Sunday, June 24, 2012


This is when what we are doing becomes completely 110% worth it:

*I watch one of our girls holding Jasper and he leans in to give her a kiss on the cheek and says, "I love you, ______."

*One of the girls looks me in the eyes and asks me if I love her and I can say, "Yes.  I love you."  And when that happens, I know it might be one of the first times of her life that she has heard it and might actually start believing it's true.

*We have our nightly bible verse discussion (whoever has laundry that day picks a verse out of the chapter/book of the week and we all talk about it), and someone asks a question that I remember asking or wondering about when I was a teenager.  I realize that we are giving them the knowledge and love of Jesus that they wouldn't be receiving at all if they were still in their old situation.

*Bennett and Jasper are laughing and playing and running around our house, feeling exuberant and happy to be alive and to be a part of what we are doing here.

*Someone talks about being the hands and feet of Jesus, and I know we are blessed to be living it.

*I take the girls shopping and they are so thankful for simple little things.

*I see how much the girls adore Jasper; they all want to hold him, play with him, talk to him.

*I find a collection of the random little notes I write the girls from time to time, and I realize they are saving them.

*We are driving home from church in our giant 15-passenger van and one of the kids excitedly tells us what they learned in class that day and they all start interrupting each other because they are so eager to share.

*When I take my rest time after church on Sunday and then I come back out into the common area where everyone is relaxing, and a chorus of "Mama!" and "Mama J!" greets me because they have missed me being gone for a couple of hours.

*I get hugs goodnight from all of my kids (all eight of them) when it's time to go to bed.

*The parent or relative of one of the girls thanks me for what we are doing for their child because they can't do it themselves.

*I watch the girls begin to interact with Michael and I and with each other in healthy, positive ways and I know this is the first time they have witnessed and taken part in a healthy family unit.

*The girls are so relieved and thankful to come home, whether it be from the summer rec program, a mission trip, family visit, relief week, etc., and I know that it's because God has given Michael and I the grace and wisdom to make a comfortable, safe haven for each of them.

*One of our kids reaches a sought-after goal that they have been striving for, whether it be physical, emotional, spiritual, etc, and I know God let me play a part in it.

*When I do something like baking homemade cookies or mashed potatoes, or we make popcorn for a good movie and all watch it together with the lights off, or we go to Six Flags, or we play hide and seek in the dark with another cottage, etc etc. and I get to watch one of the kids' eyes light up and hear the awe in their voice when they say, "Wow!  I have never had this/done this before!"

*One of our kids makes a wonderful, polite, generous, gesture that shows me how they are trying to be more like Jesus and my heart nearly bursts because I am so proud.

*One of my girls asked me if I would sit on the front row when she gets married, and if I would be there when she has her first baby someday.

*One of my girls asked if she could always call me and always come see me, even after she graduates, and even after we leave this place and season of life.

*Bennett and one of the girls have a giggling fit together (almost always happens during dinner :) ).

*When the girls are away on our relief week and Bennett asks where they are, and then tells me he wants them to come back because he misses them.

*We celebrate one of the girls' birthday and she is SO excited because it is the first party she has ever had where she got to choose a cake and a theme and actually receive gifts and most of all, feel loved for who she is.


There are so many more things like this that make our time here so worth it.  I need these reminders.  This is what I need to dwell on in my heart.  I have been under attack and felt down and discouraged for a lengthy period of time now.  God has been sweetly, gently reminding me of the beautiful things He is doing here, and that He has chosen to use us to do it.  When it gets hard, when I feel stressed, when I feel overwhelmed deep in my heart, He whispers these things to me.  He is good to let me feel like I am making a difference, and to let me see glimpses of this.

God is so good.  He has been so good to Michael and I to answer our cries when we asked for purpose and meaning with missions and children - goodness, He answered our prayers!  He has been so good to these girls - they have new lives here.  The Lord Almighty ripped them out of Satan's grip - a grip of family addictions, abuse, pain, mistrust, lies, neglect and more - and has warmly, gently, perfectly placed them here to see His face and hear His voice clearly, to know how much He loves each one of them.


Betsy@Living in the Moment said...

I love what you have wrote. You are so beautiful.

Kristi Petrak said...

I'm so glad you get this experience :) It is hard, knowing that you are right about the first time they have experienced such unconditional love. It is gratifying and depressing at the same time, as you know you are blessing their lives, but you also know that there are so many more who will never know unconditional love. All we can do is pray that God will send a person to touch the lives that you and I and others who work in a similar field cannot reach. God bless you for your work!! :)