I read this on another person’s blog today: “And no matter how the craziness of this whole parenting thing all turns out: The reward of loving is in the loving; loving is itself the great outcome of loving. The success of loving is in how we change because we kept on loving – regardless of any thing else changing.” – A Holy Experience by Ann Voskamp. I thought to myself, “How wonderfully succinct and perfect that statement is and how it so neatly dovetails with what I am experiencing on this journey with Daniela together with what we are discussing in church – superheroes.” Yes, we discuss superheroes in our wonderful, nutty and loveable church. If you’re curious how that sounds, check out http://www.hopespringscommunity.org and listen to some of the podcasts.
Basically, we have been discussing how God takes the ordinary man or woman and uses them to stand in the breach, to go to the darkest of places and do the mightiest of deeds. We are called to do deeds that sometimes seem too big for us to accomplish. Most people would not have chosen Moses, a murderer with a speech impediment, to lead the Israelites out of Egypt – but God did and that seemed foolish. Not many would have chosen David, a lustful home-wrecker and adulterer, to lead a nation to greatness – but God in his foolishness did. Why on earth would Jesus rely on a motley crew of twelve bumbling knuckleheads to carry his message of love, peace and salvation to change the world – doesn’t make sense and yet they did just that!
I have to remind myself that God has a perfect plan here for me, Eileen, Peter and Daniela. A series of events has brought this young woman into our lives and the thread of our stories are now interwoven … evermore. I have to remind myself that I am the hands and feet of God, not only with regard to Daniela, but with everyone I come in contact.
Sure, I had certain expectations coming into this hosting. I tempered them somewhat but I still had certain expectations. This journey has not been easy. There have been many highs and lows and it has not gone according to my expectations. In many respects, it has surpassed my expectations in spite of or because of the difficult, dark passages I have traveled with this young girl. I am sure that there will be more valleys to come before this journey is over. But I am not deterred.
I am not called to be a superhero. I am called to love God and love people. I am called to show up and play my part in this story being written on the heart of Daniela. I am called to love her no matter how dark a place she is in. I am called to love her when she is smiling and laughing, when she is angry and hurt, when she is lonely and afraid.
My pastor, Michael, tonight asked if there were any mountains, troubles or issues where I feel I need to be a superhero or in need of one. He knows our ups and downs with Daniela. This situation does not call for a superhero. Daniela does not need a superhero; Daniela needs the unconditional love of a man, a man who is old enough to be her father, so that she will know that someone cares about her no matter what. Daniela needs to experience the love of God. Daniela needs to experience that because she has no frame of reference for that – she does not understand how I, a stranger, can love her when her own family does not love her!
I am no superhero. I am an ordinary man called to do extraordinary work with a young woman. I am called to perform a deed that is more than I alone can do with my feeble powers. But I am not alone! I will show up and God will do His good work with her to heal the brokenness of her spirit and her heart.
I have learned so much from this adventure in faith. I have never really grasped the power of turn-the-other-cheek or how powerful love-your-enemies really is. Love wears down the walls of fear and hate. I have seen first-hand how steadfast love CAN change a person. I have seen how steadfast love can bring light into a dark and broken spirit. I have experienced and witnessed how steadfast love can perform miracles. I think I’ll keep trying this love thy neighbor thing. It’s kind of groovy!
I don’t have to be a superhero … I just have to do my part in God’s story.