Broken In Love
In light of this month’s emphasis on orphans, I was again reminded of where the Lord has brought our family, figuratively speaking, in the past year. A year ago, my husband and I were quite happy with our two little boys, our simple family of four. We weren’t sure we felt the need to have more biological children, while still not feeling like our family was complete (but absolutely did not have adoption on the radar). A year ago, we had no idea there were an estimated 147 million orphans across the globe.
And, then it happened. In one night, a hidden place in our hearts that we didn’t even know existed suddenly came to light. Because of a few people’s faithfulness to advocating for the orphan, we were suddenly made aware. It was shocking, mortifying, devastating.
A year later, we find ourselves mid-way through the process of adopting a baby girl from Ethiopia. The Lord has taken us on an incredible journey of faith and courage, and we continue with eager hearts, entering His story of fathering the fatherless.
A year ago, we didn’t even know “Orphan Sunday” existed. Now, this year, we grieved and celebrated simultaneously. We advocate. We dream of our baby girl. It is my hope and prayer that more and more of God’s followers are coming to an awareness of this great need (crisis, really) and are daily wrestling with finding their place in being a part of the change. Because, we are all called to do something. There are so many ways to be a part of changing the lives of the hundreds of millions of vulnerable children all around the world.
“Learn to do good. Seek justice. Help the oppressed. Defend the cause of orphans. Fight for the rights of widows.”
Ultimately, God is the Father to the orphan, a lover to the widow. And, if God’s heart is to be Father to the orphans, how can we desire any less???
“Father to the fatherless, defender of widows — this is God, whose dwelling is holy. God places the lonely in families.”
And, we have seen firsthand how God places the lonely in families. He does it through his Spirit, tugging on the hearts of His people to obey His leading. Whether that be through saying, “Yes, Lord, I will be a father/mother to an orphan,” saying “Yes, Lord, I will give to help another family bring home an orphan,” by opening your home to foster children, by advocating for the orphan . . .
“Speak up for those who cannot speak for themselves; ensure justice for those being crushed. Yes, speak up for the poor and helpless, and see that they get justice.”
Words cannot express how wrecked and broken I have become over the intense tragedies children all across the globe experience today. You’re right, it’s much easier (or it used to be for me, anyway . . .it’s become impossible now) to just not think about it. To see something really horrible happening to a helpless and vulnerable child, to feel the feelings begin to well up inside, and then out of fear just shut it off. If I can just not think about it, I can pretend it doesn’t exist. I personally have been afraid of those feelings inside. They feel so out-of-control. What will happen if I give in to them? If I listen? How can I live in that pain?? What do you even do with that???
We see those commercials on TV – the ones about sponsoring a child in need, and we flip the channel. Just another one of those commercials. It seems so distant sometimes. It doesn’t affect us here in our safe and secure lives. At least, it doesn’t if you don’t let it. But, what happens when you begin to let the feelings stay a little longer, to soak a little deeper. What happens when you envision the eyes of your own biological child in the eyes of the one you see in tragic circumstances? When you let the statistics sink in and you realize that there is a face and a name and a spirit behind every single number.
I plead with you: Don’t shut your eyes. Don’t ignore those feelings. You don’t have to have all the answers. You don’t have to know how or what to do. If you feel a tug in your spirit, I challenge you to open yourself up to that. Just tell God you acknowledge it and pray for Him to lead you and give you courage to follow.
“And anyone who welcomes a little child like this on my behalf is welcoming me.”
I can tell you it is so worth it. This is not a path that I really saw coming in our lives. And, it is beyond-words incredible. It’s so painful, and I feel wrecked and heavy so many days. The joy of Heaven has become more real to me than it has ever been… sin entering this world has forever made it a tragic place to be. But, oh, how freeing it is to rest in the hope of our Savior! To rest in His love, in His sovereignty. Seth and I have already been changed. And, I know we will continue to be forever changed as we continue down this road. We continue to pray for God’s grace and mercy and courage. We can’t even imagine what it will be like stepping into those orphanages in Ethiopia when we travel next year and how we will be changed again. I pray the changing will not end in this life. Because, oh, so much of me needs to be changed. And to think of how our little girl will forever change us when she is placed in our arms…
I can’t read the serenity prayer these days without tears streaming down, and I’d like to end this post with it. Powerful, powerful words.
God grant me the serenity
to accept the things I cannot change;
courage to change the things I can;
and wisdom to know the difference.
Living one day at a time;
Enjoying one moment at a time;
Accepting hardships as the pathway to peace;
Taking, as He did, this sinful world
as it is, not as I would have it;
Trusting that He will make all things right
if I surrender to His Will;
That I may be reasonably happy in this life
and supremely happy with Him
Forever in the next.
Joy and her husband, Seth, have been married for 8 years and reside in Northwest Arkansas with their two biological sons, Oliver and Sullivan. They are in the process of adopting a baby girl from Ethiopia. Joy has a heart of compassion, loves music, singing, her boys, and all-things-Africa. Seth is a worship pastor and, with divine inspiration and guidance, created an album of his original songs to help fund their adoption and advocate orphan care. The album is titled Bringing Home Beautiful, and you can find out more about their project here. You can read more about the Primm family on their blog.