We have all experienced hardships in our lives, but have you ever thought about how those hardships affect the way you see God? Our hearts have all been wounded and have led to us all having an orphan heart. You may have both parents and may have even grown up in a house of tremendous love, yet you still have an orphan heart. Before becoming parents to two Sudanese, we wondered how our family would fully relate to orphans who had lost everything they love and know. We shower our kids with love daily. How are we supposed to understand what the children in our care are going through? Is it even possible?
Then, we learned about what it means to have an orphan heart: feelings of loneliness, despair, worthlessness, sadness, mistrust, a need to hide, hyper-sensitivity, greed, manipulation, anger, independency, and many others. Have you ever felt any of those things? Through this, we learned the secret of how our “blessed” lives can relate to others with “tough” lives . . . the Gospel of Jesus Christ.
We are all on a journey. We all need to identify where we need God the most in our lives. We all need God to heal our broken hearts. We cannot think of any better people to walk the path to freedom in Jesus than with the fatherless children from Sudan and Ethiopia.
The answer for them is, and always will be, Jesus. No amount of giving or doing will provide children with what they need. If it were only about providing for their physical needs, then it would make more sense to let the humanitarian groups come in and feed and clothe them. We have to build real, lasting relationships, and that will not happen overnight. God has not called us to come and give. He has called us to come and love, and love, and love some more. If we build the foundation of our relationship with people on giving, then once we no longer have something to give, the relationship will end. Instead, we desire to build our relationships on a source of love and mercy that will not stop flowing. Christ’s love will never go away and will, therefore, be the basis of all our relationships.
Our hearts are constantly challenged to live out the gospel in ways we have never before imagined. Can it be that the way we greet someone will impact their view of Jesus Christ? Is it possible for us to have a marriage that reflects the glory of God to everyone who is around us? Will we ever grasp the way African's view the world? The answer is yes! Will it be easy for us to accomplish all of this? No. It is a journey that we are walking as a family and with all of you!
Our children are on this journey as our co-ministers. If we leave our kids out of our ministry, we leave a huge part of our hearts out of our work. Therefore, our kids are with us every day as we learn. Our kids are learning that we build these relationships so that we can show the Father’s love to the fatherless.
Everything we do should be to bring glory to the Father. Not us. Not a particular ministry. None of this is about us. Only God, in His fabulous glory and grace, can accomplish the goals set before us.
It’s a journey, not a race!