Thursday, February 24, 2011

Birthdays, Brokenness and Beauty

As a momma of three children, I was used to celebrating birthdays. Often they are such a "BIG" deal in a child's life. The anticipation .... the excitement .... the looking back (at photo albums of past birthdays) and looking ahead. Then came number four child. Often her birthdays were a time of reflection for me. I think of her 4th birthday. Also, her 5th birthday. Thoughts would go to the beginning of her precious life. How God gave her birthmom incredible courage and strength to give her life. How he spared her little life through much trauma after birth and then open heart surgery.

Then came child number five. No longer are birthdays just full of balloons and cake and presents and joy and laughter and memories of nearly every living moment together. Birthdays now contain brokenness. When we adopted precious number five we came face-to-face in an even greater depth with the miracle of life. There are no birth pictures to show her ... no "going home from the hospital outfit" .... no infancy "firsts" to tell her about. Oh, but there is so much more. There is the realization of how God spared her life and led her sweet birthmom to a place that she could receive food and medicine. Medicine that would heal her from disease. There is the truth that while she went through a time of inadequate nutrition, God protected her amazing little brain and spirit. There is the faithfulness of how during the time preceding her birth, God spoke to us that there was a child in Ethiopia needing a family.

My heart breaks that I was not there during her first fourteen months of life. I would have given anything to be the one to give her the needed medicine all those months, to diaper her and keep her dry, to feed her til her tummy was full ... to just simply HOLD her.

Even in the brokenness, you see, there is beauty. Beauty in knowing her Heavenly Father was there .... never leaving her or forsaking her. Beauty in orchestrating countless miracles to take us to her. Beauty in redemption and providing her with the love of a family. That kind of beauty humbles me to my core. It causes me to worship. Teaches me what love is all about.

It's so easy to get overwhelmed with the orphan crisis and be baffled with the statistics. We throw out stats and percentages and facts. None of them are bad. At times like birthdays though, I am reminded that behind each number in those stats is a CHILD ... a living, human being in need of love, compassion and mercy.

Many of you reading this blog know of that brokenness and beauty. For you, too, have climbed mountains to your child. You have sacrificed what you used to think was important for something of far greater worth. God knows the brokenness your child(ren) has faced. He has a redemptive plan for their lives to give LIFE and HEALTH and WHOLENESS. May you be encouraged as you continue to walk this journey ... often that is filled with much pain.

Some of you hear of those statics and stop and wonder if maybe YOU will be used to make a difference. And perhaps you will be. But let us never forget the ONE who truly is the difference maker. It all began a long time ago when He chose to make the ultimate difference for you and for me. It is because of that, we have something to offer.

Sweet Arsema,
Your life, my precious child, is such a GIFT. The journey to you was such a difficult one. One that required great sacrifice and labor. One that taught us so much about the Father's heart. One we will never ever regret.
God has given you the greatest smile. At first I didn't know if we would ever see much of it. Now you walk around our home just exuding JOY. That is except for the times that your big sister causes you great conflict. :) And to her credit, sweet girl, you do know how to intimidate her. Your life has taught me so much about love. Not just the love that I have for you as a mother, but about the love that the Father has for each of us.
I am forever grateful and humbled to be your momma, sweet girl. I continue to be amazed at how the Lord includes broken people like me to be part of extraordinary things in this world. I can't imagine loving you more, my Maleah .... but each day that love grows..... even on the days you wake in the crabbiest of moods. Your life has radically changed my own. I am so grateful. Love, Mommy

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