For a couple of years now I keep thinking life is surely nearing an exhale. I daydream of taking a breath from the backside of an ebb, and the hard will ease just a little…but still no flow has graced our door in a long, long time. What were once trials and desert-places in years past seem almost run-of-the-mill daily battles now, and as my friend Diana said to me recently, “this- is the new normal.” The hard-pressed, barely catch my breath, bone tired, blessedly grace-full life. The exhale deferred yet again. This morning as another day breaks and with it most-assuredly more desperate ache for peace, I muster strength to open eyes and soul to sing even just a whisper of Gratitude. Thankfulness for all that is bestowed, taken away, and the messy middle of every day. Hour by hour, my new normal.
“We are blessed beyond what we could ever dream
In abundance or in need
And if You never grant us peace
But Jesus, would You please . . .”
Hello My Friends,
I know this family, and think you must as well. Just one year ago the Olsson family was deep in battle to bring their daughter Marra home from Ethiopia. A daughter Rob and I had the privilege of singing Happy Birthday to on Thanksgiving while we were in Ethiopia meeting Lulu. A small band of adoptive parents gathered in a family room at a transition home in Addis Ababa, singing to a child on her first birthday when she should have been home with her family. I don’t imagine I will ever forget that day. We couldn’t have known at the time that just a couple of months later we ourselves would be mired in battle for our girl, and Marra’s mommy Amy would become one of my closest and most-trusted allies in this sisterhood of motherhood to which we belong.
The Olsson’s beautiful Marra did make it home thanks to the tireless pursuit of a family pushed far outside their boundaries of comfort. Amy writes more about their journey here. Many would predict this would be the end of the story- the babe is home, all is well, the end. Who would ever sign up to do this crazy thing called adoption again, after all they went through? But it is not the end of the story when there are somewhere near 150 million orphans in the world, and families willing to run back into the fire out of obedience to the flame placed in their hearts. The Olssons are one such family – and have said “YES” to the hard road, the potential fight, the questions, the comments behind backs, the call to be Jesus to another child. You see, there is a six-year-old Ethiopian beauty who needs a mama like Amy to fight for her, to love freely, to sacrifice for her. And Amy is running toward that child at full-speed because she has first known the Love of a Father who fights for her, loves her without condition and sacrificed the greatest for her. If only the obedient response, and openness of hearts would be all it requires to bring this child home to the Olsson family. But we all know there is red tape and great financial expense ahead, and that is where we come in. Not all of us are called to adopt – it is NOT a perfect solution, nor is it easy, ever. But the Bible talks implicitly to the Church about caring for the orphaned. Caring. How are you choosing to care for those 150 million fatherless today? How am I choosing to care? Caring, is active and progressive and until the day God determines to bring us all Home, we are charged with the task of giving a rip. If adoption is a seed planted somewhere in you, I hope you press into that and pray, pray, pray. If you know for sure it is not, my sincere hope is for you to find some ways to care, by praying, praying, praying. Specifically, I hope you will prayerfully consider caring for the Olsson family and the tiny six-year-old they have fallen in love with by way of a call and a photo. If 400 people donate just $20, their first goal is met in bringing their daughter home. Here is a link to the Olsson’s story, and a facebook event link you can feel free to share: https://www.facebook.com/events/463806930337013/
And here is the direct link to their adoption agency where you can make a tax-deductible donation (PLEASE make sure to put Amy and Sten Olsson adoption in the “purpose” field): http://www.westsandsadoption.org/ws/donate/
Thank you friends for reading, praying, giving and most of all caring. There is something unexplainable about knowing one more child has a family and community praying and loving her home.
In all Gratitude,
For some reason every time I watch this I think of all of Lulu’s friends from the transition home she lived in for her first year of life. The baby rooms at the House of Hope have several cribs lining the perimeter, all filled with a sweet Ethiopian babe. Every time we visited we would find some babies asleep, others vying for the attention of the diligent nannies caring for them, while others (like our girl) would usually be found standing up looking over the rails of the crib watching all the action. At this date, I believe every last one of those babes who shared life, cribs and nannies with Lulu have all gone home to their forever-families, and those cribs are now filled with new little eyes watching for their mama and daddy. So this one goes out to all of Fasi-Lu’s friends – as they bounce into their new lives and families all over the country.