The last few weeks have been so full of God’s blessings and extravagant surprises. Every day another gift, beautiful and unexpected. I feel spoiled rotten by the God of the universe, His love just too good and too perfect for little, broken me.
I shared this with a close friend recently, giggling with surprise and awe like a little girl who just received a marvelous present from her Daddy. His response was perfect. “He loves you, Katie. You’re one of His favorites.” He laughed and I laughed but it stuck.
One of His favorites. That is what I have felt like this last two weeks. Lavished with love. But isn’t that what He wants every one of His children to feel, all the time? Each and every one of us created perfectly in His image. Each one cherished. Each one “one of His favorites”. How would life change if we thought of each other as such? If each person that approached us we treated as beloved of God, cherished by God, one of God’s favorite people?
I carried it with me today. As I bought beads from women in a slum I thought of them as His favorite people. As I counseled a mother struggling with alcoholism I wept that one of God’s favorite people was struggling like this. I rejoiced with a grandmother who for the first time proclaimed Jesus after watching Him heal her granddaughter miraculously last week. And I smiled at the Joy that I knew God found in her – one of His favorites.
The God of the Universe delights, DELIGHTS in you. In me. In them. Could we rest in that? Could we live like that?
In a horribly atrocious accident, a traditional healer in Masese mutilated a sweet little boy’s throat and mouth. Believing it to be beyond repair I took him to the main government hospital where we spent the next 12 hours.
Most of the time I just breeze in and out of this place – drop someone off, bring someone food, welcome a new baby into the world. But today we just sat. One operating room and 12 patients ahead of us – we sat and sat. And it was as if I had been given new eyes. I looked at the cold hard cement floor and the cold hard faces of the people who work there. Glimpses of things I had just experienced at Vanderbilt Children’s Hospital a few weeks earlier with my own daughter flashed in my brain in a horrible contrast to this place I was now seated.
Ward 9 is the accident ward. A little girl came in with her ear cut off. A mother carried a baby that had fallen into a pot of boiling water. A man came in with his hand mangled, ripped to shreds by a piece of machinery, in need of amputation. Someone’s wife died. Someone’s mother died. Someone’s baby died. All those people right there in that cold cement building and all of their lives drastically altered in just a moment. In just an instant their realities changed – forever. I couldn’t stop thinking as I sat there about how the next days weeks and months would play out for each one of them with their new, different realities. And I looked at all off them. All of that pain and all of that suffering and all of that sorrow and all I could think as I looked at each of those faces was “You. You are one of His favorite people.” And I prayed they would know it. I prayed they would know that God was holding all this chaos in the palm of His hand, even this pain having purpose.
A year ago today, I was one of them. I sat in a small cement room in a village hours away and life as I knew it fell apart. Ceased to exist. A little girl that had been mine for 2 years went back to live with the mother God has given her at birth. And thus began a journey, even that pain had a purpose.
Months later Jane and her birth mom, Nancy showed up at my doorstep. Nancy had lost her job and they had been evicted from their house. They were both sick and now they were homeless. So they moved in. After lots of loving and lots of encouraging and lots of days when I felt my heart would just be ripped out of my chest as I watched my baby girl learn to call Nancy “Mom” they moved out again. We had found Nancy a job translating and cooking for Amazima, we had enrolled Jane in Kindergarten, and it was time for Jane and Nancy to be their own family – still good friends with, but separate from ours.
I just longed to tell all those people in that hospital that a year later, I can say, “Yes. This is the hardest year I have ever done.” But I can also say, “I would do it again if He asked me.” Because Faithful God did not let go of our hands. This new life has been hard to learn. But we have learnt it. Life changes in an instant and God sees all of it, redeems all of it, uses all of it for His good.
And as I look back over this year I realize something. Such purpose in the pain. Our beautiful, spoiling, extravagant Daddy didn’t want to just give Jane a family. He wanted to give Nancy one too. This wonderful Father of ours, He didn’t want just Jane to come to know Him, He wants Nancy to come to know Him too.
Because Nancy, she is one of His favorites.