Friday, January 11, 2008

The Letters

Preface: Back in February of 2006, I made the decision to sponsor a little girl from India through Compassion International. At the time, the idea of having a pen pal relationship was unique to me, and even cool. Let alone giving monetary support to give her meals, some gifts, and access to education and healthcare all done in Jesus' most wonderful name! What greater gift is there? If I had known then, what I know now about how my heart has been transformed from this sweet child of mine, I wouldn't have believed it.

As Christians, our paths or journeys to righteousness vary greatly. For some, there is a Holy Spirit lightbulb moment, where suddenly everything changes in an instant. For others, we cannot give a defining moment, yet we can trace the Holy Spirit's influence quite clearly through certain conversations or circumstances. My heart has been changed via the latter method.

I cannot tell you the instance I fell in love with my child, nor can I tell you when my burden for India and it's people was pressed upon me. I only know that as humanly and divinely as possible, that I love this little girl that I have never met and we are oceans apart. It's a special and different bond since we have never talked face to face, let alone in the same language. We vary in age by 15 years, and the culture gap, as you may imagine, is vast. But what is not vast, is the ability for God to orchestrate our precious relationship and the way that words can touch your very heart.

The letters are very precious to me, they are in fact, the only way I ever learn anything about her. When my mailbox contains an envelope that reads, "Enclosed is a letter from your sponsor child," my heart leaps with joy. I immediately fumble and clumsily tear the seal to read her very own words and her beautiful swirling handwriting. And the letters themselves come only a few times a year, so their arrival is a much anticipated one. "Dear Aunty" as she calls me, "I pray for you often." In one simple sentence, you are humbled and blessed. She writes about her daily chores or favorite flower, and thankfully, she oftentimes writes about my letters that I have sent her: "Thank you for telling me about Christ and Easter." More than ever, I deeply desire for her to know Christ personally, to know that He is real, He is love, He is more than she'll ever need.

After receiving her letters, they are either displayed on our fridge or filed away in our Missions folder. Last Saturday, however, was a turning point.

I opened the folder to find only two of her previous letters. "Where are all the rest?" I wondered to myself. I dug through other folders thinking, "perhaps they were misplaced." At this point, I suddenly became panicked, because after all, this is the only place where her letters are stored. I quickly called my husband, "Where are the letters?!"

In one simple sentence, you are crushed in one fell swoop.

"I think I threw them away."

The look on my face, the pain in my heart, the sound of my crying is something I'm sure he will not soon forget. I'll be transparent here, because in all honesty, Christians need to be more so. I bawled for an hour. It was all I could do to not say something unkind to my husband. Ladies, I know you've been there, and that it is so easy to unload our anger on our loved ones. I haven't been that upset in years. The accusations, questions, disbelief, shock, anger; they were all there. But by the grace of God, He kept my angry tongue silent.

My precious letters, gone.

This, my friends, is where the rubber meets the road. Where the act of forgiveness is commanded, but your heart is most certainly not in it. And you are torn. These daily circumstances are what etch either godliness or sinfulness onto our hearts. It's what defines us as Christians really. My husband apologized for the pain he had caused.

I chose, and I do mean that quite deliberately, to forgive. My heart still aches, and I've caught myself crying or welling up at the thought of the Letters. But as Paul tells us, we must take every thought captive to make it obedient to Christ. I cannot let Satan to influence a grudge towards my husband. I cannot let him make me an emotional slave to the Letters for the rest of my life.

Whenever I begin to think of the missing Letters, I tell God, "Lord, You are the only One who knows what those letters spoke of. You are the only One who knows the physical location of those letters. I entrust them to You. You alone are worthy. You are the only One who knows how much I treasured them, and how much it broke my heart. I trust that You will give me accurate memory of her words to write her with. And I hope that if possible, I will read those again one day in Heaven."

This entry is in honor of Essakkiamal and how much her Letters have truly been a blessing in my life. Though I will never tell her that her precious letters are now gone, I can say that I will treasure her future letters all the more. This entry is also a testiment to the Holy Spirit and His amazing ability to provide grace to me and to you, even through the most difficult of times.

1 comment:

Deanna said...

I am so like you! I save and savor my letters from our sponsor child in Peru. I have every letter from the past 10 years. It has been amazing to see her grow and change. I love that you have the same heart on these matters. I think you are what Anne of Green Gables would call a Kindred Spirit. I also saw on your blog that you have an interest in Adoption?! My girls are adopted and this has been a huge blessing in our lives. Dr. Dobson had a special on adoption yesterday (1/10) and it was awesome. Thanks for your post!