FROM SUSAN HILLIS:I have lived in both of these places....Sunshine Circle and Thunderbolt Alley! Our friend Brad sent me a note this week connecting me with other dear friends of his who had lived in both these places! What about you? Where are you living right now? I am here to say that no matter where you are living today, in the sunshine, in the storm, or somewhere between, Jesus is there walking right beside you, ready to enter your experience. Here's a true story about what happened to me just one week ago!
When Thunderbolt Alley becomes Sunshine CircleThe family of 5 who were standing in front of me at the taxi stand at 11 PM Friday night at the Atlanta Airport looked confused. I saw the kind-faced mom and dad, standing with 2 sons who looked about 11 and 12, and a cute little 4 year old Chinese daughter. I overheard the dad asking the dispatcher, "Can you tell us how far Fairburn (a distant suburb) is and how much it costs to get there?" After hearing the high cost, they stepped back, looking as though they were wondering what to do. The dad says to the mom, "Well, Delta didn't give us an vouchers for taxi fare; I'm not sure we should go all the way out there to the hotel." Bad weather in multiple cities had stranded them and countless others for the night who had missed their connecting flights out of Atlanta.
The dad says, "Well, we missed our connection and Delta didn't give us enough to cover the cab fare, so we don't quite know what to do for the night. Our connection to Talahassess leaves tomorrow morning."
"Well, I have an idea," I say. "My husband and most of our kids are out of town, so why don't you just come sleep at our house and I will take you back to the airport tomorrow morning." The mom and dad exchange a surprised glance. "If you want to have a few minutes of privacy to talk about it, that's fine; I'll wait." They both say, "No, we don't need to talk about it - that would be GREAT!" So we all climb in the car and they begin to share their story. "We have been up nearly 36 hours, travelling back from China with our little girl who we just adopted." I tried to speak to the little girl, EmmaLin, who did not reply, and the mom explained, "she can't hear." As we talked more it became clear they were believers and saw the hand of God in their struggle to be home at last, after the long two week trip. (If you want to see her beautiful picture and read their version of the story, look here.
As we were riding back in that taxi I remembered the times our church had prayed, "Lord, please place at least one believer in the life of every orphan in the world." I could only pray in my heart, "Thank you, Lord, You have done it again, and you have let me see it!" As I was riding in the Yellow Cab with this little girl who couldn't hear, by mind flashed back to the time I couldn't see. It was 2005 right after Hurricane Katrina, and I suddenly lost 25% of my vision - I was blind in the entire bottom half of my left eye. Reflecting on the multiple times God wants to get folks' attention when blindness occurs in the Scriptures, I prayed, "Lord, I am wondering if there is something you want to show me through this blindness." As I stood quietly, the thought that came very clearly into my mind was this, "About 75% of your life I would say, 'Well done, my good and faithful servant.' But I would also say there is 25% of my call on your life that you are blind to. I am not calling you to love only the orphans you have adopted, or the ones in your church, or the ones your friends have adopted, or the ones in Russia, but to all the orphans of the world." (Aside: I once was blind but now I see!) In that taxi on that Friday night, I felt so full of thanks to the Lord for letting me participate in a small way in His plan to love that little Chinese treasure. I glance back and see EmmaLin lift her mom's left arm from the seat to place it around her own waist, and lift her mom's right arm from the seat to place it around her own waist, I see that this sweet little one has already become confident that she has found love in the arms of her dear mama.
We find Love in the Father's Arms
The predictable pattern is that our heavenly Father wants to wrap His loving arms around us as our good shepherd in EVERY place. In Thunderbolt Alley -- when we are exhausted and needy and confused and broken, and bad weather has left us stranded;
and in Sunshine Circle -- when the fellowship is wonderful, the relationships close, jobs exciting, provision abundant.
And He is the supreme expert in climate change -- in turning Thunderbolt Alley into Sunshine Circle. In rising above every storm to bring His sweet provision of calm. This past week or so, I read twice in the gospel of Mark, the Father's words, "This is my beloved Son." The Father announces it from heaven's loud speakers right before Jesus enters the anguish in the long desert temptation, and He repeats the same words as Jesus shines on the mountaintop of transfiguration. In the desert and on the mountain, we find love in the Father's arms and words. We are the BeLoved, created to Be-Loved.
I will close by inviting you, dear reader, to join us and others for a Friday and Saturday of refreshment together, as adoptive and foster moms and dads and their friends gather to find rest together in the Father's love, to 'Be-Loved' together at theconference at our church, Northlands, in Atlanta, on October 5 and 6. Early Bird Registration rates are good until August 15, so register soon!
Here is a short video about it. May you Be-Loved today!
Hope at Home 2012 from Hope at Home on Vimeo.