At the table

It was my third night with the girls.

Lauren and I had been spending time planning and working and sharing together in the intern room and we started to wonder if dinner had already begun.

We left our room and ventured out to see that the food was just beginning to be served. We were just in time.

I watched as the nannies grabbed plates and bowls and the table had been set and prepared which made my heart happy.

As we ate together and shared I couldn’t help but reflect over all the meals I had shared with these little ones during our last three years of relationship… all the different tables I had sat at with them, all the rooms and places and chairs and forks.

I watched as some still were so tempted to shove their hands in their food, while others carefully grabbed their knife and fork and had finally developed habits I spent countless battles trying to enforce.

When we finished the girls began to clear the table and prepare to start devotions before they went off to bed.

They lingered for a while before starting and I could see the sleep on all their faces as their bedtime continued to get away from them.

Finally, the stirring began to still and the girls were finally beginning to gather around the table to share and read and pray and sing.

First the music began through our little speaker and instantly an environment I don’t think any of us anticipated began to unleash over our time together.

It was as if 30 seconds into the song, the girls were already being inspired in worship and song and dance.

Some stood immediately, moving their arms, closing their eyes, allowing themselves to be captivated in the moment with their Father.

Others laid their head on the table, bringing their hands together, uttering whispers only He could hear.

I closed my eyes but could still see these girls in their moments of worship and was inspired in my own time as well, crying out and believing the Lord for more…

More peace, more clarity, more joy, more hope.

Earlier that day we had received a new girl.

She had come to us under interesting circumstances, and there was such a willingness about her as she entered into this place with us.

During dinner she had left the table, unable to hardly take a bite and fled to the bedroom.

Lauren followed her shortly after and found her crying in the bedroom.

When Lauren began to come close to her and offer comfort and conversation,

The new one told her that she had never experienced such a place as this…

Of safety, of family, of love.

It struck Lauren and I because just hours earlier we were sharing our frustrations and difficulties that had interrupted our day.

And to hear this girl who had only entered in maybe two hours prior tell us that she knew their was love here showed us that God is so much greater than our complaints.

She was so open, she was in awe.

You could see the difficulty all over her face as it was so hard to receive even a meal and feel like it was something she deserved.

And during that time of devotions, as she sat next to me and I leaned into her,

Tears began to flood from her brown eyes.

And the look on her face was all too familiar to me:

she was overwhelmed as I had been so many times before.

The moments where you are unable to identify what emotions are stirring, but yet they are so strong, so powerful, so real.

And I just kept offering my glances…

I wanted her to know I was there. 

But I also let her be.

I wanted her to feel.

I wanted her to take it in, take Him in…

His presence, His fatherhood, His love and truth.

And then I began to look across from me.

And I saw another with a wet face and hands that continued to wipe and leave marks from the tears that she was trying to keep away.

I watched her choke out lyrics that clearly meant so much to her…

Her God telling her that He will never leave her, that she is safe with Him, that He is her covering and she will not be moved.

And I found her gaze as well.

And I reached out my arm and held her hand, leaning into the side of the table, about ready to crawl over to her and hold her so close.

But it was the Lord that was so near to her in that moment.

She didn’t need me, she didn’t even need my hand.

But I wanted it.

And I got to love her as He told her the truth about herself, the truth about Himself.

And as I found myself in the midst of these two tearful little humans I began to wonder…

How did I get to this table?

How is it that I am one that gets to be part of this place?

Am I really here, have I already entered back in?

It’s this privilege God continues to give me…

And it really has nothing to do with myself.

But He lets me see them… He lets me see them deeply.

And He gives me these pieces of His heart for them.

And just like those girls that were at my side that night… I am overwhelmed.

I am wrecked. I am honored. I am in awe.

Because it’s these episodes of beauty that make me feel like I’ve found myself in a feature film… Because it just feels that significant.

And as I continued to look around the room and I see girls dancing in unison, and singing out His word, and praying for one another, and actually joining together in a way that looked like a sisterhood, a community, a family… I knew that it was the Lord… It couldn’t be anyone else but Him releasing this over all of us for such a time as this on that one night.

And we just kept putting on song after song… No one could put a stop to what He was up to… Not even my time sensitive, American self.

I could have been at that table all night, I could have held their hands and wiped their tears and watched their expressions for hours on end.

And when we finally began to wind down,

And we cried out our last song to Him…

God began to speak to me and show me that no matter what changes in my relationships with these girls.

There will always be a place for me.

And it’s going to look different, as I enter into different seasons and life continues to change and grow and progress for me.

And it might not be at this same table.

And it might not be the same worship time or meal or even stay.

But we are in this together, in this process, in this restoration, in this beautiful story that continues to unfold.

And I rested in the reality that in whatever way He allows for me to be part of it all, I will rejoice to receive whatever He is willing to offer.