I woke up today so incredible depressed and lonely. I had the most despairing ache and longing in my body to go home. I have never been so homesick in my life! I was literally sick over it. I received sweet encouraging emails from close friends and I could not help but be honest that I was not the spiritual giant I was being portrayed as. Yes, I (and Tyler too) had walked this road of faith, but my flesh was creeping in. I had to admit that I was ready to give up. I wrote my friends saying in my flesh I want to tuck my tail between my legs, run as fast as I can home, and leave this place a distant memory. Please hear me that I would never abandon Valentin and Joey! But in my flesh and in my human power I was D-O-N-E! I was at the end of me and all I could do was lay in bed and cry. From 6:00 am until 3:30 pm through tears and weakness, I cried out to the Lord for strength and endurance. If I was going to make it here, if I was going to be able to handle being alone and away from my family, God was going to have to carry me. I poured it all out before Him. I would cry out to Him, read scripture, listed to podcasts, do my bible study, yet the feeling of loneliness would not go away. It remained, and the longer the day went on (and it went very slowly) the worse it got. Was God hearing me? I was trying so hard not to give into it but all I wanted to do was book the next flight out. But I kept praying in faith that God would sustain me, I kept believing His word, I kept praying...what else could I do?
On the way to the orphanage I was still so sick to my stomach and I was choking back tears (I didn't want my driver to think who is this crazy lady). I have been so brokenhearted that I have been unable to really connect with Valentin and the last time I saw him was very discouraging as he seemed to be very uncomfortable and scared around me. Choking back tears I was praying God please show me how to connect with him. When we got to the orphanage I had to use the restroom and I knew it was right by Valentin's room so I was hoping to get a peek into his room. The driver usually makes me wait in the common area for them to bring Valentin out so I had assumed the staff had told him not to let me back in Valentin's room. Well, when I was done my driver (a new driver who speaks some English) was in Valentin's room so I asked if I could go in. He said yes. Now I feel silly for not asking before. The nannies were shocked to see me back there but they smiled and said hello. They were changing Valentin's diaper and I could tell that as soon as they noticed me they became more gentle with him and he stopped moaning. Then the coolest thing happened, Valentin turned to me and smiled at me. This is so rare! I know in all the pictures he is smiling but that is because he loved the camera, he vary rarely smiles just for me. I have to say it again, he smiled at me! I am going to save it for another post but mixed with the joy of seeing my boy happy to see me, I was hit with the reality of his room. I will share more about that in another post.
They put new clothes on him and put him in the stroller. He continued to be excited...this was so wonderful because usually as I sit in the common area I can hear him yelling and crying as they change him and get him ready and in the stroller. We go down the hall and play some. He is excited to see the familiar toys I always bring. Today I brought a surprise...bubbles. I was not sure how he would like them, but you can see for yourself in the video at the bottom of the post!!!
You all know how badly I want to get him out of that darn stroller. I want him to start to see that you don't have to be caged or strapped in, there is a big fun world out there full of experiences and opportunities. I want so badly for him to start making the small steps of freedom and trust so that when we rock his world by taking him out of the crib, in a car, on a train, to an unfamiliar apartment, and on a plane, and too his new home, that he will have built a little trust already so these experiences will not be severely traumatic. They are going to be anyway but I want to teach him now that I am safe. He was in such a good mood I thought 'this is my chance' so I went for it. I unbuckled one side of his harness...no screaming. The other side...no screaming. Pulled his arms out...no screaming.
SUCCESS!!!!!! "You are the God who performs miracles; you display your power among the peoples." Psalm 77:14
He took a few looks around after I put him on the couch and smiled at me. I could see he was liking this new freedom!!! He started throwing his ball against the wall behind him and had me chasing it all over the room. He had me working but I loved it. All I could do was praise God. We had wrestled all day through pain and weeping and then He gives me this...
Don't tell me that is not a miracle!
The nanny came far too early to get him. She begins to put him in the stroller and he starts his yelling. She tries to comfort him which in the past has worked, not today. So I bend down and start rubbing his back and praying over him. I tell him I will be back tomorrow and sure enough, he calms down. I praise you God!
I am so full of joy as we go to see Joey. I go up to his room (which is really a few rooms - entry with lockers and benches, bathroom, play room, bedroom, and school room) and all the kids are finishing up drying their hair after a bath. All of them are excited to see me and I get lots of hugs. These kids are in a much better orphanage but the reality is they are still orphans. My heart rejoices seeing them but also breaks that on a day here soon I will have to leave them behind. That's for another post.
Joey sees me and starts squealing with excitement. We sit down and as usual he is all about the blocks (cubici). He is all over the place trying to get to the backpack I have in my hand so I have to get a little stern and tell him 'no, wait.' He is such a good boy, he calms down and I put my arms out and ask for a hug. He smiles and gives me a big hug. I would linger in that hug all day but I let go quickly so he can have his backpack...but he stays. He squeezes harder and them he gives me a spontaneous kiss on my cheek. Lord, I am so unworthy of this! Tears come pouring out again. The nanny gives him some food I think so I can see how he eats. When he was done he took his dishes, rinsed them off, and put them on the dirty dish tray, all by himself. I pulled out the bubbles to see if he wanted to play and he grabbed me by the hand and took me into the room where his group was so that they all could play too. What a kind heart this precious little boy has!!! Simply amazing! The kids loved the bubbles and it was such a sweet time to hear all of the kids laughing!
Then we went to play with...you guessed it 'cubici'.
Usually I have to ask him to share, he is very territorial of his toys, but today he starts handing them to me and we play together. I asked to connect with the kids today...and He answered.
Jesus said to him,“If you can believe, all things are possible to him who believes.” Mark 9:23
I got back to the apartment completely refreshed by God, with a renewed vigor to complete the work He has laid before us. I am telling you guys HE IS STILL A GOD OF MIRACLES! I am so weak and so frail in my flesh but He answered my prayers in a BIG way. He is not changing my circumstances, I am still here away from my family, but He is changing my heart and the hearts of two precious little boys. I am still homesick, no doubt, but through faith I asked Him to sustain me and to give me strength to endure, and He is. I asked Him to supernaturally place trust in the boys' hearts, and He did. Praise You God!
I am happy to report Tyler made it home safely and the kids we so excited to see him!!! He still hates that he has to leave me here (he is such a great man) but my heart is so happy that he is with the kids.
Can you handle any more of the miraculous today????
Do you remember that before we left I was struggling because my mom was sick and I worried about her emphysema? Also we had just found out that my Grandma was diagnosed with cancer and had to start radiation while we would be gone?
My mom is feeling much better and has been able to have just enough energy to care for the kids. We keep praying for complete healing, but sometimes God has other plans. He has not healed her completely and she has to wear her oxygen most of the time now, but He has sustained her and given her just enough of what she needs. Most of all, He has given her Himself. He has given her the opportunity and the great joy to grow in faith through all of the sickness. I have never met a woman more on fire for the Lord, more in love with Jesus, or more rooted in faith. I would love it if He healed her completely but I would not trade, and neither would she, the great example of faith!
And as for my Grandma...her mass is GONE! She has not even finished treatment and IT IS GONE! They are going to finish treatment and then check her again in a month.
I say it again...miracles!
Some might think I am over sensationalizing everything, and I may have thought that too. But I am telling you I experienced the deepest loneliness I have ever experienced, to the point of being physically ill. I am not joking when I say I was done...I mean I was DONE! I had to put my entire belief system and all my faith on the line and truly trust God. And He proved VERY quickly and once again, He does not leave or forsake us.
"He gives strength to the weary and increases the power of the weak. Even youths grow tired and weary, and young men stumble and fall; but those who hope in the Lord will renew their strength. They will soar on wings like eagles; they will run and not grow weary, they will walk and not be faint." (Isaiah 40:29–31) This passage was almost so familiar to me I forgot just how powerful it was...until today. This means EVERYTHING to me today!
I know some don't believe in miracles anymore and I am not trying to go the other extreme and say everything is all miracles either, but if I had lost my faith that God could do wondrous things I would have lost my hope. And I could not survive here without hope! Maybe you need a little hope today. Let's keep believing God!