I often think about what all it took for my parents to go to Romania - what courage it took and what strength they had. I mean... come on, flying into a war torn post Communist country, being greeted by men carrying World War II machine guns, knowing nobody and not speaking the language all while having no idea how long you would be staying there ... in and of itself has to be intimidating - not to mention being presented with a deathly sick infant and a 26 month old who couldn't walk, talk, or chew. The prospects they were faced with would be enough to intimidate the majority of people, my adult self included.
But by God's grace they did all of it. Our lives were immediately and forever changed for the better (redeemed) because they chose to make us their own (adopted).
That hard reality though … was just the beginning of a journey. While most days I think about the courage and faith it took to start the journey, today I think about the courage and strength it takes for my parents to continue it.
So far, I haven't written much about my brother. He was in the orphanage setting for over two years. Experiencing extreme neglect in that time of depravation, he endured indescribable conditions that led to lifelong disability.
When my parents brought him home to America, doctors told them he would never be able to walk or talk. After years of my parents pouring themselves into him, this prediction ended up not being true. My mom used to tell me a story about the moment my brother said his first words at four years old. She walked into a room, and for the first time he said: "Hi Momma". The way she describes it she could have been knocked over with a feather she was in such shock. In some small way, his world had been unlocked.
As the years went on, my brother was able to walk, run, and swim. He was able to talk, spell, and do simple math. Today, he works with horses. He has grown and become more than doctors ever thought possible. His life is a miracle.
But the road was and continues to be hard. Each season brings it's own challenges, heartaches, and small victories. His life will always be marked by the brokenness he was saved from.
I think about the way my parents love him and the effect that love has on him. It's a faithful, unending love that brings strength to my brother's life.
Give thanks to the Lord, for He is good! His faithful love endures forever. (Psalm 118:29)
As believers, each of our lives were immediately and forever changed when we were adopted and redeemed into God's family. We were rescued from a state of brokenness, of weakness, of hopeless...and given life, strength and hope that comes from belonging to Christ. Our lives are a walking miracle.
But the road was and continues to be hard. As much as it is true for my brother, it is true for all of us. We have been adopted and redeemed, and our lives are transformed immediately and forever because of that. But the fact remains, we live in a broken world. While we might know and experience all the good that comes with being a child of God, our lives are also marked by the brokenness of a fallen world. We experience pain and weakness, brokenness and loss. We carry scars of our past lives.
And yet we aren't alone. Our Father's love is faithful and unending and brings strength to our lives.
In the moments when we are weak, we can find strength in the knowledge that He is always there for us. In the good and the bad times - He is there. He is our pillar of strength.
In the moments when we lose sight of all that we were created to be, He speaks truth into our lives. In the good and bad times - He sees the "us" that we were meant to be. He is our voice of truth.
In the moments when we struggle with scars from the past, we can find hope and peace in knowing He stands with us - walking beside us step by step, day by day.
The strength we have in Christ isn't just because He died on a cross and rose again two thousand years ago. His death on the cross, our salvation, redemption, and adoption were just the start of the journey. We find strength in Him, in our day to day lives because we know and experience His faithful and unending love that He continues to pour into our lives. He's in this for the rest of our lives. Always loving, always forgiving, always restoring, and always redeeming.
And when we think about that, there's great hope to be found.
So keep walking in the strength of that hope as you continue this journey, friend.
"I love you Lord; you are my strength."