Community Growth

One week left. One week until she is in my arms again.

These last days are filled with the last minute details and to-do lists that get longer the faster you go. I know I won’t get everything crossed off at this point, so I’m trying to prioritize.

I’m also trying to remember to breathe and reflect.IMG_0821

In the stress of getting ready, fundraising, and trying to stretch too few dollars across too many needs, I can have a tendency to get tunnel vision—I look to the tasks and forget to sit back and marvel. Luckily, the One who knows me better than I know myself cares for me and turns my head to really look at the things around me.

So today, I want to look.

A year ago, I was the only person I knew in real life who was hosting. I was the only one who had even heard of it. It was lonely, but I was not alone. Soon, I had many friends online, just as passionate as I was.

P1020312But it didn’t stop there. I longed to have a friend here with me, in person. And Stephanie came. And friends became family, and we loved a little boy together. And the bittersweet of life was tasted together, and my heart was heard. And the One who hears our innermost desires gave us each someone to whisper them aloud to—the impossible things, the improbable things, the insufferable things.

P1030487

Christmas Host Families

But it didn’t stop there either. I had tasted something good, and the richness of loving through hurt. So I prayed that more would come. I prayed that three people would host in my town for Christmas. I prayed that the global would touch local hearts. And there were three. Unexpectedly, I was one of those three, and my Sunshine brought with her the thing my life had been missing. But apparently I hadn’t asked for enough, because two additional families poured out love on a chaperone, who has since become a dear friend.

So now I was determined to keep asking. I went bigger, and I prayed for five in my church this summer.   And so they will come. Four children, and our sweet chaperone. So many families loving in the hard places.

And still more. Last Saturday, I lead a training for hosting families in our region. Nineteen people attended. Ten families committed to loving orphans. And as I looked into their eyes, and told of the things I have learned, I couldn’t help but think: one year. Only one year. In a year, this has grown tenfold and more. How does that happen?

This thing, it has never been within my own strength. Never. With every passing day, I see more clearly my own weaknesses. My own limitations. This is not of me.

And still there is the temptation to get swallowed in the fear. Fear of the future, fear of the details, fear of the checkbook balance, fear of so many unknowns.

Breathe. Just breathe. You are not in charge.

And I open Facebook, and I look at our last fundraiser—an online auction—and I see generosity poured out. While we are offering lots of fantastic goodies, we also asked people to bid on items for our kiddos—each child needs a duffle bag, a swimsuit, and sandals—and we offered the opportunity to bid to fund our purchases. That’s twelve things. Twelve items that net you nothing if you bid on them. Twelve items that are for someone else.

Five of those items already have bids on them. Five people who have already supported us in a multitude of ways, once again showing love in a tangible way.

All in a year.DSC_1896

Faithfulness and mercy and love and grace, all made tangible.

And with that, the to-do list looks like a place to practice grace, the checkbook balance looks like an opportunity to grow in faith, and the tasks undone look like ways to see mercy anew.

And in just a week, I get to love in the flesh. I get to look with my own eyes, and hear that sassy voice with my own ears, and laugh and cry and just drink in the moments of this family I have been given.

And in my soul, there is rest and peace.

And anticipation for the more that I know will come.

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