Two years ago I had the chance to go to Haiti. While we were there, we went to an orphanage. It was not much more than an old tent, some wooden benches, and concrete block dorms. At the time, I was pregnant with Little Mister, Peanut was 3, and Bean was 4. I met a little boy at the orphanage who let me carry him around all afternoon. He seemed to be sad and actually a little bit angry. He was about 3 or 4. I’d be sad and angry if I was a little boy who had to live there, too. I’ve prayed for him whenever he came to mind and asked God to rescue him, to give him a family, and to give him hope and a future.
Two days ago, God brought him to my mind again. So, I started praying. But, instead of praying & then forgetting, He kept bringing this specific child to mind. That same night in the car, the song Kings & Queens by Audio Adrenaline came on. If you’re not familiar with it, the video is filled with Haitian orphans and the song talks about how God loves and values them and has a plan for each of them. Honestly, that song bugs cynical old me. I saw the orphanages. I’ve heard of the corruption. And so, when this song came on, even after God was prompting me to pray specifically for this little boy, I shut it off. I thought to myself: “That’s not realistic. Most of those kids won’t have a future.”
Tonight I opened Facebook and saw a smiling little boy on a friend’s feed. The caption said that his adoption from Haiti was complete & he was finally home. The name was the same. The age would be right. I looked again. It was the same little boy. Quickly I messaged my friend to ask if, indeed, this was the same boy I met at the orphanage who was now adopted by his friends.
I started bawling like a baby. God does not see the orphan and think of these children as ones without a future or a hope. God does not see them in their situation and stay silent. At the very time He was prompting me to pray, He was already working to answer the prayer. And, man, He has been good enough to show me that my cynical thoughts were so wrong. This sweetheart could have been adopted by someone in California, or Toledo, or not adopted at all. But, to be adopted by a friend of a friend and to have me check Facebook at just the time that these pictures were posted? Some might say He’s just showing off. I call it an amazing mercy.
In no way am I trying to say that I have had a piece of this little one’s story. Instead, my Father has used a boy that many would consider forgotten and unimportant to show me that He knows each of us, cares for each of us, and is working in each of our lives. He is not cynical. He does not give up.
In all of the pictures of this child now, he has such a beautiful smile! His eyes laugh and you can tell he feels such joy. Forever, my memories will have an addendum. See, I can’t think of this precious boy as the sad orphan any more. God has rescued him, God has given him a family, and God has given him hope and a future.
In our room, in a spot I see right before I go to sleep and right as I wake up is a frame with the second part of Isaiah 43:1 written in beautiful calligraphy: “Do not fear, for I have redeemed you; I have called you by name, you are Mine!” In the same way that this sweet boy has a new surname and a new family and is irrevocably theirs, when I accepted that Christ died for me and defeated sin and death before being raised from the dead, I became wholly and irrevocably God’s. He called me by name. He redeemed me. I am His.
A friend and I were talking tonight about Easter activities and traditions to do at home. Let me clarify: Non-bunny and non-egg traditions. I’m not knocking those, but they are in abundance. We talked about Christmas & how there’s so many ways to incorporate Biblically-based traditions into the family. There’s nativity scenes, advent candles, meaningful songs, and tons of activities that we can do to make the holiday special and also meaningful. Add on to that the special food, fun parties, and other traditions and it’s no wonder that Christmas is the headliner around here. Oh, and there’s also those gifts. That kind of sticks with kids, too, right?
But, Easter? There’s baskets and eggs and bunnies and somehow they relate to Jesus and wearing scratchy dresses. I want to do something different.
Here’s the other thing: I want Easter to be spectacular around here. With only a few days left, I want there to be decor and traditions and a meal and all kinds of stuff. Since I can’t do it all, I don’t want to do any. And that’s not going to help. Last year we started with the Resurrection Eggs. In addition to actually going to the attic and getting the box down with those in it, I want to do just one other tradition. One other thing that’s meaningful and reminds our kids that Easter is about Jesus, who died on the cross to save us from our sins and rose again 3 days later, defeating sin and death and allowing a way to a relationship with our very Creator. I can’t have the expectation to do 20 things before Sunday, but I can do one. And then next year I can add one more. And another the year after that. Less pressure and stress this way, eh?
My friend was telling me about a Resurrection Scene (instead of a Nativity Scene) that she wanted to make with her kids. I think this is brilliant. What about y’all? Do you have any traditions in your family that help make Easter special?