I am overwhelmed with emotion and gratitude when I reflect on the past year and the calling God so clearly privileged us with. I'm humbled by the fact that this beautiful soul is my daughter. But today. Today is bigger. Her baptism represents the work that only the Holy Spirit can do. Into the water... Death to self. Emergence from the water... Life in Christ. Can we begin to comprehend what Christ did in order to offer us eternal life? Can we grasp how painful his seperation from the Father was, in order that He could adopt us? I try. I can't. Not this side of heaven. Humbled that she's my daughter but blown away at the reality that she is HIS daughter.
"The promise is for you and your children and for all who are far off - for all whom the Lord our God will call." (Acts 2:39)
God sought her out. He loved her before she was born. He kept His loving arms around her in China. He brought her home safely to our family. And He calls her His. I pray every day that she one day realizes the love of Christ for herself. May she be convicted so deeply of her inherent sin and turn to Christ for redemption that only He offers.
The work God is doing in this child, y'all. Mercy. When she first came home, she would go to anyone. She trusted anyone (well, really she trusted no one but disguised it in order to find attention). Over the past month and a half, we have seen her grow leary of strangers and reject them in order to choose mama. This took time but way less time than we expected! She is no longer hoarding food in her clothes and stuffing her mouth full. She rarely scratches and hits anymore. She is learning to communicate properly and comes to us when she is frustrated. She has gained several pounds and has become incredibly strong through her mid-section and legs. She laughs. Dances. Runs. Swims. Hugs. Kisses. Even fist bumps. ;) She throws her fists in the air when we say "Amen" after prayer. Talk about melt a mama's heart!
We are now allowing family and close friends to hold her and interact freely. We are so grateful for the doctors, experts, and adoptive parents who urged us to protect her until she developed trust. We are also thankful to all of you who supported our decisions and respected our wishes. We realize some of our choices are hard to understand. There are people who clearly disagree with how we've chosen to nurture her but we are so thankful that we stood firm. I expect she will continue to make progress but we are blown away by how far she has come already. God's grace in her life... the only thing to thank for this progress.
We are rejoicing today that Emily Hope has experienced the living water, Christ himself. His grace is so evident in her life. Today's baptism is representative of all the miracles in Emily's life and especially of God's greatest covenant... eternal life... through the Living Water.
We are grateful to God for the love He has lavished on Emily and us this day. And we are grateful for the many people who love her and came to witness this joyous occasion. We love you, Nana and Grandaddy, Grandma Joan, Pop and Grammy, Uncle Sean and Aunt Stephanie, the entire Tujague clan, and all our other dear friends who were there to support us! Oh happy day...