READ: Psalm 139:7
“Where can I go from Your Spirit? Or, where can I flee from Your Presence?”
A few weeks ago, I shared a chapter from my new book, Divine Redirection. This week, I wanted to share a story from my previous release, Masterpiece. It’s a little longer, but I think this testimony will bless you if you’re willing to read all the way through…
I’ve known Lynelle most of my life. Our moms have been friends even longer than we have. Lynelle and I went to the same high school, marched in the band together and rode to school together in Bobby Hinson’s bright yellow Volkswagen van. We have some great memories!
In the late 90s, Lynelle met Jeremy at church. They hit it off quickly and were married on May 15,1999. The newlyweds moved into a house on Quatman Ave. What’s really neat is that’s the street where I live. Actually, we’re neighbors. You can’t ask for better than this, neighbors and friends.
Throughout the years the three of us have had many great times—and we’re still making memories. I love having such close friends to travel with, laugh with and talk about God together. The three of us share so much in common.
A New Decision…
Toward the end of 2000, Jeremy and Lynelle decided that it was time to start a family. It’s something they longed for, really. Then, it happened. News came that Lynelle was expecting. It seemed like everything was falling into place. You could sense the excitement, the anticipation. All was right in their world. Until the word came.
Shortly into their pregnancy, they received news that something wasn’t right. Things weren’t progressing and there were some issues. The ultimate nightmare for any expectant couple.
In February 2002, because of a genetic disease/issue they lost their child. Along with that loss it seemed as though hope vanished as well. Because of the genetic issue, the possibility of having a child of their own was gone.
Devastated, they went on. A funeral. A memorial garden in the backyard. All the hurts and questions. It seemed their dreams lay shattered at their feet. The excitement was gone. Now, they’d live under the cloud of this horrible reality.
One night in 2004, Lynelle was awakened from a dream. A dream about China. A dream about a little girl. Through she felt as though God was placing upon her heart the longing to adopt. It was a delicate issue. The pain of their loss was still raw, so she waited for the perfect opportunity to approach the subject with Jeremy.
But while she was waiting, God was already working. Jeremy began to have the same dream, the same longing. They didn’t hesitate. They started the process. They’d have a family of their own!
Maybe you’ve gone through this process. Or, perhaps you know someone who has. If not, let me tell you… it’s not an easy thing. Paperwork. Mountains of forms to be filled, signed, submitted. Fees. It’s a costly thing to take this step. Yard sale after yard sale, fundraiser after fundraiser…yet there was no cost too great. They paid the fees.
Home studies. Would they qualify? Were they fit parents? What would the home life be like? What do the neighbors (wink, wink) have to say? The ball was rolling.
That was in 2004.
2005 came and went. 2006 no news.2007…2008…2009, still no news. How could this process be taking so long? Wasn’t it God that spoke this desire into their hearts? Had they heard wrong? Misunderstood?
Time Marches On…
So much time passed, they had to refile paperwork. Along with the paperwork, fees—which meant more yard sales and fundraisers. Now, new home studies had to be done. A lot can change in nearly five years.
How would you have felt? Do you think you might have questioned yourself? Or God? Would you have lost hope?
I hate to admit it, but I did. I thought maybe this was something that wasn’t meant to be. But you can be sure, during times such as these, God is at work.
What we didn’t realize was that on April 18, 2010 in Ningxia, China, she was born. A little baby girl in dreadful conditions: an unfit mother, an absentee father and an unloving home in a culture that didn’t value little girls. So, being unwanted, this newborn baby was placed by her so–called mother in a ditch by the river to die.
Can it Get Any Worse?…
I have to confess, that’s hard to think about. It’s difficult just to type. It’s unimaginable. How could anyone do such a thing?
I’m not sure how long this child lay in the ditch. But as time passed, so did a stranger. Walking by the river one evening he heard a faint whimper, a tiny cry, a struggle for life coming from the weeds. Walking toward the sound, he found her: an unwanted, thrown away, barely living little girl. He refused to leave her in a ditch by the river.
He carried her to an orphanage where she would be cared for. An orphanage overrun by unwanted little girls, left in ditches and shoeboxes, or trashcans. She wouldn’t have her own bed. She’d be fed the minimum. She’d likely rarely be held. But, it was better than a ditch by the river.
Beauty From Ashes…
Then it happened. In February 2011, the call came. There was a baby girl in Ningxia, China for Jeremy and Lynelle! Hope was renewed. Preparations were made. Then, on April 25th they claimed her as their own. And today Alyssa is my neighbor, too. In fact, we just celebrated her third birthday this past April 18th. By the way, did I mention that Jeremy’s birthday is April 18th?
I’m usually home on Thursdays, and when I am, Jeremy and Lynelle set a place for me at their table. Little Alyssa has me wrapped around her finger. When I sit next to her, she looks up at me and says, “That’s my Billy!” I don’t have to tell you that my heart melts every time I hear that, do I?
I share this story to make this truth crystal clear: Adoption always starts in the heart of the parent. It wasn’t Alyssa lying in a ditch by the river dreaming of Jeremy and Lynelle. It was the other way around. Now, she resides in their home on Quatman Avenue next door to me.
Alyssa is a masterpiece.
When mankind would never, could never, come to God, God would do the greatest thing imaginable. He would come to him. He refused to leave them in their ditch! The Creator pursues His creation. He takes the initiative! He yearns for His children to be in His God–centered existence. He grabs fresh paint. The Artist is at work bringing restoration to His creation. When there seems to be no way, God does the greatest thing imaginable. He robes His Son in human flesh and sends Him from the ivory halls of heaven to be born on earth. Why? Just like Alyssa was initially broken but found a loving home with Lynelle and Jeremy, God saw us broken and hurting and didn’t want to leave us there.
Instead, He wanted to be with His broken creation.
It’s what we were made for.