The question came from a little voice behind me as we sat in the parking lot of McD's in a small Kentucky town...
The kids were awake after a drive through the night as we had just stopped for breakfast. We were returning home from vacation in Florida. Still in their jammies, with pillows and toys tucked around them, Chad and I shared with them that early that morning, their Nana (Chad's mom), had died and was now with Jesus.
Earlier that week, she had suffered a massive stroke and the Dr's didn't think she would make it. But no matter how well prepared you are with that knowledge, you are never prepared for the moment you get the news. My husband had lost his Dad just over 3 years ago and this was just too soon.
We grieved together for some time and then I heard it, asked with the deepest sincerity weighted with sadness...
"Daddy, are you an orphan?"
The reality of that question socked me in the gut and I lost it. In my mind I could visualize the moment just days away when my husband, now an orphaned man, would meet our orphan sons. I push it out of my mind, because it was just too heavy. I would go back to it later.
The car was silent as four young hearts waited for an answer. As I was trying to regain composure to answer the question, I heard Chad starting to speak. He beautifully answered them about how he was adopted into my family, and how God adopts us into His.
As the conversation continued, I was struck by the weight of several things (besides the loss of a dear mom/nana):
~ the grief I felt for my husband who had lost both his parents in 3.5 years
~the knowledge that our kids got it and that orphans truly are on their hearts
~that my husband who has just been orphaned, is days away from meeting his orphan sons as our trip to Africa quickly approaches
And suddenly, gratefulness washes over me. Gratefulness for a man who, in the midst of his own grief, presses forward to meet his new sons. Gratefulness for my parents who are still living and have a vital role in my life and the lives of our children. Gratefulness for my sweet kids and the gift that they have in a loving Daddy here on earth. But most importantly, for the gift of adoption that we have been given if we accept it. The gift of eternal life and adoption into God's family. And gratefulness for so so much more.
The picture of the first meeting flashes back into my mind. This time, I choose to really look. God gives me the image of two divine hands cupped around two sets of families as they meet for the first time and joins them as one. The events that have occurred days before, begin to knit their hearts as they share a common bond of loss. Before the beginning of time, these days were ordained for us. And I am at peace. Reminded once again, there is no need to fear or worry, as He (the great I AM!) is the ONE that goes before, He will not fail nor abandon us. (Deut. 31:8 my paraphrase)