ROMANIA: A PERFECT DAY

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.

Photo by Lida Mathews

Photo by Lida Mathews

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.

Photo by Julie Latcham

Photo by Julie Latcham

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.

Photo by Lida Mathews

Photo by Lida Mathews

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!

Photo by Lida Mathews

Photo by Lida Mathews

To support the work of The Archibald Project, please visit their website.

 

ROMANIA: MY HEART

What are you doing to my heart, Lord?

There are no adequate words to describe the depth and rawness of emotion I feel. He has allowed a little girl to open the door of motherhood in my heart. This isn’t something I say lightly, but sincerely.

I’ve never felt this way about a child before. The connection is strong between us and in the moments spent hearing her story, I shared her pain and am now carrying it in my heart.

Photo by Lida Mathews

Photo by Lida Mathews

She has a tough story and has only been in the orphanage for two years. Her fourteen-year-old self has endured much pain and a lifetime of being told she wasn’t enough, through action and words. But in the time we’ve spent together, I’ve been able to speak truth and life over her – it’s just heartbreaking to know it’s probably the first time she’s heard these things.

I’ve tried to put myself in her position and can’t even come close. Our stories have collided through the guidance of the Holy Spirit and I’ve been able to encourage her very specifically, but I still can’t imagine the level of pain and brokenness she’s tucking away inside.

Photo by Lida Mathews

Photo by Lida Mathews

I really do believe I can feel it though. It’s as if God has transferred her pain to me. The depth of my aching heart is unlike anything I’ve ever experienced. I can’t even think about her without tearing up. I want her to know she’s loved. I want her to understand how beautiful and valuable she is. I want her to understand that she’s worth loving.

And while I have told her all of these things, I want her to “get it.” I see such great potential in her sweet, gentle spirit. I see the ability in her to ignite change and leave an imprint on the world. I believe she can impact the hearts and lives of many like she has mine.

Photo by Lida Mathews

Photo by Lida Mathews

Here’s the problem, though.  I don’t know why the Lord is allowing me to feel so deeply about her, knowing I can’t bring her home or be with her daily. I can stay in contact with her and continue to love on her through my words, but to know I can’t give her a mama hug and tell her everything’s going to be alright, just about kills me. To have my heart broken and deeply aching yet know I can’t act upon these emotions seems like an impossible place to be.

However, I know God can make the impossible, possible. I know He’s working and stirring something major within me. I know my words to her can still be a powerful tool. But this new, raw mother’s heart for her is having a hard time facing this reality.  It’s probably not going to be pretty when it’s time for me to leave here, but I know this isn’t a goodbye or the end to this story. I truly believe it’s a “see you later.”

Photo by Chelsey Scott

Photo by Chelsey Scott

So Lord, do what You wish with my heart, but please promise me she’ll always get to live in it.

 

To support the work of The Archibald Project, please visit their website.