Last night my hubby went to see a movie with a friend and I was more than happy to have the house to myself - I really needed to clean, but more than anything I needed to sit in my chair, open my Bible and spend some much needed time with God. Too much time had gone by since I had cranked up the worship music, lifted my hands towards heaven and sang my heart out. I prayed, I seeked, I let the Word speak to my heart. You see, for the past few weeks my heart has been extremely burdened.
I have the most wonderful job in the world! I spend my days working with some amazing people - people who are being transformed by God right before my eyes. But it's also a hard job. If I'm not careful I can be zapped dry - I have to depend on Jesus to give me the strength and all that I need to love the people I come in contact with everyday - because they aren't always easy to love. I must constantly cling to the hope I have in Christ, because I daily see situations that seem so hopeless.
Here's the sucky part of my job...falling in love with these kids....wishing I could take them home and love them and give them all that they need. Watching them walk out the door last Friday (after hugging and squeezing them and telling them goodbye), not knowing if they will have enough food, diapers or hugs and kisses. I bawled all the way home. I thought my heart would break....
On Sunday God put me in the exact place I needed to be. A 16-year-old who used to live at the Mission , happened to be at the church I was visiting. She knew nobody except me and the lady she was with. I got to hug her, I got to make sure she was okay. She's about to have a baby at any time. She's 16. She has no money. She doesn't have the kind of family support that I have. My heart breaks. I wonder how she'll take care of the baby. Does she have a safe place to stay? When will the cycle be broken? Will it ever be?
Tuesday morning I was reading a blog post by Lara about an orphan in Eastern Europe. An orphan with Down's Syndrome, which is a death sentence in her country. What Lara wrote made my stomach turn.
"Since turning five, she was transferred from the babies' orphanage where she was, which was abysmal, but much better than where she went after she was transferred. Teri Lynn went to the asylum. Had her head shaved. Her days are now spent strapped to a crib. There is a 95% chance she will die there. Starved of love, human contact, and food."
Yesterday I discovered that numerous orphanages have been shut down in Ethiopia. They have been shut down because there were unethical practices going on. Children were living in awful conditions. It's rumored that up to 40 orphanages could be shut down in the near future. Here's the deal: these orphanages need to be shut down if the children living there aren't being taken care of or if they are involved in unethical adoptions. But my heart hurts - what happens to all of these children? Most will go into other orphanages, but what happens when they are overflowing and they can't hold any more kids? What does the future look like for Ethiopian adoptions - there are so many unknowns.
Lara urges Christians to take a stand for orphans. She writes:
"224 million Christians in America.
163 million orphans in the world. (UNICEF, 2009)
Now, all 163 million of those children can't be adopted. But they can be sponsored, educated, fed, loved, and given a chance at life.
By millions of us.
My prayer is also that the Spirit would continually convict my heart and yours. When I become complacent and comfortable and life starts looking good. I pray He would wreck it. When I'm ready to turn my head or stop looking beyond my own front door, I pray He would bring me to my knees. "
John and I are passionate about orphan care and adoption - we are in the process of adopting orphans from Ethiopia, we sponsor a 7-year-old girl in Ethiopia, we're hoping our church will host Orphan Sunday in November, but are we really doing enough? I don't think so!
There has to be more that we can do, and like Lara I'm praying that God will speak to my heart and reveal how John and I can help defend the cause of the fatherless even more than we are doing now. After all, it's what God has called us to do!