To write an update this week feels insufficient. I can give you words, but there are no sufficient words for the significance of the events.
Look what the Lord has done.
Two years ago, on May 21, our youngest son Elias James was baptized to tell the world that he believes Jesus is the Son of God, that He died and rose from the dead to save him, and that, for all a seven-year-old could comprehend, he will follow Jesus with his life. He grows and fights forward, aware of his need for grace and a powerful Savior. He is a force, he changes us and the world around him, and there are good works planned for him to fit right into.
A few hours later, early on May 22, Anna Michal Joy was born to us. Our gift unrequested, unexpected, and incomprehensibly precious. She has also challenged and changed us all, and the story of redemption our life-giving God is writing continues to bless us beyond measure. There has been new hope, new joy, new awe, new love. We have laughed uncontrollably, melted repeatedly, behaved ridiculously, and navigated infancy and toddler-hood again as novices.
Last night, May 24, Habiba Kathryn walked to graduate from high school. Seven years ago she waited inside a fenced compound for this family to wrap its arms around her for good. She came to us as a twelve-year-old full of hope, expectation, idealism. (She quickly learned we’re just people, but we are God’s people who will love her no matter what.) She didn’t speak English, but was immediately surrounded by friends, tutors, family. She discovered Jesus within months, “In my heart I always loved God, but I didn’t know who He was. Now I know Him.” Seven years in an imperfect family that lives believing hard in redemption and grace. Seven years to know, at the core, to Whom she belongs and to grow her wings. Now she graduates without any delays, ready to fly away in pursuit of dreams she’s discovered through Jesus.
How could I appropriately express the profundity of all of this? I will simply leave you with this week’s Psalm, which just so happens to be Psalm 126.
Restore Our Fortunes, O Lord
A Song of Ascents.
1 When the Lord restored the captives of Zion,
we were like those who dream.
2 Then our mouth was filled with laughter,
and our tongue with shouts of joy;
then they said among the nations,
“The Lord has done great things for them.”
3 The Lord has done great things for us;
we are glad.
4 Restore our fortunes, O Lord,
like streams in the Negeb!
5 Those who sow in tears
shall reap with shouts of joy!
6 He who goes out weeping,
bearing the seed for sowing,
shall come home with shouts of joy,
bringing his sheaves with him.