Africa, the responses are usually about the same.
“Wow! That must be so rewarding.”
“…so much fun.”
“…so exciting.”
“…such a blessing.”
Most people hold a positive perspective as far as what life is like over here.
And that is great. I think many people in my same position would agree that we do our best to shine a positive light on how God is working in each of our ministries. We try to dispel myths and stereotypes while highlighting some of the different and unique aspects of our new culture. Our facebook photos display beautiful, bright-eyed babies, children dancing, and mommas smiling. It is very easy to see why we love our lives here; why we are thankful that God has called us to serve him in such a delightfully mysterious yet elusive place.
Most days, I wake up ready to face the day. With joy and excitement, I anticipate seeing God work in a way that only He can. I am eager to see each of my children, teach them something new, and watch their eyes smile as God gently reveals a little more of Himself to them.
Most nights, I lay in bed and smile. Replaying the events of the day in my mind, I am able to see God’s grace more clearly. His presence in those moments is unquestionable and I drift to sleep with a peaceful, contented heart.
I wish I could say that every day is like that—that every day is perfect and my heart is always quiet, at peace, and intact.
But the truth is, some days just suck.
And I don’t typically use such words…but this past Friday…UUgggghhhh!!
I don’t even know if I have the words to describe the hurt and anger that my heart was (and still is) feeling. When I arrived at school, my babies were all in class. And just like every other day, I peeked into each class, greeted the teachers, and waved ‘Hello’ to my little munchkins. It was nearly break-time so I took a quick walk down the street, bought the kids some mangoes, and returned to school. The morning was off to a good start…until break time.
As the kids began meandering about, I noticed a small crowd gathering outside of Primary 2 (second grade). Being the curious little mamma that I am, I wandered over to see what all the commotion was about.
In the middle of the crowd, stood little Simon*, approximately 8 years old and not much taller than my waist. His eyes were cast down to the ground, avoiding eye contact with anyone. As I approached, the other students saw me coming and immediately their petite arms and tiny fingers got busy telling me what happened.
Simon was beaten by his mother the night before.
My eyes assessed at his little frame, slumped over and clearly overwhelmed with embarrassment, shame, and physical pain. I snagged his attention and asked him if what I was hearing was true. Slowly and gently, he nodded his head and quickly turned his gaze back to the ground.
I didn’t want to believe that what he said was true, but the injuries spoke for themselves. A massive lump on the back of his head. A severely swollen forearm. And dozens of scratches scattered across his back.
I could feel my pulse quicken. How could something like this happen?!
I did my best not to look too alarmed, for fear that it would just scare Simon and the other kids, whose eyes were closely monitoring my every move. (Pretty sure I failed—there is just something about the sign language user inside me than spills out all of my emotions through my face. And my kiddoes, being deaf, are very receptive to that.) Nonetheless, I found the head teacher and asked if she was aware of the situation. It was still early in the day so she had not yet seen Simon, nor was she aware of what had happened the night before. I explained the injuries to her and to my surprise, there was little reaction or emotion to what I was telling her. Desperately, I asked what we as the school could do to ensure that the boy would be safe when he returned back home at the end of the school day.
Her response: ‘Nothing. It is the parents right to discipline their child as they see fit.’
What?!?! Are you kidding me?
I am all about disciplining children—I even got my fair share of it when I was a child. Discipline is healthy. It is even Biblical. God disciplines each of us in a variety of ways. He does it to protect us; to guide us, and to help us become strong men and women of Christ.
But there is a big difference between discipline and abuse. What I had just seen evidence of, was NOT discipline. That was blatant, unrestrained, deliberate abuse. And to make matters worse, I was being told that there was nothing I could do about it.
Surely, when I decided to become a full-time missionary (and by ‘decided’ I mean, I agreed to be obedient and follow God’s call for me) I knew the work would not be easy. I had done the research and I had seen the statistics. I had even peered into the eyes of a young deaf girl and had seen the pain of rejection and neglect. I understood that the young people God had called me to serve were suffering from a host of agonizing experiences that I could never relate to.
At least I thought I understood that.
For the past two years I have been overwhelmingly blessed. Each day, my students greet me with the most beautiful smiles. More often than not, their giggles echo throughout the school like a beautiful song. And on several occasions, I have even seen them laugh so hard, tears poured from their eyes. It is hard to overlook the joy and excitement that they express every day.
But as time goes on, it has become equally as difficult to overlook the heartache and grief that each of them carries. Despite their happy appearance, all of my students have a story. A story of sorrow and condemnation and abandonment.
Slowly, I am learning some of the painful realities my students are carrying on their little shoulders and within their fragile hearts. It is an unsettling process to hear such tragic accounts. And it might sound crazy, but I want to know these little details. I want to know why they are sad and what causes them to push me away. I want to know what makes them cry at night and how to dry their tears. I want to know their fears and the thoughts that run through their head when no one is around. But most of all, I want them to know how much they are loved. The world may be telling them otherwise, but the truth is God loves them sooooo…much!
I know how much I love and cherish each of them. But I also know that God loves them exponentially more than I ever could—which is hard, even for me, to understand. Still, I pray for these precious little souls, that despite all of the pain and heartache that they have had to endure, they are able to see and experience the love that God so desperately wants to pour out onto them. I pray that God guides me and directs me as He teaches me how to minister to each child; that my love for them will be a glimpse of the great love He has for them.
Granted, I do not yet know all of the stories, but I am convinced it is because God knows that my heart could not handle all of that at one time. He is gradually exposing my students’ pasts and showing me the next steps to take to help them heal. Some steps are harder than others, but I trust Him. And I hold tight to His promise that He sees the beginning from the end. He will never leave us or forsake us. He is our Heavenly Father. Therefore, deep down in my heart I know that He truly cares for my babies and is masterfully writing remarkable, redemptive endings to each of these tragic stories.
And while He is doing all of that, He continues to write my story as well…