Archive | faith

yearning for heaven (unashamedly)

prepared a heavenly city I have been thinking about baby names. My niece or nephew inspire such topics. It’s weird to think that, if you were named after someone, you were named after an imperfect person. Even Biblical characters (except Jesus, obviously) were sinful. Name someone “David” and you’re naming them after an adulterer and liar. Name someone “Moses” and you’re naming them after a cowardly murderer. Noah and Abraham both participated in gross failures. The “heroes” of the New Testament are no better.

I used to read history books written for Christian schools, and I don’t regret those lessons because, as a little girl, I did learn a lot of good things. But as I get older and realize those mini-biographies were not complete, that the founders of our faith and our country were riddled with impurities and moral failures, it can be depressing. Like learning your pastor or your favorite teacher or your parent have let themselves slip in some crucial area. It’s disheartening. Like when my sister found out Emma Roberts is not exactly like Nancy Drew. Bubbles burst.

And yet, what good would it do to pretend someone was perfect? And what good would it do, to pretend I was perfect? Would that point anyone any closer to Jesus?

We idolize good people, strong people, brave people. We search high and low for pure things, true things, excellent things. But we so often come up empty-handed. Oh the contrast that heaven will bring! We will not miss this place, where good things were splattered with the mud of the earth. I nod along with Jeremiah who cried out, “The heart is deceitful above all things, and desperately sick; who can understand it?” (Jeremiah 17:9.)

We think of newborn babies as the most pure, unadulterated, innocent creatures. But where do they come from? The bodies of sinful parents. And how long before they make a name for themselves in this sinful world? No time at all. We dive for pearls and come up with seaweed. My heart hurts when I see babies born with maladies, children taught to hate, people used as slaves, beauty disgraced and bodies sold for service. But that’s where the hope comes into the picture, hidden and oft-passed-by like gold veins laced through the rocks. My heart hurts when I see these things. 

As long as we care, as long as we feel the pain, as long as we lie awake at night thinking this is not the way things should be, we have hope. Because that means that this is not our home. That means that Heaven is right around the corner. That means that the things we thought were good and pure and holy are going to pale in comparison to the things we see next. That means that, though parents and pastors and teachers and leaders will fail us and break our hearts, our hearts will be mended and we will never be disappointed by treachery of hellish schemes again. We will never receive bad news again. We will never bury children again. Children will never have to “be the grown up” again. We won’t have to wonder if war and violence are ever permitted. We won’t have to debate women’s choices. We won’t have to feel guilty for the things we have. We won’t have to look away when we feel someone is peering into our own soul.

We’ll hug each other’s souls. 

There will be no cowardice and no slavery and no violence and no disgrace. Just this grace: “But such saints as these look forward to a far better place, a heavenly country. So God is not ashamed to be called their God because He has prepared a heavenly city for them.” Hebrews 11:16

Sometimes it sounds negative or grim or even suicidal to long for heaven, as if we cannot bear another moment on earth. But when I hear little children talk about heaven, their eagerness is truly pure. They are not embarrassed to say they are excited to walk on streets of gold and see those saints they had to say goodbye to. It’s real to them, and God is not ashamed of them.


bothering God


When I was in high school, Spring Break meant very little to me. One thing I did love, however, was the fact that my friends who went to school were off for a whole week or more. One such friend was my cousin David. We were really close when we were younger and, one year, he came and spent Spring Break with my family at Eyrie Park. We dyed his hair bright red, which wasn’t appreciated by his private school, but that’s a story for another time. I believe it was during this stay that our fridge decided to give up the ghost. It was stormy outside while we moved all of our refrigerated items onto the big table in the den. During this process, I picked up our bulk-size bag of semi-sweet chocolate chips and accidentally spilled the entire thing onto the pantry floor.

Somehow, I got distracted by the rest of the mess (melty things everywhere!) and my cousin and didn’t go back to clean up the chocolate for several minutes. When I did remember to retrace my steps, I found something horrifying. Or, rather, I found nothing. The chocolate was gone. But in it’s place was our little poodle, Molly.

Dogs aren’t supposed to eat chocolate. It’s considered poisonous to them. And Molly had a sensitive stomach to boot. That was the day I almost killed the dog.

We called the vet and she said to pour hydrogen peroxide down Molly’s throat if she wasn’t throwing up. We thought for sure she would vomit the whole thing out, her being so small and sensitive and the chocolate being so plentiful. We sat her some newspaper and watched her. And waited. And waited

Nothing. Not a burp. It was time to try the hydrogen peroxide. We were getting nervous. Especially me, murderess. We looked in our medicine cabinet and found the open bottle and poured the contents down her little throat with a turkey baster. And waited. And waited.

We had used up our hydrogen peroxide and Molly wasn’t flinching, so we put on raincoats and ventured out into the storm and started knocking on neighbor’s doors. It was late and raining and we don’t even know our neighbors all that well. But thankfully, one of them offered us their unopened bottle of hydrogen peroxide and we gladly accepted it and, if I recall, poured the entire thing into our beloved pup’s mouth.

Finally, she got off the paper and walked over to her bed and then the carpet and…let it all out. Of course, not on the paper! It was a bonafide mess but we were so relieved that Molly Moo would be okay. We had several more happy years of her company after that. It was a Spring Break to remember, and a victory–thanks to those neighbors who opened their doors into the rainy night.

This event often comes to mind when I read what I think is one of the strangest passages in the Bible:

“And he said to them, “Which of you who has a friend will go to him at midnight and say to him, ‘Friend, lend me three loaves, for a friend of mine has arrived on a journey, and I have nothing to set before him’; and he will answer from within, ‘Do not bother me; the door is now shut, and my children are with me in bed. I cannot get up and give you anything’? I tell you, though he will not get up and give him anything because he is his friend, yet because of his impudence he will rise and give him whatever he needs. And I tell you, ask, and it will be given to you; seek, and you will find; knock, and it will be opened to you. For everyone who asks receives, and the one who seeks finds, and to the one who knocks it will be opened.” Luke 11:6-10

Wait, wait. Is this suggesting that I’m supposed to be impudent toward God? That seems so wrong, and weird at that. Shouldn’t we feel guilty for bothering God?

I recently have been listening to a Vespers station on Pandora while I’m at work. (The Vespers are my favorite band right now, check them out!) A song by Punch Brothers came on that made me laugh. The song is from the perspective of a “backslider” who is only praying because he really wants to win the affections of a religious girl. The whole song is pretty clever, but this line stuck out to me:

‘Cause there’s this girl this girl this girl this girl this girl
And I’d be the happiest backslider in the world
If you would tell her it’s your will for us to be together
I would never bother you again

“This Girl” by Punch Brothers

Ain’t that the truth, though? If God would just grant us our every wish, we’d never bother Him again. And judging by the attitude of the man who was in bed with his children, (co-sleeping alert!) He would appreciate that.

But that’s not what the Bible says, is it? Ask, seek, knock, it says. Three verbs. That’s like knocking and ringing the bell and knocking again, louder.

I am still not entirely sure about being impudent, but I think the message is this: God wants to be bothered by us. Because when we knock on His door, He is not irritated that He has to get out of bed and rouse his children from sleep. We are His children. He is not slow to bless us. We are slow to knock.

Would you like to know that your little child was keeping something from you that you could be helping with? Would you like it if they never told you when they were hungry, even if it meant not having to hear them nag? Again, the analogy breaks down a bit because God does already know our needs and desires, but He wants the relationship of a father and a child, not an automatic payment plan and a recipient.

When I made a huge mistake and fed our dog five pounds of chocolate chips, we were desperate. And we were humble enough to trudge through the rain and desperately knock on the doors of near-strangers. And we were obedient enough to pour the whole bottle down her throat. And we were literally on our knees, pouring and waiting and praying because a life depended on it.

We asked and it was given to us. We sought and found. We knocked and it was opened to us.

“…how much more will the heavenly Father give the Holy Spirit to those who ask him!” Luke 11:13

This post is dedicated to Molly Elizabeth Dolly Kraft-Giles, 1999-2014. 


12 Things You May Not have Known about Mother Mary

EP 12 things mother mary

Mary, Mother of Jesus has been studied, glorified, admired, iconified and revered. Though various denominations celebrate her life and her role in the faith in different ways, there’s no denying the fact that, for Bible-believers, Mary is an important character in God’s story. We all know that she was chosen to be Jesus mother through immaculate conception, that she journeyed on a donkey and gave birth-to the savior of the world no less-in a stable. We see her depicted as a woman in a blue head covering, a glowing angelic creature, an extremely pious and pure saint. However, there is more to Mary than a nativity scene. We would do well to remember that she started off much like you and I, not knowing what her life would hold, trying to honor her God. Since Christmas is right around the corner, I’ve been thinking about Mary a lot and I thought I’d share 12 things you may not have known about mother Mary.

1. Her name is Egyptian

Well, kind of. The Hebrew form of her name is Miryam (such as Moses’ sister, Miriam.) Some scholars believe that Moses, Aaron and Miriam were all originally Egyptian names, which would make some sense seeing as the Hebrew people had been living in Egypt for hundreds of years. If this is the case, then Miryam was probably derived from the Egyptian words Mery or Meryt which means “cherished” or “beloved” (think “merit.”) There is still debate about the origin of the name, but knowing that God often inspired people to name their children something very particular, “cherished” would seem fitting for the mother of Jesus.

2. She may have made her own match

I was always taught that Mary was probably only 13 or 14 when she was betrothed to Joseph and that it was most likely an arranged marriage, but I’ve recently read that in Jesus’ day, women were often given a say in their choice of spouse. Going back as far Isaac and Rebekah, Rebekah was given the chance to turn down the match that had been proposed for her. Matchmaking was certainly prevalent (and still is in Israel!) but it’s nice to think that, maybe, Mary and Joseph were grade school sweethearts (because yes-she probably was very young!)

3. Betrothal=Marriage

Breaking off an engagement was like getting a divorce. For Joseph to break his commitment to Mary would’ve meant a lifetime of shame. Still, he was a pretty noble person to go through with it considering the unusual circumstances.

4. She was quite the poet

Outside of the Catholic church, Mary’s song (also called The Magnificat) is often overlooked, but it is a beautiful glimpse into her heart. Moments after embracing her cousin Elizabeth and realizing they were both miraculously carrying babies who would change the world forever, Mary bursts out: “My soul doth magnify the Lord, and my spirit has rejoiced in God my savior!” That is, if she spoke in Edwardian English. I’m sure it was beautiful in Aramaic as well. Read the rest of her poem here.

5. She had some serious doubts

When Jesus’ ministry got serious (and by that I mean He was being so controversial that there was a plot to kill Him,) Mary and her other sons came to fetch Him and bring Him home because they thought He had lost His mind (Mark 3:21.) Verses 31-35 give us the impression that she left empty-handed, hurt and bewildered.

6. She was an early Christian

One of the coolest things about Mary, in my opinion, is that she later came to understand Jesus’ teachings. She became part of the early church and Acts 1:14 tells us that she and her other sons were devoted to prayer and to the new body of believers. I would’ve definitely wanted her to be my Sunday school teacher!

7. She had several children

You may want to sit down for this one. Mary did not remain a virgin forever! She and Joseph welcomed several more children into their family after Jesus was born. His brothers are mentioned many times and his sisters are mentioned in Matthew 13:56, Mark 6:3

8. She also descended from David

In Luke’s account of Jesus’ life, he actually notes Mary’s genealogy instead of Joseph’s (yay moms!) This family tree shows that she too was descended from the Davidic line. Which is helpful, since Joseph wasn’t Jesus’ biological father, so-to-speak.

9. She was (probably) an introvert

No, I did not ask Mary myself, so I could be totally off. But watching the way she responds and reacts throughout the story, I feel like we have reason to suspect she was introvert. Luke tells us that Mary “pondered these things and treasured them in her heart.” That sounds like a brown study to me.

10. She once misplaced her kid (yes, that would be Jesus)

You know those frazzled moms who accidentally leave their kids at Walmart or lose them at theme parks? Well, Mary was once one such frazzled mom. When Joseph and Mary decided to take their kids on their annual trip to Jerusalem for Passover (I’m picturing a Kosher ren fest,) they had such a good time, they forgot to count heads when they headed back to Nazareth. There were probably several families traveling together and everyone just assumed Jesus, by that time twelve years old, was hanging out with one of his other friends. They actually traveled for an entire day before realizing their mistake and, like any good mother, Mary panicked. After three days, they finally found Him in the Temple, “sitting among teachers, listening to them and asking questions.” I cannot imagine her relief…and confusion!

11. The Apostle John looked after her when Jesus was gone

There really was no such thing as an independent woman in the society Mary lived in. By the time Jesus was crucified, she had presumably been a widow for some time. Though Jesus’ words from the cross, “Woman, behold your son” sound harsh when we read them, this was actually His last act of love and honor to her before He died. Presumable, the Apostle John was being commissioned to look after Mary as if she were his own mother and Mary was being told to rely on John as she would a son. John was called “the apostle Jesus loved” and so it isn’t any wonder this responsibility went to him.

12. She was super brave

From the very beginning of her story, we see Mary to be a truly courageous individual. When the angel appears in her own home, she is startled, but keeps her head. When she is told she will have a child while she is still a virgin, she is puzzled but then goes on to quickly say, “Behold, I am the servant of the Lord; let it be to me according to your word.” (Luke 1:38.) Then she had to go through the shame and torture of being an unwed mother in ancient Hebrew culture, the long journey to Bethlehem during labor and childbirth in a animal’s stall. Then there was the threat on her child’s life which the Maji warned her of, the flight to Egypt and then the job of raising the Messiah as her own child. Then she went through the confusion of His ministry (He wasn’t anything like the Messiah the Jews had been expecting) and the doubts about God’s plans. She had to hear the news when her cousin John the Baptist is beheaded, go through the loss of her husband and ultimately see her son tortured and crucified in the most horrific way. I can almost see the knowing look in her eyes, so full of sorrow and joy, as she breaks bread in the upper room with the early church. This lady saw it all, and through the ups and downs, she ultimately put her trust in God. What an awesome person we will get to meet one day in Heaven! What a perfect choice God made when He sent His son into the arms of a young mother. 


when God the Father seems overly protective

Though I sometimes suspect I’m turning into A Morning Person, I have to admit to a life-long hatred of alarm clocks. The sound my phone makes across the room when it’s time to get up for work is one of my least-favorite ditties ever to exist. In that inevitable moment, I forget that I am the one who told the alarm precisely when to go off and that, after all, it is just a piece of technology, not some demon set on ruining my life. I always give myself time for one “snooze” as I dive back under my comforter and appraise the day for nine minutes.

After forgiving God for allowing this injustice to happen so early in the morning, I begin to pray in short, sleepy spurts. What shall I do today, for The Kingdom? What are His plans for me? How can I glorify Him?

These prayers may sound quite pious for 6:30 AM, but I assure you they are merely the product of sleepy habit and a lot of grace. I cannot even say that my heart is necessarily “in it” at this point in the day (as is sometimes evidenced by my grouchy behavior once I leave my bedroom,) but it’s definitely a good way to start the day. I often look back on these little prayers around noon and think, “Well? Have I begun? Am I doing His work, or not?”

But do you know what irks me about these prayers? It’s the calm, consistent answer they so often receive. I can almost hear the smug tone in God’s voice at 6:33. There is no special assignment. There is no exciting task. It’s almost as if He replies with a small smile and a, “Just keep doing what you’re doing.”

Day after day after boring day.

I hold my palms out in reverent prayer. WHATEVER you might want me to do, Lord, I’ll do. I’m available to you. I am willing.

“Okay,” He replies with that little smile. “Just keep doing what you’re doing for now.”

So, I know I’m being a bit sacrilegious by characterizing God the Father this way. After all, smugness isn’t exactly a fruit of His spirit. But this is the way I feel, sometimes. Like God is not using me. Instead, He’s just keeping me on a shelf, safe and still. I can almost see the dust collecting around my feet.

The truth is, at eighteen I thought I was ready. Everyone thought I was mature for my age. They applauded my wisdom and discretion. I wanted to be married, to adopt kids, to go back to Haiti do mission work. I wanted to be on the New York Times Bestseller’s list with a riveting scrutiny of society. It wasn’t that I wasn’t afraid at times, or that I never felt unqualified, but those feelings never really go away. Big things will always make little people nervous. Why not just start now?

And God gave me that little smile. I think it was the first time I’d seen it. And he patted me on my little head and tucked me into my little bed and told me to grow up. And, like all little children do, I told Him I wasn’t sleepy and I didn’t want to go to bed! I wanted to stay up with the grown-ups and do grown-up things and have fun! And He chuckled a little as He turned out the light and pulled the door, as if to say. “That’s nice, Deary.”

So I pitched the riveting manuscript and was rejected. The guy who would’ve married me got turned down. The tickets to Haiti were never purchased. The alarm clock continued going off at the same time every morning and I continued to lie in bed, nine minutes at a time, wondering what the heck my purpose was.

Now I’m twenty-two and, I’ll admit, a bit weary of God’s overly protective tendency’s at times. I get the feeling He’s holding out on good things for me because He just wants me to be near all the time. To get to know Him better. To spend my hours with Him and talk with Him. Where’s the adventure? Where’s the launch? Where’s the applause from society that comes with great accomplishments? Where’s the fodder for my blog, for Pete’s sake? Nothing every happens to me! I shriek (and throw myself onto my bed with the grace of a prepubescent brat.)

God gives me that look like I don’t know best or something, and leaves me to my pouting.

Other girls get married. Other girls have babies. Other girls travel. Other girls get published. I was never jealous of the girls who had phones before me, cars before me, pierced ears before me…but this? Are they really more qualified? Why can’t I be an early bloomer? (Stomps Mary-janes indignantly.)

This may be an exaggerated description of my relationship with God. I would like to think there’s a little more mutual respect between us, and less whining. But the truth is, I do complain a lot, about my lot. Elisabeth Elliot says of Psalm 16:5, “Lord, you have assigned me my portion and my cup and have made my lot secure.”

My “lot” is what happens to me-my share of that which comes by the will of the Power that rules my destiny. My lot includes the circumstances of my birth, my upbringing, my job, my hardships, the people I work with, my marital status, hindrances, obstacles, accidents, and opportunities. Everything constitutes my lot. Nothing excepted. (Be Still My Heart, pg. 35)

Can I accept the fact that My Good Father secured the lot that is my singleness? That He designed me this way and set me on this path? Can I accept the fact that He ordained for my book to be rejected? That I’d have to break someone’s heart? That I’d have to learn from mistakes? That my friends would move on and move away without me?

One of my favorite stories from the Bible is about Mary and Martha. I think I love it because it’s about women, and sisters no less! And it takes place in their home and shows their personalities and, let’s face it, tells a story all women have experienced. Martha is cooking and cleaning because they have guests and she is ticked that Mary isn’t helping. She’s just sitting there, hanging out with Jesus. Hello! I  can imagine Martha thinking while she gives Mary a wide-eyed glanced over Jesus’ shoulder. A little help here?!

But Jesus is sort of related to the God I’ve been describing here. He has a way of snuffing out our self-righteous plans with a look or a word.

“Oh Martha, Martha, you are so anxious and concerned about a million details, but really, only one thing matters. Mary has chosen that one thing, and I won’t take it away from her.” (Luke 10:41-42 The VOICE.)

So what if I have an extended adolescence? So what if my life looks boring to other people? So what if I’ll never get to prove how good of a wife/mother/author/missionary I could’ve been at nineteen? God hasn’t been smug with me. He’s been patient. He’s given me years of chances to “choose that one thing” that cannot be taken away from me. I wanted to be Martha, working and doing big things for Jesus. I wanted to show the world how dedicated I was to Him. But it turns out He really doesn’t give a darn about what the world sees me do. He cares about my heart. If I cannot sing a serenade to Him, why do I think a solo concert in front of a big audience will bring Him glory?

I have a  feeling there is a Mother Theresa out there right now who hasn’t been discovered by the media and never will. An Elisabeth Elliot who doesn’t land a book deal. A Gladys Aylward who still hasn’t made it to China, despite her efforts.

God’s ways are not my ways. He actually does know better. So maybe I’m a slow learner, a late bloomer. Maybe I did need a little more time on my Papa’s lap, as my friend Jessiqua would say, before chasing my dreams. Maybe He’s preparing me for a greater work than I’ve ever cooked up on my own. And maybe it won’t win me fame or esteem. But maybe it will matter.


how deep the father’s love

sisters forever

I have been trying to write this post for more than an hour, but I am continually interrupted. I keep finding myself singing the song “Little Girls” from Annie. Whenever I walk into my room, I either find small shoes spread across my room, or that my own shoes have been marched to a new location. Fuzzy ponytail holders and geography books and neon fake nails turn up everywhere. I’ve been invaded.

In the past hour, Jubilee and Meggie have been “sitting” on my bed squealing and talking about boys, diamond rings, marriage, babies with cheeks like squirrels, and how old everyone will be when everyone else reaches these milestones. Meggie is set on having at least one baby as brown as Jubilee. Jubilee wants “chocolate milk babies” (biracial!) and they both agree on the squirrel cheeks. Just now, from their room, I heard Meggie saying her prayers with my parents. She prayed I find a job and get a boyfriend soon, because I am so old. (Update—I did get a job! No news on a boyfriend, yet.)

It feels somewhat ethereal to have Meggie’s face so close to mine as I sit in my usual spot on the bed, laptop open and pillows strewn about. She is here, in moving, living action. She is Meggie and she is home. She is Meggie and she is ours. It’s like a little miracle every time she smiles.

When we lived in Haiti, there was a time I wanted us to all be home together so badly, it was like looking forward to heaven. I cannot help but relate adoption to our true homecoming once again. It feels as if all is right in the world when I see Jubilee and Meggie playing together and hear them giggling down the hall. It seems like this is the happily ever after, the climax, the victorious justice that triumphs over all the pain in her early life and in the long wait. There are rough moments, and the good moments are often the product of lots of hard, loving work, and yet it amazes me to see two girls adopted from opposite sides of the globe, mesh together in sisterly affection. That is the product of God’s grace!

I know this is only the beginning of a new chapter for my family, but I’m so very happy in this moment that it’s hard to see beyond it. Watching Meggie interact with my dad has had me thinking about this especially. The love of a father is something every little girl should have, but the joy is still brand new for her. Their sweet relationship has taught me a lot about our heavenly father’s love for us. The Bible call us God’s adopted children and that analogy works in so many ways…

1. He chooses us

God the Father “chose us before the foundation of the world” and “predestined us for adoption” (Ephesians 1:4-5.) That means that before we were born, He had a plan and began reaching for us. It’s like a prospective parent waiting to hear from the agency. When the baby’s born, the parents are already putting the finishing touches on the nursery. He loved you before you knew Him. When parents are blessed with biological children, we somehow trust God to make the child turn out “alright” and expect him or her to fit into her family perfectly. When you adopt, you’re saying, “this child comes with baggage, pain, a sad story, but I’m choosing all of that, I’m choosing her.” That’s how God’s love works.

2. He seeks us and waits for us

When my parents adopted four of my siblings from Haiti, they spent three years working tirelessly on paperwork, traveling back and forth countless times, bonding and then having to part, and finally moving down there to run the orphanage and complete the adoptions by hand after everything had crumbled beneath our feet. That’s a passionate pursuit if I ever heard of one. I was so afraid the babies wouldn’t remember us when they finally came home, wouldn’t speak English anymore. I was afraid our love would never be reciprocated. God often has to wait for us with just as few reassuring gestures from us. The pain of our wait was severe. The stress and burden of the work was immense. The result was worthwhile.

3. He sacrifices for us

Do you know what an adoption costs? I cannot begin to fathom the amount of my dad’s earnings that have gone into adoption related travel, fees, paperwork, agencies and then the provision for the children once they come home. Adoption can be financially expensive, but the emotional expense is greater. Have you ever dropped of your own child at an orphanage when you would gladly care for them yourself? It’s not easy.  Have you ever received an email saying your little girl was crying herself to sleep every night and wondering if you’d ever come back? If waiting families ever feel alone in this, they can surely look to Jesus. “We do not have a high priest who is unable to sympathize” (Hebrews 4:15.) Did not God send His own son into a dangerous, hateful world to be abused and laughed at and murdered? Does He not see His children aimlessly wandering every day, like so many orphans? His arms are open so wide, and we run to other “parents.” He would do anything for you. He did everything for you. He paid the cost, He’s just waiting for us to come home.

4. He adores us

How deep the father’s love! Or grandfather’s, for that matter. I’m going to switch allegories for a moment and speak about my grandfather. This would definitely apply to my dad, who is head-over-heels for Meggie, but you probably knew that already. Did you know that my mom’s dad, Papa, is equally smitten? This man who was born in a time when adoption was almost unheard of and always shameful, when ethnicities were separated by peaceful but very defined lines, opened his heart up to my little siblings like almost no one else has. He loves my adoptive brothers and sisters just like he loves me, and that’s always been a lot. He inspires me by lying down the picture of his descendants he imagined long ago and embracing a new, colorful version of our family. I would imagine he had to swallow some pride in the beginning, but now he proudly shows photos of his “grand babies” to his brothers and buddies. Meggie and my other siblings couldn’t ask for more than a grandfather who shamelessly adores them. What a Godly example he is. “As the father has loved me, so I have loved you. Abide in my love.” John 15:19

5. He raises us

We get very focused on the homecoming of our new kiddos, and for good reason. That’s a huge moment, changing the trajectory of our lives forever. Poor Meggie, who is highly intuitive for her age, went through every emotion on the spectrum as she flew home, bawling and laughing in one moment. Homecomings are huge for adopted kids, but it’s really just the beginning. The “gotcha day” is Day One of their new life. We’ve made the orphan a son or daughter and now the real work begins, bringing them up to be healthy, strong adults. As for you and me? God will bring His good work in us to completion at the day of Jesus Christ. (Philippians 1:6.)

6. He keeps us close

When we think of death, we think of taking last breaths and being buried, but when the Bible talks about death, it is referring to a tragic separation not from our bodies, but from our Father. When you take your last breath, you’re actually more alive than ever. You’re back to perfect harmony with God, closer than you have ever been. At last in your true home with your true family! God’s whole plan (yes–I mean the whole grand thing,) is about keeping YOU close to HIM. Everything He does or allows to be done in your life is for this purpose. Your creation and adoption, the pursuit and sacrifice–all of this is spurned on by a deep and passionate love of your Father. He can’t wait to right the wrongs and take you into His arms at last. Picture the emotional airport moment times a billion.

“Then I saw a new heaven and a new earth, for the first heaven and the first earth had passed away, and the sea was no more.  And I saw the holy city, new Jerusalem, coming down out of heaven from God, prepared as a bride adorned for her husband.  And I heard a loud voice from the throne saying, “Behold, the dwelling place of God is with man. He will dwell with them, and they will be his people, and God himself will be with them as their God He will wipe away every tear from their eyes, and death shall be no more, neither shall there be mourning, nor crying, nor pain anymore, for the former things have passed away.” (Revelation 21:1-4)

I set my computer aside and peek into girls’ room. My parents are sitting on the edge of their beds, saying prayers. My dad gives Meggie a kiss and a squeeze and tucks the quilt around her shoulders. She’ll have no trouble drifting off to sleep, warm, safe and loved.


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