ninety-nine in the open country and go after the lost sheep until he finds it?
and when he finds it, he joyfully puts it on his shoulders and goes home.
then he calls his friends and neighbors together and says,
'rejoice with me; i have found my lost sheep.'" ~ luke 15:4-6
i know for most of my writing over this past year i have kind of been connected to the bird thing. perhaps even over-connected. but today it was sheep. today i looked at my little girl and thought of this precious little lamb. this little lamb who was once lost. as we drove to her orphanage this morning the story of the lost sheep kept coming to mind. i couldn't recall exactly how the verse went...but i remembered the part about the shepherd carrying this little lamb on his shoulders back home. you've probably all seen that famous painting of Jesus carrying home the lost sheep....that was the image which was in my head as we traveled across guangzhou city this morning.
we were traveling to the place and to the people who had cared for bella for two years. i have seen every picture of this place i could find on google. i have dreamed strange and curious dreams about it. i have prayed for the people. and though i hate to admit it, i have felt intense anger toward the orphanage director. he withheld much information from us this entire year...and today i wasn't sure what my reaction might be if we should cross paths. you've heard about the mama bear...well, she doesn't come out all that often...but if she was to rear her awful head, today could very well have been the day.
we stood outside the gate waiting our turn to go in. the air was ripe with rain...the humidity oppressive. we were melting just standing still and my stomach was tied up in nervous knots. our guide, simon, was so cool and together and just kept talking and joking and attempting to ease our anxious minds. he walked us around the courtyard as we waited. we played on the playground with bella. she held on tightly to her daddy. the entire time at the orphanage she kept her two favorite fingers tucked securely in her mouth. we weren't sure about bringing her, but were encouraged to do so. the advice we were given was that it would be good for bella to see her orphanage and then walk back out the door with her parents. i had my doubts, but we went forward with the plan.
it was time to leave. i was last out of the building. in front of me i watched rick carrying bella in his arms out into the sunshine. i believe i had written in several earlier posts how i longed for the moment i'd carry her out of this orphanage and into the china sunshine. well, with the rain coming, there was little sunshine and i wasn't the one carrying her...but as i watched her snuggled deep in her father's arms i knew it was perfect.
while waiting for our driver the rain began. i stood in the door of the orphanage and looked out into the heavy storm. i felt the anger for this director and the anxiousness for this place completely leave my body. i will never fully understand why we were denied so much information. i have a better idea about it all now...but i will never completely get it. but...as we prepared to leave, i realized it was time to let go of this place. we were taking bella away. her new life was about to begin and it was time to set down the baggage. our arms were full of bella...we had no room to carry anything extra.
"in the same way your Father in heaven is not willing that
any of these little ones should be lost." ~ matthew 18:14