Moms do a lot of hard things, that’s for sure. The holidays can be some of the hardest seasons as a mom, as we balance responsibilities and commitments and finances and…
So, in the midst of the holiday crazyness, have you ever thought about adding an orphan or two for the month? I haven’t, but I have two wonderful friends in Virginia who have thought about this…and are actually doing it this Christmas.
Yesterday, one of those friends, Jill Fowler (who wrote the November “meals” post for this blog) and her family of five brought not one, not two, but three Ukrainian boys into their family for three weeks. The Fowlers have saved money, raised money and prayed for months, working toward this unique adventure.
Just before leaving for the airport, Jill sent out an email asking for prayer for their family as they launch into this huge endeavor. Her mother, Helen Branson, responded to the group e-mail, and, with Jill’s permission, I want share what Jill’s mom wrote:
“I will be in continued prayer for all of you and our three Russian boys. I think it will all work and everyone will have a good time. There will be moments that will be frustrating and confusing. But, all in all, with God all things are possible and, if He is in it, how can we lose? I will pray especially for my daughter, Jill, as she will be doing lots of cooking. I will try to help you out with this Jill and will try to make some meals and bring them over or cook them at your house. I think there will be lots of laughter, at least on our parts. God bless you, my dear one. Only what is done for Christ will last….”
Simply put, Helen said to her daughter: This is hard, but I am with you and God is doing eternal work through you.
Reading this brought tears to my eyes and a lump to my throat, because this little email declares three amazing thoughts that every mother – biological or spiritual – should declare and every daughter should hear as she serves God in whatever way she’s been called. These three things are:
1. What you are doing for the Lord is challenging.
2. I will help you as much as I can with the challenges, and,
3. God is doing significant things through your life.
When I read Helen’s words, my mind immediately jumped from what my friend is doing for the Lord to what I am doing for God this month. Helen’s words echoed into my soul, because I am doing something hard, too – I’m giving up a daughter to Africa and gaining a new daughter for the holidays. This is not easy, but having people come alongside my family and the Dobsons in this, through prayer or through meeting various needs, has been the hand of God in our lives. What’s more, Helen’s words to Jill affirmed to me, third-person, that what we are doing is eternal.
Oh my. Journey Girls, as you look at what you are doing for the Lord, wouldn’t you love to have these things spoken into you?
Maybe your birth mother can’t or won’t say it; maybe nobody else in the world even notices that hard things you are doing in His Name. But Jill’s mom inspired me to stop and think about how important it is to vocalize this to others in the journey.
So, Journey Girls, I want to validate you in what you are doing for the Lord right now. If you are going beyond just yourself to follow hard after Him, then your life is certainly filled with extra responsibilities and commitments and work and sacrifice. You may look around at the rest of the world and think, wow, if all I had to do was Christmas shop for my own family and bake Christmas cookies for the school party, my life would be easy. Yet, your life is filled with so much more, like helping needy neighbors, ministering to the poor, giving to the Tiny Tims of the world, or bringing orphans into your life. Whatever it is, I pray that God will send to you tangible help for your journey.
And then, to echo Helen’s words, I want to encourage you that what you are doing for Christ will last into eternity. When the holidays and life itself fades away, only what is done for Him will remain.
So, Merry Christmas, Journey Girls. You are living for more than yourself, and I am so, so proud to walk alongside you.