Luck for the Luckless

Luck for the Luckless

Beauty.

Worth.

Oftentimes these two things go hand in hand. They are symbiotic: Beauty makes a person worth something; worthiness is judged based on the external.

Today I’m calling that out for the lie that it is.

Worth is a thing we are all born with. Our worth was given to us a long, long time ago, when we lived in a home made of flesh and blood and water and love…our mother’s wombs. In that first home we were declared priceless. We were declared irreplaceable. We were declared inimitable.

We were declared worth dying for.

This is the Truth of Who We Are. It’s an Inescapable Truth that applies to all mankind. God’s love for man isn’t love for men. It’s for man. The individual. He loves us like we’re the only one around. Sure, as it is with any gift or offer of kindness, you can choose to ignore it, or throw it away, or laugh at it. You can do whatever the hell you want to with it. It’s called free will, baby, and it (much like our worth) is our birthright.

Why am I harping on this today?

Shaina-1

This is Shaina. She’s lived her life in an orphanage, with no mom or dad or brothers or sisters to call her own. In a few months time, her chances at having a home of her own will go down the tubes.

Shaina is beautiful.

piper

This is Piper. Piper’s needs are many – so much so that it’s likely she’ll spend her entire life in what’s (ever-so-kindly) termed as a ‘laying-down room’ – aka, a place to put unwanted children who have too many needs to deal with. She won’t learn to sit up. She won’t learn to walk. What she will learn is how to cope with life in a cage – chewing on her fingers, banging her head on the bars of her crib.

Piper is beautiful.

Jackson-2007-279x300

This is Jackson. He’s missing one foot. Instead of prosthetics and patient, loving care, he will get a crib. Like Piper, that crib will be his cage.

Jackson is beautiful.

Here’s the Truth of Who These Kids Are:

Just like you and me, they were declared Priceless by the One who gives worth to all things. Just like you and me, they were made by a Creator who does all things well and with intention. By a Creator who makes no mistakes. 

But unlike you and me, these kids break the mold. They are not the norm. And because of that, their lives – their precious, priceless lives – are lost to cribs and walls and minimal care. And love? What do they know of love? The love of a daddy who would scour the surface of the earth just to rescue them? The love of a mommy who would sell her soul to buy the one she’s found?

That’s the kind of love these kids need. The kind of love that matches the worth that was attached to them at the moment of their conception. The kind of love that doesn’t simply see physical deformity or potential medical expenses or the inevitable grief of burying a child in your lifetime.

They need love that does not fear. They need love that lives in courage. They need love that feeds on service and obedience.

Don’t give in to your gut-level knee-jerk reaction. Don’t give into the Oh-I-Could-Never-Do-That and the I’m-Not-Strong-Enough and the That’s-Not-What-I’m-Called-To-Do. We’re talking about the weakest, most vulnerable of our kind. The ones that are wholly dependent on the rest of us to do the right thing.

This doesn’t mean you have to go to a far-away land and adopt. I certainly haven’t. Obviously, the need is there, but there are other ways to help.

*GIVE. The families who are planning the rescue of their soon-to-be-adopted children are facing ridiculous financial hurdles. Help them out.

*ADVOCATE. Don’t shy away from the conversation. Let yourself be a voice for those who cannot speak for themselves.

*PRAY. Lift ’em up. It’s simple, it’s powerful, and guess what? God’s listening. When it comes to the weakest of mankind, His ears are open – wide open.

It might seem like this post has come out of the blue. It has, and it hasn’t. Years ago our family was involved in advocating for a little darling girl who, because of her country’s changing laws, was deemed unadoptable a few months in. Her country literally took almost every chance of a home and a family to call her own away from her. As devastating as this was to us (and it was), I can only imagine what impact it had on her life. Since then I’ve stayed on the fringes – perusing the Reece’s Rainbow website and praying. But my heart is being squeezed. I don’t know why. I only know that when I look at these children – so hungry for stability and love; then look at my own children – thriving and joy-filled…

I can’t stay silent.

And maybe, because of one girl’s willingness to speak, one little child will be a step closer to finding her family.

“I dare to believe the luckless will get lucky someday in you. You won’t let them down. Orphans won’t be orphans forever.” Psalm 10:14

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Where Does She Get it From?

I was going through my old Facebook photo albums the other day. It’s wild to see how our family has grown and changed since the first day I signed up for social media all those years ago.

During my stroll down memory lane I came across a series of photographs. Of my daughter. From over a year ago. Refusing to swallow a bite of food.

As I was looking at my two-year-old little SweetZ obstinately holding food in her mouth for more than an hour, I was asking myself, “Where does she get it from?” – that stubborn refusal to do the thing that she really doesn’t want to do.

Then a childhood memory of my own came flooding into my thoughts – a very specific trip to the dentist. I’d heard my parents whispering in the front seat of the car during the trip there about what we were going to have done. They didn’t know I was listening, but I was. Even though I was too young to fully understand everything they were saying, I was, however, plenty old enough to understand these words:

“…stitches…”

“…shots…”

“…needles…”

I made up my mind very quickly – lonnnnnng before we reached the dentist’s office. No way in hell was I going to open my mouth. That dentist could call frogs from the waters and fire from the heavens, and nothing – ABSOLUTELY NOTHING – was going to make me open my mouth. Not if doing so meant that there would be needles, shots, and stitches.

I remember sitting in the dentist’s chair (which to my little, distrustful eyes, seemed like some kind of mutant-mechanical praying mantis waiting to eat me, slowly and painfully), looking up at the posters they had tacked up on the ceiling. A kitten sitting in a wagon. A pretty rainbow scene. That classic shot of the two little boys wearing overalls that reads, “So, how long have you been farming?” I distrusted those posters. They reminded me of clowns. And I was LIGHTYEARS ahead of Stephen King when it came to the ugly truth behind clowns. I had my own preconceived notions regarding those devilish bastards before IT was published…and he was 39 when that went to print. I was a mere sprite when I realized the true evil behind clowns. But that’s a story for another post, another day.

Anyway…

I was staring up at those posters, all alone in the examination room, contemplating my chances of success if I were to bolt, when the dentist came in.

He said hello.

I stared at him.

His nurse said hello.

I ignored her and stared at him.

He sat on his chair and pulled on his mask. His eyes crinkled behind his glasses. Maybe he was trying to smile at me. I thought he was glaring.

He asked me to open my mouth.

I stared at him.

He repeated himself.

I stared at him and gave my head a tiny shake. No.

He looked at the nurse and gave her a slight nod. She moved a step closer to the chair.

My tiny head shake grew into something a little bigger.

I don’t remember much past this point. It’s all kind of a blur. There was a commotion, some loud yelling, and hands holding my shoulders down while someone else tried to pry my mouth open.

I still have bad dreams. I still loathe dentists.

I don’t know if they were able to do what we’d come for them to do – I honestly don’t remember. All I remember was clinging to the notion that if I were to survive that visit, I MUST NOT OPEN MY MOUTH.

So, as I was looking through our family photographs of my daughter displaying her stubbornness, I realized,

Oh.

She gets it from me.

And I smiled. Because even though she’ll have to learn to develop the kind of self-control that doesn’t allow her to just give into her stubbornness willy-nilly, seeing myself reflected in her is a pretty darn cool thing.

Now, check out SweetZ in her 1 hr, 10 minute refusal to swallow her food.

Fifteen minutes into her refusal to swallow a bite. She’s still trying to smile at me as if to say, “Look, lady. I could do this all night long.”

Twenty minutes in. It’s becoming less and less fun.

Forty-five minutes into the battle of the wills. All eye contact has been cut off. She had no idea at this point just how stubborn her mama could be. And clearly, I had no idea just how stubborn my daughter could be.

A full hour into it. An HOUR, people.

And there it is. Seventy minutes later, the will broke. The food was swallowed. And there was much, much cuddling. We never had an issue with her swallowing her food again.

Meet Little Miss Took

Our sweet daughter was born last week. Isn’t she lovely? To say we feel blessed by our latest addition is such a huge understatement.

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Thanks so much for all the sweet words of love and encouragement y’all have sent our way over the past week. We have felt so loved!