Today I started to feel the end approaching. I was sitting in my office with my eyes closed praying silently. I was praying that god would help me to be his hand and feet. I was praying that God would help me to be aware of the opportunities to be of service. I was praying for all those families whose hearts were breaking because they had to let go of a “stranger” and trust BIG TIME that God really knows what He is doing – knows way better than we can know what the future holds for these families and these kids.
As I was sitting there reading these posts of my friends – my brothers and sisters – strangers to me a mere two months ago I started to get choked up. These kids had such a dramatic impact on the lives of all whom they had touched. They profoundly changed all those moms, dads, brother, sisters, friends, grandparents, aunts and uncles of all those families all across this country. They created this gigantic hemispheric tidal wave of love, caring and hope that united a Hodge-podge group of people that had only one thing in common at the outset of this journey – we were all hosting an orphan through New Horizons For Children. We didn’t know anything about each other. We were scattered from New England to the Great Lakes to the Northwest and California to the Midwest and the South – from the Atlantic to the Pacific, from the Canadian border to the Gulf of Mexico. We came from all walks of life and with all sorts of talents and abilities to become one – One Family. One Big, Beautiful, Loving Family. We are strangers no more. We are forever linked and forever in each others hearts and prayers. All this due to these rag-tag bunch of kids in lime-green neon t-shirts.
So as all of this starting washing over me today I became overwhelmed by this miracle – this tidal wave of love that washed on our shores at the end of June, 2013. These little souls came here to spend time with us “crazy” Americans and hoped to experience something really amazing this summer – and they did. But perhaps unbeknownst to them they have indelibly written on each of our hearts. I know that the thread of Daniela’s story, the thread of God’s story for Daniela, is now interwoven in the fabric of our lives, our story. Her presence here has marked each us and nothing will ever erase that – not time, not distance, not events.
This journey was not a walk in the park by any stretch of the imagination. At times it felt like a walk through Jurassic Park but we kept walking. We slogged through the muck and the darkness and made it through to the sunshine and the smiles. It took a lot of work to trust God and to keep the faith that there was something worthwhile on the other side if we would just have the faith of a mustard seed. We did and it was worth all the struggle. Love won out and fear and pain was vanquished. How do I know? Here’s a small indication: at the early stages D wanted to return to Latvia “right now” and tonight her mood is somber at the thought that this phase of her adventure is drawing to a close. Her bag is packed but she does not want to weigh it. She wants to prolong this miracle for as long as possible. She wants to enjoy this for a few days more.
One of these new family members I spoke of wrote up a blog about learning to love and let go. She wrote:
“You pull in your life and you see that though you felt ripped open —- the net actually didn’t tear.
That there’s grace in your net.
And you actually count them.
You make sure you count the fish. So you don’t have to ask who it is – You know it is the Lord.” I feel the lump in my throat ebbing.
“You count every single grace that He gave through the long dark night, and you see that there are more than 153. Far more than 153. It’s a feast!” …
“You just keep always counting the fish!”
It’s when you count blessings — you see Who can be counted on.
It’s when you count the ways He loves, that your life multiplies joy.
It’s a life that counts blessings — that discovers it’s yielding more than it seems.”
Thank you to Dorah and Ann Voskamp for those words of wisdom.
Today although it felt like my heart was about to break from the strain I was able to reflect for a moment and realize that my net was not breaking. In fact, my net was overflowing with blessings and grace. Overflowing with blessings carried by an unsuspecting young woman from Latvia. I did not have to count them … I knew. there were far more than 153.