We worshipped with our church family this morning. The joy it brings to be in communion with other believers is a reminder of why we should be there every Sunday morning. The joy in itself is weighty. Every Sunday. But today there was more. It's the last Sunday I'll be in this place of worship, with these precious brothers and sisters, for many weeks. This family has been so supportive of our call and has carried us through what they recognize to be kingdom work. I love my people at New Covenant Presbyterian and I will miss being there for awhile.
I have been in communication with other adoptive parents over the past couple days, specifically discussing where our children came from. Hard places, y'all. Really, really hard places. The discussion, although none of it surprising, has been very heavy on my heart. I believe God has put this on the forefront of my mind this week because of my prayer. He is preparing me for the darkness I am about to witness all over again.
I am never at liberty to share any child's personal story here but I can tell you that these children come home with unimaginable stories. Many seem fine and then open up years later about the abuse they experienced while institutionalized in China. Horrendous descriptions of neglect, physical abuse, rape, torture. I am reminded, through these heart-wrenching stories, of why we are going to get Samuel.
These stories make me angry. I am a hater of injustice. Sin destroys lives and I want nothing more than to remedy this brokenness through God's redemptive gospel. These stories (that aren't stories at all, rather the real lives of my cherished friends and their children) push me to be a lover of justice more than ever before. God's justice reaches down to the oppressed and rescues into an eternal life of love and safety. He does this through me and through you, giving us immense power by the Holy Spirit to do things we never thought we could. I am eternally grateful that he chose us to be His hands and feet for Emily, Ru, and Samuel. HE rescued them. He rescued us! We are all orphans in a deplorable hell without His grace. Praising Him today for that truth. Praising Him for the redemption He offers to the beautiful children who come home from horrid places. There has been no greater privilege or joy on earth than to be an instrument for these image-bearing children.
There is weight (and excitement, of course) in knowing I am getting on a plane in 5 days to travel to the other side of the globe. A side where many hate Jesus, and in turn hate me. Will I be safe? Will Samuel be okay? Will he have scabies or giardia? Will God allow me to shine light in the darkness? Will I leave China having had an effect on the glorification of God there? Will my luggage get lost? Some questions more important than others. Nonetheless, lots of unknowns. And that's okay.
The weight. The joyful weight at worship, the unbearable weight of knowing what happens to children in the darkness, the confusing weight of the unknown. Christ Jesus has it all. It's all His plan, my life is His. The weight is lifted when I am reminded of this truth. I am grateful that He continues to burden my heart for the darkness within China. I don't ever want to stop fighting for them. And in 5 days, I get on an airplane to fight for a special one in particular! Samuel, I can't get my arms around you quick enough. Mama and Baba are coming for you, loved and cherished son of God!
Quick, important note... We are fully funded for this adoption! We received a very generous donation this week that brought our fundraising thermometer where it needed to be in order to travel. Phew! We had no idea how that would ever happen but God sure knew. And we trusted that. Thank you, Jesus!