As the dilapidated taxi lurched forward and back in response to the overwhelming traffic and an ailing transmission, I choked on dust, smog, and shock. On this seasonably cool, overcast afternoon in the rainy season of mid-July, the streets of Addis Ababa, Ethiopia were teeming with pedestrians, all of whom appeared unaware of the hordes of vehicles and animals lapping at their heels. At every stop, children peddling packs of gum or desperate mothers begging for a bit of food to offer their starving babies instantly surrounded our taxi. “Lord, how did I get here?” my panicked heart began to silently ask.
Our driver, Ermias, who was expertly maneuvering the tiny car between donkeys, goats, and seemingly thousands of other vehicles just as decrepit as his, was pointing out the city’s monuments, asking me questions, and making pleasant conversation. Though barely able to answer – either because of the toxins filling my lungs or the images overwhelming my eyes – I did my best to graciously converse with the kind man. As our car made its way slowly toward the orphanage that was our destination, a sense of utter hopelessness enveloped me. “Lord, isn’t there something more we can do?”
We arrived at the orphanage to the shrill voices of hundreds of children announcing our arrival. They knew: someone’s family had arrived! The moment I walked into the concrete courtyard, children earnestly inquiring if I knew their long-departed friend or if I could help them find a family immediately surrounded me. Almost without exception, these children, many of them sick, almost all of them dirty, looked deeply – longingly – into my eyes. As I returned their gaze, I saw heartache, desperation, and unspeakable pain. “Lord, what do I say?”
After just five days, we left Ethiopia behind and brought our new son home with us to America. And a new sense of panic set in, “Lord, what do I do now?”
The time leading up to that life-defining moment at the orphanage in Addis Ababa, the twelve months that followed it, and onward to today, are a story I could have never written in my wildest imagination. And yet, the interesting thing is, as soon as we started our adoption process, I knew – I just knew – the Lord was going to ask me one day use it for something more than just our family.
I thought – for the longest time – that the Lord wanted me to actually share our story – our adoption story. But I have never been able to figure out how to go about doing that without betraying the confidences of our son’s very personal history. And then it hit me. God hasn’t allowed us to experience all we have so we can share our story … He put us here in order to equip me to share His story!
God used that incredible week in Ethiopia – and the very difficult months that followed – to empty me of myself and bring me to a point of utter dependency on Him. He used that time to teach me anew how to read Scripture, find the lessons in it and apply it to my life … all for the purpose of being able to share His Word with others.
So what you will read here – these Meditations From My Heart – is a simple obedience to the next step in my journey of faith. And I pray you will be encouraged by it.