Tuesday, November 29, 2011
A time to ponder
I just had the most amazing few moments a little while ago. I was needing to purge some of our receipts from several years ago, and as shredding them takes forever, I usually don't find time to do it often. As my three littles were taking a break from schooling, playing in the family room, I commenced to shred as many receipts as I could in their short break from doing school work.
Curious to know which dates of receipts I was shredding, I quickly glanced at the date at the bottom half of one and discovered it was from a Marsh grocery store dated March 21, 2005. Wow, that brought back such strong memories!
That particular month, as well as the entire year of 2005, was such a momentous time in our lives. Our oldest son (and only child at that time) Ted was just finishing up his high school career in the spring of 2005, edging closer and closer to heading off to college. That year from the previous December on was spent readying him to fly, so to speak, off into his young adult life.
It was a year of letting go of Ted for his dad and me, going through all sorts of rituals to accomplish this bittersweet task which included attending the senior nights of each of his activities - choir, band, cross country, swimming, honor nights, and on and on. Ted enjoyed his high school years and participated in so many activities, and with each one that ended, there was always a night or time to honor the seniors who were moving on.
Kevin and I would arrive at each senior night event and shed a few private tears in our car before heading into the school. Then we would put on our happy parent faces and march in to see our only child recognized in some way along with the other seniors. Oh, the tears we shed as we let go little by little! Oh, the memories that were made. Such a precious time!
But March of 2005 was an especially exciting time for us. Kevin and I took Ted to New York City during spring break for a graduation present. In fact, we flew out of Indy on March 28th of that year. Ted loved NYC and had already been twice before, once when we toured during the summer after 9/11 and once when he and his dad spent a week serving in a men's homeless shelter in the heart of the city the summer before his senior year. Both times had left deep impressions on us all.
Seeing Ground Zero and taking in the devastation 9/11 had wrought upon the city first hand forever broke our hearts at innocence lost. Our little family of three had traveled to NYC the summer after 9/11 to in some small way do our part to show support to all of the residents. We will never forget that visit and what it meant to us.
Then the summer before Ted's senior year, Kevin and Ted served at the Bowery Mission - a homeless shelter for men in the heart of the city. This trip left Kevin's heart forever committed to following Christ. Somehow seeing men healed and following Christ after seeing how they once had been, for each person who worked at the Bowery Mission every day had once been homeless and in desperate need somehow but now had had their lives turned around in the saving grace of Jesus - seeing that transformation first hand helped Kevin realize just how miraculous a life could become after giving it over to Christ.
Kevin, who always knew of Christ but had never really committed his life fully to him, committed his life totally to Jesus in NYC during that misison trip. And that has made all the difference to him and to us. More on that in a few minutes!
So going back again to New York City was a sentimental journey for us all, and boy did we enjoy our visit in the spring of 2005 at the end of March. It was a grand way to send off our only child into the world! Little did we know God was setting things in motion we had never ever fathomed. Little did we know that we didn't have an only child. We just thought we did! For in that month of that year our little Philip Bao was born on a cold spring morning on March 19th in a little village in China - half way around the world. We did not know then what we know now! Since that time in the spring of 2005, we have been blessed to bring home not one, not two, but three beyond precious children from China.
Not only was our Philip just a babe that March of that receipt I happened upon this morning, but also our Sophia was about a year and a half old living with her Chinese mommy and daddy and going about daily life without a clue of things to come. And our Elijah wasn't even a gleam in his China parents' eyes yet.
We came back from that trip, graduated Ted, sent him to college the next fall, and then our world changed! At first Kevin and I just went through the days missing Ted so very much, but God soon used that longing for more childhood memories to take us on an amazing journey. Looking at the receipt today stirred intense memories of what had been and what was to come.
In December of 2005 God stirred our hearts to believe that he meant to give us another child. As 2006 came, he definitely led us into a journey to bring home a child from China. When we received the referral information on Philip and saw that his birth date was March 19, 2005, we counted back to what might have been his conception. Do you know what we found?
We found that this wonderful treasure from the east was probably conceived around the time that Kevin gave his heart to Christ at the men's homeless shelter in the middle of New York City! Oh how God works out the details of our lives when we follow him.
With all of the excitement of the last three year's worth of adoption journey memories and how very much our lives have changed course, I don't take time often enough to remember the wonder of the beginning of this journey we have experienced. Today, looking at those receipts from a time in our lives when WE HAD NO IDEA of the blessings to come, it just made me stop and remember the beginning. What one little piece of paper can do!
And I am left with this thought as well whenever I remember that time in our lives back in 2005 - just as we were letting go of Ted so he could fly, a Chinese mommy, whom we will always love so dearly for choosing life, was letting go of her little son so he could fly. That child was our Philip who was the beginning of our journey into the miraculous world of adoption.
Our Father in Heaven, we can never thank you for the miracles of all of our children. For the rest of our lives, we will give thanks.
Now to him who is able to do immeasurably more than all we ask or imagine, according to his power that is at work within us, to him be glory in the church and in Christ Jesus throughout all generations, for ever and ever! Amen.