This year's Fourth of July festivites looked WAY different from last years. Particularly the fireworks. P and L were so scared of them last year that they nearly choked me to death and cried and screamed through them. They sounded like gunshots to them and from the place they'd been living just weeks before, that was a very real threat in their young lives. This year they layed on a blanket with cousins and laughed and pointed. They did eventually work their way onto Daddy's lap. But they were tired, not scared. It is amazing the change a little security can bring. I enjoyed the fireworks watching my children's faces light up underneath their glow and with my oxygen levels normal from no choke hold:) I enjoyed P and L seeking comfort from their Daddy instead of sitting in terror and having no way to cope. Our God amazes me.
Last night I sat and watched the movie Precious by myself. Trevor is at church camp with our two oldest and all the littles were in bed early from a long day. The movie is disturbing. The language is very strong and made me cringe. The acting is superb and the story....real....very real. It happens people. Precious' life happens everyday in America to children. Children. If you haven't seen it and won't, it is the story of a young 16 year old girl who has two children as a conseguence of rape from her father. Her mother is completely abusive to her and beats her spirit down every chance she gets and her body too. But a teacher offers her support and encouragement and it changes her path. It is heartbreaking.
What does this have to do with the observation of P and L on the 4th of July? Well, I just can barely think of where they would be right now if they weren't here. I think often when I see them swimming and smiling of hiking in the woods or hugging their daddy that they would never have done any of this....these opportunities, this love and affection, this safety and security....it just would not be a part of their life. And I think this not to say they have all of this because of us....not at all...but I know that this all God's doing and we were just obedient. We are not great or special or holier than thou...but in this instance, for these kids...we were obedient to God's calling on our life. I am forever thankful for that.
My point is that it is amazing the difference you can make in someone's life when you reach out with the hope of Jesus. When you reach out and love someone that no one else is loving. When you step outside of your comfort zone and invest in the life of someone you may not have otherwise known but for your love of Jesus and His love for them. In the movie, it was a teacher at an alternative school that just believed in her, took an interest, invested her time and her emotions into this girl that the world ignored. The teacher didn't see a statistic or a lost cause, she saw a life she could impact and a girl that had worth and deserved love and respect.
Precious was written by an author and made into a screenplay but God designed our family's story, bringing us two children that would have never known a positive male role model and now they have the best daddy ever with an unquestionable integrity. He brought them an entire family that believes in them and encourages them and loves them and teaches them about Jesus and where our self worth truly lies...not in the fact that we are pretty or can keep a man or the fact that we are strong and tough...but we are worth the price Jesus paid for us. They are with a family that can teach them how much Jesus loves them and love them no matter what. God brought them to us and has grown us and taught us and we are forever blessed because these two amazing children took a chance on all of us. Because despite how broken their lives began, they had the courage to trust again and they reached out to us and impacted our lives.
Life is about relationship. It is about investing in the lives of those around us....the easy to love and the not so easy, the good looking and the not, the rich and the poor....the healthy and the sick. You don't have to adopt or teach or go on a mission trip. Maybe it's your child's friend that just kind of lingers around you a little longer than most seeking the praise of a parent figure. Maybe it's the young mother that comes into the place you work and looks a bit frazzled. What would she do if you say, I don't know how you do it by yourself. Let me bring you a meal this week. What would the world look like if we did that? Maybe it's the child you coach or the older couple that lives next door and would enjoy a little afternoon visit from you and ask them how their children are doing or how they are feeling. All it takes is a simple reaching out. Trust me, your life will be more blessed than those you feel you are 'helping.' It takes very little to invest in the life of another and share God's grace and love with them. It costs us way less than it costs HIM.