Thursday, August 29, 2013

Hearts Made to Grow

I love my children.  There is nothing and no one who can take their places in my heart or fill me up the way they do.  When my boys were young and I was roundly pregnant I used to tell them that my love wouldn't be spread thin because a little sister was on the way.  I explained that they wouldn't be sharing less of mommy or daddy's love, because a parent's heart was made to miraculously grow so that each child brought into the family had just as much love as before and there was more than enough to go around.

For many years God has presented children to my mother's heart and gently asked if I could share love with them, too. I'm thankful for a husband who has not questioned why or how but who has thoughtfully and prayerfully said, "Yes." Some children arrived for a moment, some stayed for years, a few did not speak our language, fewer still were disabled from birth, a handful of them I may never even get to know, but all them were entrusted to my heart for a reason that I hope someday to understand.  I think I've raised my children to grasp that their mother's love was not being spread thin for them during those times either.  That with each child outside our family, my heart was made full, expanded and there was yet more motherly love to go around.  None of them was asked to share a portion of my love for them.

There are children I've read about and maybe even one or two I've worked with who've scooped themselves a little piece of my heart because life seems especially unfair, overwhelmingly difficult, or downright appalling for them.  When I left for Uganda on a mission trip just a few weeks ago, I knew there would be children who would wrap my heart up.  I fully expected it.  I even tried to make extra room before I met them face to face.  What I couldn't know was most of them would be tween or teenagers.  Holding the babies who weren't afraid of the color of my skin or hair or eyes was wonderful.  Cuddling a toddler sucking her thumb while napping in my lap was bliss.  Holding hands with six year olds who gently pressed on my skin to watch it turn a shade whiter or studied my unpolished fingernails gave me joy.  The teenagers were more stand-offish.  They weren't interested in personal contact.  They wanted, they craved, they needed simply to be seen, to be recognized in the crowd, to share in a little conversation.  They wanted to be helpful.

Of all the children I continue to think and wonder about, Stephen, Betty, and one pretty 15 year old girl in Kato are three who are stuck in my heart and in my prayer journal.  Daily, I am willing, I am begging, I am praying earnestly for God to bend low, to hear to my words and somehow, in some way, make a success story of their lives despite all circumstances.  They are not perhaps any less fortunate than other children who live in their villages.  They just stuck to my heart like glue after we met.  And that heart of mine grew and grew.

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