Tuesday, May 1, 2012


We were on the cusp of the end of our journey to China.  My husband appropriately decided we should celebrate.  We had received what we came for, a beautiful china doll.  We had spent our first day outside of adopting business sightseeing and having blissful fun as a family.  We would be flying home the very next day and Brian decided we should have a traditional Chinese meal to celebrate.

We sat in a lovely restaurant ordered our food and got out the crayons.  Strange how life changes with a 2-year old in tow.  I asked the children what were their favorite memories of China that they would take home to family and friends.  Unanimously, it was Gotcha day, the day they finally met their much prayed for sister, but then we moved on.  From city to city in which we traveled they recounted marvelous stories, marvelous memories.

I had a sense of how profoundly good it is for children to travel.  Difficult it was, expensive, sometimes hard, but at this very moment I was tasting the goodness of it, before the food even came!

The waiter served us delicious Chinese tea to begin our meal and Brian proposed a toast.  He said something so simple, yet so profound, my mind traveled to a place I didn’t expect to go.  I was going home tomorrow I reminded myself, yet his words indicated our journey had not ended.

He said, “to the beginning of the end.”  And all the children clinked their teacups.

The “beginning of the end” I pondered.  Somewhere in every woman there is a little girl that loves and lives for happy endings.  This was my happy ending.  God had met us in China over and over again.  He met us with safe travels.  He met us with wonderful Christian families with whom we would share the journey.  He met us with wonderful, informative, caring guides. He met us with people seeking Him and with whom we could share the Gospel.  And He met us in the heart and face of a little girl.  She showed us unconditional love knowing nothing about who we were or where we lived or what language we spoke, just with love.  Much like Him.

I had looked at this as my “happy ending”.  My happy ending to three years of prayer and two years of paper work.  Oh, I realized work remained.  One does not invite a 2-year old into your home without knowing there would be chores, late nights and early mornings ahead.  But He had reassured me over and over and yet over again that He was right there.  His hand upon us, His light at our feet, and His angels at our back.  I could do this with the Spirit with which He strengthens all His children.  So why then, did my beloved Brian say it was a beginning?  Did God have another dream perched on the windowsill I wondered?  Was He calling us to more work with orphan care? My mind reeled and verged on being overwhelmed.

I went to bed praying.  Praying for safety for the flight home.  Praying for a calm baby for the long flight home.  And I prayed that God would reveal to me what the next part of our journey looked at and that this time perhaps I wouldn’t greet it with fear and trembling like that had overtaken me so often on this path to China.

The trip to the airport was uneventful.  The storm that had greeted us as we woke was already passing.  The lines for security and baggage were long but we would be on time, all was well. The baby fussed as we sat waiting on the runway but soon sleep greeted her.  Every prayer, every worry answered.  My God is incredibly faithful and I continued to pray as we took off and through out the flight. Finally we landed; we again forged through line after line.  I rejoiced it was our last flight.  My dad would finally kiss his new grand girl and his long awaited pack of three grandchildren.  We saw loving faces in friends and happily drove in familiar cars and saw familiar sites.

Then we saw it, our home.  I gently spoke to Ava.  This is our final stop I told her, no more hotels, or luggage, or paperwork.  I could not wait to see her in her little room.  Balloons and a welcome home sign greeted us.  Happy faces beamed just inside our door.  Ava surprised me.  The scared little girl I had met just 13 days before hit the ground running.  She saw toys and new friends that seemed like old acquaintances.  Soon she was laughing, smiling and walking across the floors I had cleaned just for this day.

I sat down.  The little two-year-old that had rested on my lap every day for almost two weeks now strolled about my house somehow knowing it was hers.  Contentment that I had seen that very first day returned to her with a glow that only the Holy Spirit could gift her with.

I ate a bite of the lovely supper dear friends had brought and in the quietness of the moment, the Lord spoke.  “This is how I will feel when you come home.”  I looked at Ava again wondering if jet lag had already taken over.
I had not expected the serenity of that moment.  I had been so tired, so weary from travel, and suddenly I had the joy and energy only the Father could rain down.  For the moment, I looked at my new daughter and sensed some small portion of what the Father must feel when we return to Him.  When we submit to Him and when we stand in the center of His will.  When He sees His children go home to glory and He can see them sit at His table and be reunited with Him.

The ending was indeed the beginning.  He has equipped us all with our experience, our faith, our trust and His word to endings that become beginnings.  Beginnings of the next phase of life, the next chapter of the book, the resolve to go about serving Him no matter the cost, or no matter the doubts or the fears.  He has built with us the striving towards the finally happy ending.  The one where we see His face and our worship of Him becomes our eternal passion.

He is there waiting.  Filling our hearts and minds with dreams, with visions of His will and sustaining us for the next beginning and the next ending, be it happy or not.  Persevere Beloved; He is worth every trial and tear.  He is worth every moment of fear and frustration.  His peace sustains us and His glory awaits us.

“…I press on to take hold of that for which Christ Jesus took hold of me.  Brothers, I do not consider myself to have taken hold of it.  But one thing I do:  Forgetting what is behind and straining toward what is ahead, I press on toward the goal to win the prize for which God has called me heavenward in Christ Jesus.”
Phil. 3:12-14

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