Sunday, November 4, 2012

What I Shared at Orphan Sunday Today.....

Included below is what I shared at our Orphan Sunday service this morning.  It was great to reflect on our beautiful little girl and the work that God performed in bringing her home.  To God be the glory.  We love you Peaches!!!!

It was three years ago during the Orphan Sunday service that God moved in our hearts to consider adoption.  During that service, our eyes were opened to the needs of orphaned children around the world and we were lead to consider, “what could we do?”  Over the next year, God led us down an amazing road of experiencing Him as He brought Meddie half-way around the world to live in our home and be a part of our family.

So, three years later, what does adoption mean to us?

When we first met Meddie, she was alone on the steps of our Agency’s transition home.  Although the Agency’s transition home provided for Meddie’s basic needs, it obviously did not fill one of her basic needs – a family.  She talks today of how she would cry in bed at night and the workers would just tell her to be quiet.  She was scared, and there was no one to comfort her, no one to hold her, no one to make her feel safe and secure.  She had been abandoned by her family.  She was an orphan.

On that Orphan Sunday, three years ago, God began to target our steps with laser-like precision for us to become the parents of Meddie Grace.  He began to open doors and move our hearts toward a girl halfway around the world.  Though we could not have been physically farther apart, God was beginning to weave our lives together.  At the time it often felt as though we were walking through an endless maze, never getting closer to our endpoint, but as we look back now we see that God was doing the work and setting our steps.  We were just along for the ride.

God was the one who placed Meddie into our lives.  He gave her to us so that we could be her parents, so that we could be her family.  He allowed us into her life, in that tender place where we would be Mom and Dad.  She would no longer be without family.  She would no longer be alone.  She would no longer be an orphan.

This took place at three different levels.  First, was the legal process of adoption.  Meddie has been legally declared our child through a court of law both in Ethiopia and in the US.  Legally, she is viewed as our heir as though she had been born by us.  There is no legal distinction between her and her siblings.  Secondly, was the physical process of adoption.  Once Meddie entered our family, she began to live with us and be one of us.  She began to learn to live together as our daughter amongst many siblings.  And lastly, was the emotional process of adoption.  It takes a long time for an orphan to develop trust in her new family and her new parents.  There is an emotional hole that was left from her abandonment and an orphan is often slow to allow that hole to be filled by another.  It is a natural response to prevent any further hurt.  Only God can reach in to the depths of that broken heart and allow healing and restoration.  Only God can allow that child to emotionally become part of a new family.

How has this changed our view of our Spiritual adoption?  We see that God is the One who takes the step of legally adopting us.  In the same way that we stood in a court of law with Meddie and she was declared our daughter, we stand before God’s throne on the basis of Christ and are declared sons and daughters.  He physically abides in us and becomes our Abba Father.  He becomes our Emmanuel, God with us.  He declares that He will never leave us or forsake us.  He reaches in and restores our soul and heals our diseases.

Meddie’s story has a happy ending.  She is living in a home with a family.  Certainly not a perfect family, but nonetheless, a family.  She has many friends.  She is surrounded by love.  But her story is an exception.  According to UNICEF statistics, there are over 18 million children world-wide who have lost both parents.  The vast majority of these will never know what it’s like to be in a family.  They will never be held be a mom or dad.  They will grow up in orphanages or on the streets.

Is God moving in your heart today to reach out to an orphan?  Whether though sponsorship, foster care, or adoption, there are many opportunities available for you to be involved and share the love of Christ with those in need. 

What steps can you take next?

Pray for His leading.  Research opportunities and ministries that reach out to vulnerable children.

Consider sponsoring a child who is in need.  There are many wonderful organizations that are doing great works in the lives of children.  One of those organizations is Look Development.  There are many children available to be supported through Look Development.  Many of you have already done this.  We have seen these children first-hand and can attest to the significant impact that your support is making in their lives.  Or if God has laid another country on your heart other than Ethiopia, you can support one of the children through World Vision.  Please take time after the service to stop by the table in the back that has sponsorship children available both through Look Development and World Vision.  The sponsorship programs of these organizations perform a significant impact on the lives of these children.  The support provides food, clothing, schooling, and access to hear the gospel.  These programs are truly life changing for the children who are sponsored.

You can also consider adoption.  As most of you know, adoption is a long process.  It doesn’t happen overnight.  The many, many steps provide time to pray and consider God’s leading.  Maybe the first step for you to consider today is to pray and ask God, “are You leading our family toward adoption?”  “Do you have a child for our family?”  If you feel that is where God is calling you, then take that step and begin to pray –  and begin to walk in faith and see how God will amaze You as He weaves your family’s story through adoption.

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