It was a quiet and simple day at home… it won’t be long until you are here, too. Soon, darling, soon.
Your sister is singing herself to sleep in the room right next door. We’ve had a busy day of enjoying tea parties with her ‘lemon-lem’ (lemon flavored seltzer water) and sharing fruit snacks… we’ve also watched a few too many episodes of Daniel Tiger’s Neighborhood, but when you’re recovering from a stomach virus, sometimes you need to veg on the couch. That’s a life lesson your mama will teach you.
We’ve had a rough few weeks of colds, stomach viruses, and I-can’t-wait-till-Spring ailments. You’re never far from my mind when your sister is sick. I know what it’s like in an orphanage when sickness is spreading and there aren’t enough arms to hold and hands to comfort… I ache to be there for you, and I pray you haven’t been sick very often this winter… it hurts my heart to think of you not getting a mama’s arms wrapped around you when your forehead is clammy with fever or your stomach is heaving. Soon, darling, soon.
It’s Chinese New Year’s Eve over here tonight… I had messages from Chinese friends wishing me Xin Nian Kuai Le in the early afternoon, just as the party was at its height on your side of the ocean. We’re planning to make jiaozi and baozi this weekend. I’m sure you fell asleep to the sound of firecrackers last night... we won’t have any of those here this time of year, but I can’t wait to take you to see the fireworks after the summertime baseball games at the stadium down the road! Chinese New Year is such an important holiday in your homeland… it’s all about family, but it sank in today that even though this is your second New Year, you’ve likely never experienced it for what it should be. Because as a child growing up in an orphanage, it’s as if you are part of a separate culture… orphan culture. One where every day looks the same and nothing extraordinary marks the changing of the seasons. It’s a holiday all about family, and this is the last time you’ll celebrate it without one. Soon, darling, soon.
We had lunch with some friends yesterday. Between bites of her salad, my friend looked me straight in the eyes and cut straight to my heart. “I have a word for you, Carrie,” she said. “Don’t let your fear steal your joy.” I confess that I have been guilty of succumbing to joy-stealing-fear for the last few months.. really since I've known who you were. (Please know it has nothing to do with YOU... it's just before I had a face, it was easy to not think too much about these sorts of things.) Whether it’s about how you and your sister will get along or how you will sleep or if you’ll be able to find any comfort in me or… I could go on and on, but it doesn’t matter. The truth is, I’ve let myself wander too deeply into those fearful waters on more than one occasion. But the answer to it lies in your very name, Alea Hope. Rising Hope. HOPE.
A few weeks ago at church, we said a corporate prayer of confession, and the lines rang truer than my soul could bear. “Oh Holy One… Sometimes fear makes us small, and we miss the chance to speak from your strength. Sometimes doubt invades our hopefulness, and we degrade your wisdom… Help us to see you in the moment-by-moment possibilities to live honestly, to act courageously, and to speak from your wisdom.” I have pondered those words these last two weeks, and I’m reminded that HOPE is a powerful thing. It’s a thing with feathers, as Dickenson said. And when we hold onto hope, our souls take flight. Hope can’t help but rise. And so now when doubt and fear sink into my heart, I turn my face towards Him. I am weak, but He is strong. His strength is made perfect in my weakness. His yoke is easy and His burden is light. He will bring this good work to completion. The words come easy when my face is turned up towards Him, and the Truth in each one is like a helium balloon to my heart. It lifts and inspires and encourages and lets joy and anticipation take its rightful place. Hope Rises.
Soon, darling, soon, I will be your mama and we will begin a journey that will take us both places we cannot imagine. You will be terrified and so will I. We both bring our woundings and our stories and our histories in our baggage as we start out on this new path together, but the beauty in this journey is that we aren’t responsible for carrying all of that. We have a Father who does that for us, and as He shoulders our burdens, every single day He is faithful to give us the wisdom and the grace and the tender mercy to get through the trials of that day. He is manna. (That's another life lesson your mama will teach you.) None among us are untouched by evil, and though it breaks my heart that tragedy rocked your world at the tender age of 10 days old, I have no doubt that His hand is already working for redemption and restoration and fulfillment of destiny in your life, and I know somehow He will use me in that plan. And while I can’t imagine what it might look like yet, I have no doubt that He will use you as an instrument of redemption and restoration and fulfillment of destiny in my own life, just as he is using your big sister. He is the one who makes our paths straight; we need only keep our eyes on Him. “Holy God, in the daily round from sunrise to sunset, remind us again of your holy presence hovering near us and in us.”
Soon, darling, soon, our journey together begins. And when it does, His presence will be thick and hovering and covering each of us and all of our fears and inadequacies.
Soon, darling, soon, our journey together begins. And my heart soars at the very thought of it.
O Holy One, we call to you and name you as eternal, ever-present, and boundless in love. Yet there are times, O God, when we fail to recognize you in the dailyness of our lives. Sometimes shame clenches tightly around our hearts, and we hide our true feelings. Sometimes fear makes us small, and we miss the chance to speak from your strength. Sometimes doubt invades our hopefulness, and we degrade your wisdom.
Holy God, in the daily round from sunrise to sunset, remind us again of your holy presence hovering near us and in us. Free us from shame and self-doubt. Help us to see you in the moment-by-moment possibilities to live honestly, to act courageously, and to speak from your wisdom.