Then, you remember that the world is also big. We have had so much happen to us in the last month, it is hard to properly process it. Just over a month ago, we first held our precious Josiah in our arms. And we are so grateful. We stand amazed everyday of just how much he is learning. He says a new English word almost daily and is getting prepared for baseball season by saying 'ball' and 'Gapper' (one of the Cincinnati Reds mascots). If you say 'I love you', he blows you a kiss and also says 'love you'. It's amazing. And sometimes I forget that in the midst of my 'small world' mentioned above. Josiah is a 21 month old boy and if anyone has spent much time with 21 month old boys, you know that they climb, and get in everything, and push your boundaries, and sometimes hit you in the face over and over, sometimes in the middle of the night while they are also screaming. There are also moments with the older children when they have a hard time remembering they matter too, so they stand on the furniture and lay on the floor throwing a temper tantrum. These happenings were starting to close in around me. Then I read an article about how the 'baby hatch' in the southern Chinese city of Guangzhou has had to close because too many babies have been abandoned there (a baby hatch is a room set up around China where people can safely leave abandoned babies). We were just in Guangzhou a few weeks ago to get Josiah's visa. And I step back and recognize just what God has allowed us to do: bring this beautiful little boy into our family forever. Instead of laying in an orphanage, he has learned to tell his parents he loves them and more importantly, hears again and again how Jesus loves him. The other day, I realized that the very same day we moved to Frederick, Maryland, Josiah was placed in his orphanage. The same day our baby was recognized as no longer having a family, we moved towards him-to where we could get to him. We learned about the China Waiting List program from our Bethany caseworker in Maryland. We were matched with him through our China Program leader through Bethany. God was always working to bring us together.
In the midst of all of this, we are still constantly working through losing Ricky's brother Lance. Isaac and Emma prayed for months at every meal for God to 'help Uncle Lance feel better.' Now they thank God for Uncle Lance's life. The other day, Isaac prayed the old prayer for God to 'help Uncle Lance feel better.' Emma replied, 'No, Isaac, remember, Uncle Lance already feels better.' She explains that he is 'in heaven with Jesus.' These exchanges take my breath away. Yesterday, we had a very long afternoon, and as I sat in the hall catching Josiah as he jumped off our little trampoline, I was overwhelmed with sadness that Lance is really not here. Our children really no longer have their Uncle Lance on this earth. He is really not coming to visit. He will not be at Josiah's first Reds game. He will not teach Isaac to how to play Super Mario Brothers (we now have his old video games). His perfect presents will not be under the Christmas tree. And I know everything that is true. Lance is at peace with Jesus. He will never be sick again. He will never struggle again. But, we will also always miss him. We wish he was here. We wish it would have been a different story and it's a process to accept that it is simply not different. This is what it is.
So, like I said, this is jumbled because that is how my life feels. Sometimes my small world is closing around me and sometimes the big world where babies are abandoned and dear family members pass away reminds me that my world is not so small after all.
In all of this, I know that God is sitting with us. A dear friend pointed us towards Chris Rice's new CD filled with hymns and these have helped remind me each morning that we can truly hide ourselves in the 'Rock of Ages' and 'though this world, with devils filled, should threaten to undo us, we will not fear, for God hath willed His truth to triumph through us' (A Mighty Fortress is Our God).