from the inside out

Over five years ago now this photo was one of the first pictures I took surrounded by the bamboo fence lines, grass thatched roofs and dusty paths of my new home.  It became for me both metaphor and mandate.  No child ever on the outside looking in, longing for a home.  Every baby with a bed and someone to love them to life and into their destinies.  This picture still calls to me in a way facts and statistics cannot. There are still so many who are peering in the fence lines longing to be welcomed into a family.

The Word made flesh came and walked gritty earth so I could be His.  So I could walk with Him a world away and watch Love transform the deepest places of brokenness.  It has been quite the journey.  So many of you have walked with us in your prayers and your love and your kindness spilled out from places all around the globe.  I am so very grateful for all of you.  So very grateful.

The mid-afternoon sun bakes the top of my head as I walk with camera slung like a satchel over my shoulder.  I am making my rounds and doing one of my favorite things, capturing moments to remember, to carry, to share.

She walks back with me to the small interior fence around my office.  It is meant to keep goats out of the vegetable garden but it doesn’t keep them or anything else out.  Hence we’ve given up on the vegetables.  She pokes her chubby little almost four year old face through the bamboo and I turn and trap time in pixels and gasp.  Her ear to ear smile lights up and I fight back that which wells up from deep within. I remember the day she came all bundled, her life dependent on our yes.  How I held her close and watched her grow and battled to see her take her first steps and to shake off the infirmity that tried to take her from us.

And SHE reminds me.  No more outside looking in.  Five years and all these little lives.  They are on the inside looking out.  Out into dreams and destinies and hopes and futures.

I am overwhelmed with how very good God is, how utterly humbled I am to be entrusted with such gifts.  And how I too am now on the inside of a loving family where my older children tell me one day they will take care of me when I am old.  I never expected in one of the most economically ravaged places on earth to become rich in everything that matters.

As we step off into a weekend, I wanted to pause and thank Him again for you and all the miles you have journeyed with us that no child might ever have to be left outside the fence alone. I think of the miles ahead and tuck all my questions away and leave them with the Only One Who knows the hours, the days or the answers I seek for them.

Let me offer a thought from by far and away one of my most favorite authors, Ann Voskamp.  I had a chance to meet her ever so briefly in passing last fall.  A split second encounter that somehow caught eternity in a quiet handshake and enveloping glance.  This one only writes what she lives.  And she lives grace and joy and gratefulness and most of all, she clings to Him.

Someone asked her about her future plans for writing projects and the like.  Seeing as her first book, One Thousand Gifts, has been months on the New York Times bestseller list…  This was her response.  May it also be mine.

“Sometimes instead of considering what is next, I have to simply consider what is—and He is and He is always enough.” -Ann Voskamp