1 Thessalonians 2 speaks of Paul's ministry to the early believers in Thessalonica.
"We are not trying to please people but God, who tests our hearts.... We were not looking for praise from people, not from you or anyone else... Just as a nursing mother cares for her children, so we cared for you. Because we loved you so much, we were delighted to share with you not only the gospel of God but our lives as well.... later in verse 11 he continues with, "For you know that we dealt with each of you as a father deals with his own children, encouraging, comforting and urging you to live lives worthy of God, who calls you into his kingdom and glory."
I feel like these verses describe so much of the desires of my heart when it comes to my 10 boys.
I am sharing my life with these boys. They see my good side and my frustrated side - when I'm happy and when I'm literally bawling my eyes out - we have serious times and super silly conversations .... they know if my favorite team (the Florida Gators) played horrible that week and I watch every single one of their soccer games - and they lose more frequently than they win. We do breakfast, lunch and dinner every single day. And it's not just because it's "my job" because honestly it isn't. It's not necessarily in my job description to move into one of the orphanages we serve full time and live with a dorm full of boys. There was a gap and I felt like God was saying, "fill it." (Back2back approves - don't misinterpret that)
But over the years, God has placed this particular orphanage on my heart. Years later, I can truly say that now this orphanage (Casa Hogar Douglas) and all those kids are now IN my heart. I carry them wherever I go. God's hand has been over this transition and role as a full-time caregiver for the past 12 months and I'm grateful. I'm grateful for the blessing of children. For the ways in which I've seen them grow not just physically but emotionally, socially, academically and spiritually. I'm grateful when one of my boys smiles at me or waves from far away. I'm grateful when they do something the first time I ask. I'm grateful when they tell me that they love me. And I'm grateful that I love being with them. And the most beautiful part of my "job" is that my boys know that I want to be with them. They know that I would rather spend the day with them than do anything else. Thats love people. And for many of my boys, I think it's the first time they've experienced anything like that. Over the years, I've been rather immature spiritually when it comes to my understanding of how God is fathering these fatherless boys. I've questioned where He is and what He is going to do about their situations and WHEN God is going to act on their behalf. But every night as I tuck those boys in and kiss their little cheeks and tell them that I love them and love being with them - I realize that God is choosing right now to love those boys through me.
Would you join me in praying that these boys feel loved, know love and recognize that their heavenly father finds them precious and important and worthy of the plans that He and He alone has for their lives? He calls us into his kingdom and then into his glory. Oh that we all might find that and rest there...