I remember sitting in our apartment in India about this time last year, crying and sharing the desires of my heart with Ricky. We were in the midst of making the gut-wrenching decision to return to the USA so we were sorting through our deepest thoughts, longings, passions, etc. During this discussion, he asked me this question: “what would a perfect day look like to you?” As I thought about it, I said, “I want to sit with women from hard places and make their value known. I want them to know and understand their identity and worth. I want to hold them in my arms and let them know it’s all going to be alright.”
But that never happened while we were there.
Before I left for Romania, people kept asking me what I was most excited about and I never had an answer. I’d just say, “I don’t know. I don’t know what to expect.” And I’m so glad that was my position because it allowed me to keep an open heart and mind. What God did in my heart through this trip far surpassed any hopes or expectations I could have dreamed up.
He used the people around me to confirm my calling, inspire me, and force me to dream bigger. He used the kids to show me the need of the Gospel and His love in the life of every person. He allowed my interactions with them to be nothing less than Holy. He built my confidence to lead, to inspire, to help.
But most of all, the words I spoke a year ago came true on this trip.
It wasn’t a woman from a brothel in India; instead, it was teenage girls living in orphanages in Romania. I held them in my arms, I spoke words of truth and life over them, I was a shoulder for them to rest their head - and it has brought more joy to my heart than any other experience ever has.
These kids long to have their parents or a family of some kind and face an array of difficulties growing up as orphans. They don’t have stability, guidance, or experience love. They are often shunned and not given equal opportunities. They have few people cheering them on to succeed. They have been abandoned for a multitude of reasons. Their parents have died, have moved to other countries for work, are in prison, or simply walked away. I don’t know all the reasons nor understand them, but I do know this: these children are worth loving. And, they’re longing to be loved, to be seen, to be heard.
I’m learning firsthand the power of speaking truth over others. These children need to be told how amazing they are, the potential they possess, and know that someone believes in them. We can’t adopt them, but we can support them – and that’s orphan care too.
This is something we all can do. We can all love the orphan, the widow, and the oppressed that live among us and around the world. With our support, they can overcome the odds so let’s reach out, encourage, and love deeply!
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