“The prayers we weave into the matching of socks, the stirring of oatmeal, the reading of stories, they survive fire.” -Ann Voskamp
"It's only by God's grace," she said with tears in her eyes as she gently braided her youngest daughter's hair. "Without Him, I am truly nothing."
And so began this heartfelt afternoon with Helen and her daughters. We spoke of our children and how there is no greater role than that of being a mother. She spoke of adoption and how it has changed their hearts and wrecked them in the best way. She spoke of her shortcomings, and yet all I saw was God's love being poured out upon His daughters from a weary mother who continues to give and give and give. I saw grace upon grace, that she had received, and so she gave. The many late night hours she and her husband have logged in prayer for their children
There is something so sacred about living your life with hands open wide and heart open wider, saying "Yes, Lord" to whatever He asks.
"It's hair day today," she said with a smile, "and when it's hair day, we stop everything. This is important work." With every twist of her fingers in every coil of hair, she weaves life-giving memories, setting a new foundation for a childhood that was missed. She tells the girls of their home-coming, the same stories that they obviously know by heart, yet giggle at the details as if it's the first time the stories meet their ears. She ingrains on their hearts the knowledge that she wept and prayed for the little girls whose chubby cheeks she had yet to kiss. She tells of the waiting, the longing, the anguished prayers. This is the redeeming of a lost childhood. This is God's heart.
I stood as a bystander with simultaneous tears in my eyes and a grin on my face. The knock-you-down bear hugs, the laughing at funny photos, the sentimental stories told. The tea for three, made with care. The books read with lively inflection. How do you explain to someone that the way her daughters look at her is breathtaking?
The afternoon spent with these three lovely ladies left me feeling like I must come back again, next time with the whole family present. Because this story, this telling of a humble family striving to live out God's purposes no matter the cost, is one worth documenting.