Friday, November 22, 2013

Finally…Home for Christmas

Playroom #1 of Casa de la Abuelita

We have white Christmas lights and wire and plastic garland twisted around our handrail on the stairs. I have been listening to Christmas music since August. I have longed for this Christmas for over a decade. Perhaps for even longer.

I remember our first Christmas together in a one-bedroom apartment… in an attic of a run-down cape cod style in Anderson, Indiana. We had a tree we bought at Walmart for $14.99. We only had few ornaments and the furniture was scarce. We were college students and life was new, fresh, simple, and full of endless possibilities.

Over the years we edged farther and farther away from that moment… and a large, secret part of my soul mourned it. There was something deeply real about those days. They felt risky and we felt alive. I remember looking back and thinking that those days were the best of our lives. That was how to live. Those simple days of bleakness, and the reality of the two of us, alone, and left to our imagination in a small wooden house.

How is it that we lose sight of what made us feel alive as we go about the business of living? I lost Christmas years ago among the rush of a career in retail management. All the nastiness of the holiday was grinching my heart beyond the 3x shrink. And… the rest of the days of the year just somehow lost their spirit in a downhill crash.

I type in the darkness. The decorations are once again sparse and furniture minimal. Our future echoes with the familiarity of times without limit and also seems ready to swallow us whole. Again we find each other… now with 3 children that represent the absolute best of us… this is our family. 

Like our early days, there are moments that push us beyond our limits. Full days that turn into weeks where things just look impossible… and then there are those tiny moments where the light breaks through and we are ready to sing in the morning sun in the empty town hall of Whoville as we finally realize that all that we need is found outside of ourselves and our circumstance.

We sit here in the silence, contemplating the path of the last 18 years and we are amazed to find that we posses the desires of our hearts. We once dreamed of adopting children… and we once imagined the impossible idea of running an orphanage.

We are busy my friends. The days are tough. Sometimes to such a degree that I am paralyzed into nothingness. The barriers are from everywhere at once sometimes. It is easy to see the beautiful photos we post and not grasp that those are moments of release and healing after warfare. There are days that leave us in a heap and not even sleep is a solace.

And the joy… it is immeasurable. Knowing that we do something that is bigger than ourselves causes us to be willing to lose everything a thousand times. I want to run until I collapse with nothing left to give and fall on the grace of God to refill my emptiness. After all, the sweetest memories are somehow from those times of near nothingness. We make sweet memories now.

Don't forget us friends. Don't think we are fine without our family. We need you. Your prayers. Your email. Your calls. Your pledged support. If we run out of money… don't expect us to run home. We are here to stay. God has called us here. These past 5 months have solidified, verified, and confirmed that calling. 

At the end of the day, whether I sit in a heap or I fall into bed with laughter, I know that it is no longer about success or failure. I am happy to fail here. There is enough to be done even in failure that the effort, the heart, the pursuit, the following, the calling is worth it all. God is doing amazing things.

I see a church rising from nothing, as Guatemalans and missionaries raise hands in worship together. I see a youth group that can surge to over 100 students. I see a young adult group forming, we bear witness to students in the two schools we volunteer at giving their lives to the call that echoes from centuries… "follow me."

We sit in a big empty property with huge vision and unlimited potential… with pockets as void as the rooms. Even so we can nearly hear the chaotic sounds of 30 babies echoing off these now unpainted walls. There is paint to be purchased, a van to be purchased, beds to be assembled, attorneys to be paid… all while there are months when our income is less than our expenditure… and still we know it will happen. We know because God birthed this vision in the hearts and minds of two college kids 20 years ago.

Our challenge to you… is a simple invitation. Be a part. Don't let this pass you by. God will continue to be our provision. Please don't miss out. We dare you to step into this time with us. Do you remember a time when your life was simple? When things were truly scarce and you just had the embrace of each other?

Help us to give that simple embrace to a child. We hold them daily. We feel the painful tear away of a 3 year old embrace as we set them back on the dirt and walk away… walk away. Please don't walk away. Find a place where you can give. If you don't have a place… give here.

We are here. We are ready. The resources are at our fingertips and we are locked in for the long haul. True and undefiled religion is here. It is here. Christmas is coming, and you will find me with a heart 3x overflowing, singing at the top of my lungs as we bask in the simple clarity of coming 20 years and 2000 miles to find ourselves once again home for Christmas.
This room alone will sleep 10 abandoned babies, while they await adoption.

Come and give a bottle to a small life here, in the sunlight or at a toasty fire.

A large yard to play in, with 15 varieties of flowers.

Home for Christmas at Casa de la Abuelita (Mammaw's House)
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