Tuesday, October 16, 2012

He Places The Lonely in Families

It’s not that the words haven’t been here. But between the busyness, the sickness, more busyness, and more sickness, I've just. been. tired.

My computer has remained closed for over a week, but my notebook has been my constant companion as I scribble down words here and there. But yesterday is our short day, where we get home early so the girls were running around, playing, making a mess while I opened up that tired laptop and woke it from its week long hibernation.

I felt the keyboard grow warm as the keys lit up and I opened up a page and begin transcribing, but it just doesn't work, so I take a few minutes to hop online. And my hopes and dreams pull up the page of children ready and waiting for adoption.


And oh, my heart. I found one that captured me with her smile. Teresa. And for a minute she was mine. And all she wants is “a family that will read me a story and say prayers with me at bedtime.” Why isn't someone doing that for her?

And then the sobbing so hard I almost hyperventilated. We are in a sad and broken world where there are children without a family and all the political talk in the world isn't changing the fact that there are 104,000children in the US in foster care waiting for adoption.

But Teresa, she can’t be mine. The timing isn't right and she’s all the way in Arizona.


Last night, I woke at 2:30 with my little one. And as I held her, I thought of Teresa. And I prayed for her as I prayed for my own, because every little girl and little boy should have someone praying for them. And I hoped she was sleeping soundly and was in a home with someone who gave her love and pointed her to Jesus.

This morning I woke up and I felt a bit of that Pentecostal fire in my belly that has been just an ember for a while now. And I thought about how I’d like to pray for her if she were with me. If I had just ten minutes with her.  And I saw her sleeping in one of my girls’ beds. And I’d lay my hand on her head and pray:

Sweet girl,

The Lord your God is living among you. 
He is a mighty savior. 
He will take delight in you with gladness.
With his love, he will calm all your fears. 
He will rejoice over you with joyful songs. 
Zephaniah 3:17

Do not dismay, do not be afraid,

"For I know the plans I have for you," says the Lord. "They are plans for good and not for disaster, to give you a future and a hope." 
Jeremiah 29:11

And just like with my own girls,

Then Christ will make his home in your hearts as you trust in him. Your roots will grow down into God's love and keep you strong. And may you have the power to understand, as all God's people should, how wide, how long, how high, and how deep his love is. May you experience the love of Christ, though it is too great to understand fully. Then you will be made complete with all the fullness of life and power that comes from God. 
Now all glory to God, who is able, through his mighty power at work within us, to accomplish infinitely more than we might ask or think.
Ephesians 3:17-20

I’d tell her that she can talk to Him whenever she wants. When she is lonely. When she is scared. When her heart is breaking. He is near and will wrap her in His arms of love. And she can hear Him too. And I’d take her hands in mine and ask the Spirit to speak to her and show her pictures of how much He loves her and let her sit in silence until she hears His voice and feels His love.

I’d kiss her forehead and brush her cheek. I’d look deep in her eyes and tell her how valuable she is. How important she is. I’d remind her that she has beauty and purpose and beg her to never forget that. And then I’d just hold her close to me until our time was up.


I've been a Christian since I was three, so I have over 30 years of sermons under my belt and for the life of me I can’t think of one on adoption.  Anything else that Jesus or Paul or any other disciple or saint has mentioned has been told to me over and over and over again. And yes, I've heard James preached. "Pure and genuine religion in the sight of God the Father means caring for orphans and widows in their distress and refusing to let the world corrupt you." But it’s never come with a call for action. Why not?

Lord, have mercy.

I say this not to condemn. Not to guilt. But out of pure confusion. For I look at the well worn pages of my Bible and from what I can remember, Jesus got pissed off two times. The money changers and when someone stopped children from coming to Him. Shouldn't that mean something to us? And maybe, when we have resources and don't use them to care for the children not in families, are we maybe keeping them from Him? I say this to myself as much as I say it to anyone else.

Christ, have mercy.

Here’s the thing. I can’t let my heart bleed out without asking you to do something. Whether you bring a child into your home, sponsor through Compassion, or World Vision, or Help One Now, or some other organization, would you do something? I’m just growing more and more convinced that as followers of Christ, this isn't optional business. This is Kingdom business.

And if you happen to read this, would you take a couple of minutes and pray for Teresa?

Father to the fatherless, defender of widows-
this is God, whose dwelling is holy.
God places the lonely in families;
he sets the prisoners free and gives them joy.
Psalm 68: 5-6


  1. Oh sweet one. Your passionate heart. I am due a letter to my compassion sponsored child. May I use with permission some of your words of prayer and scripture and Beautiful lifting up raising up. I want my child in Peru to hear this. We have one adopted child and two biological children. I hear your heart. And I am praying for Teresa.Didn't you send me a recipe on twitter recently? Did I thank you? Love your words and deep deep love. So much to soak in. Emily's is a wonderful community. Tomorrow I am writing on Chasing Silhouettes at my place. Privileged, humbled to.

  2. in some way all confessions are also invitations, aren't they, in the same way that repentance is less about 'being sorry' and more about 'thinking different'. such a good post, and such an important call to do...something.

    thank you - s.

  3. This brought tears to my eyes. Perhaps there is more I can do than I realize. Thanks for the call to look for more than a second at the lost and orphaned children all around us.

  4. An adoptive mama here, so I'm whispering amen with you. My reasons for adoption weren't so much about compassion toward children as they were about fulfilling my own neediness. Yet, God is gracious and has taught me so much about his heart for adoption through this experience. And my son, who we adopted from the Philippines, has had his story featured in a chapter of a book written by a missionary friend in order to train pastors. My son's story is used to illustrate the beautiful doctrine of adoption.

    Won't it be beautiful, once we are in heaven, to find out how God responded to your prayers on behalf of Teresa?

  5. Yes, there should be more sermons on adoptions and more support for those adopting in faith. We just finished our first compassion child, having supported her from nine to 18. We took on another. ;)

  6. oh my dear brenna. i love your heart SO much. i am sharing this everywhere. i ache for teresa... this: "We are in a sad and broken world where there are children without a family and all the political talk in the world isn't changing the fact that there are 104,000children in the US in foster care waiting for adoption."

    oh girl. i have no words. no words. but i will pray.

  7. Oh, beautiful, Brenna. Beautiful and broken. I love these broken stories, these hallelujahs being lifted up to God. I have my own broken story this week, so different from your's. But I have too, been in this place of my heart breaking for children. Thank you for taking blinders off once again, and pricking my heart. Your prayer moved me deeply--saying a prayer for her with you now. Gorgeous writing-- Blessings. {I came over from Emily's}.

  8. Brenna,
    This moved me in a way that I haven't been moved in a long time. I've never been one who thought adoption or fostering was something I was "called to" and I've always felt that folks who were must have a special fire in their belly. But your words stirred deep and stoked an ember and I found myself seeing that participation in the adoption cycle is, at its core, about prayer.
    And your prayers...so, so beautiful and rich and moving.
    And aren't we all just adopted sons and daughters? And isn't it in that place of welcome that we live and move and have our being?
    Brenna,thank you for this. And that sweet Teresa...praying that the balm of the Holy Spirit would soothe her weary soul.

  9. Beautifully written, and with such overflowing love and compassion. You are a special soul indeed :)