Recently I have become aware of just how widespread my family is. Many of you who know me might find this strange considering I only have one brother. One sibling is certainly not widespread compared to the many families around us. However, I do not only have one sibling. I have others... They do not have the same skin color, or same parents, but they are every bit as much my siblings as Brent is.
Eleven years ago I met a three year old little boy. I immediately fell head over heels for this little fire ball. He was crazy! He was constantly in trouble with one teacher or another and could not sit still for anything. However, he had a heart of gold & a smile that lit up the room! He quickly stole the hearts of my family & we have never been the same since. I had the privilege of teaching this little boy when I was twelve. Every week I would take him into the hallway & tell him "You are a leader. Now you can choose to be a good leader or a bad leader."
Now that little boy is fourteen years old & he still refers to us as his siblings. In fact, we went to one of his tournaments this weekend & he introduced me to his entire basketball team as his sister. Each of his friends clearly had the expression of "But she's white!" on their face. However, that didn't bother Elijah. We both know that the color of our skin means nothing! He is my brother. I love him just as much as I love Brent & I would do anything to ensure that this child is successful & that he has a place in heaven someday.
Furthermore, it is not just myself that feels that way about him. Brent also claims him as our little brother. My Mom claims him as her son, and my fiance claims him as his brother also. We do not claim him for the reasons that some believe. We are not interested in his ability in basketball. While we love to watch him play we are much more concerned with the eternal. We love Elijah's ability to honor God in spite of the things he has been through. We love the leadership role that he takes in leading his younger siblings. We love watching him at Contact with other kids. It's not about a basketball game! It is about this child having & knowing the love of HIS Lord & the love of a family.
Ministry would be easy if we believed that teaching scripture on Sunday mornings sufficed, but that is not the only thing we are about. Teaching scripture is the most important thing I could ever do. However, my life should be a sermon! If I do not live it out every day, it means nothing! Elijah needs to be loved every single day... NOT just on sundays. He needs to see Christ love through his family... not just hear about it.
As I have stated many times, I do not take my commitment to the Lord's work lightly. Ron has often said that he loves that God shook up my plan. I had every intention of doing mission work in Honduras following college & Curtis was willing to follow that call with me as well. Yet God had a plan for me to stay here. He used foreign mission to teach me tools & then HE brought me home. HE brought me to a place where my entire family could be a part of HIS mission together. We will NOT quit! No one in my family is walking away! When God places a call on your life you must follow it. Even when it's scary, even when it's painful, & even when others oppose you & slander you. It is about the LORD & HIS children & their need to know HIM.. Nothing else matters.
I am so very blessed with a family that taught me early that the color of my skin didn't matter & that Elijah is & always will be my brother. I am also blessed that I have friends that have followed the same calling. Two of my very best friends got engaged last weekend. Dillan included one of our seven year old boys in his proposal. This little boy refers to Dillan as his big brother. On Sunday morning I asked the kids to tell me something cool God had done in their lives that week. This young man said, "I got to see Dillan & Ariel last weekend. Dillan gave her a ring & she cried. " I said, "Why is that something special? Did God make marriage?" He replied, "Yep. God did it!" If you have not been around Contact you have no idea what a monumental moment that was in the life of this child. Our kids do not see marriage. They do not see family. Therefore, to have the opportunity to be involved in a proposal was a huge ministry tool! I am so grateful for the hearts of Dillan & Ariel & that they got engaged in the middle of the hood. What a lesson!
Our lives are such a beautiful story of who the creator is. He has made a beautiful masterpiece out of our tiny efforts that seem of little value. I am so thankful for the way HE is weaving together Curtis & I's lives, as well as Dillan & Ariel's so that as a team we can honor HIM & we can continue fighting for HIS children. This call is not easy... It is difficult & it's gonna take everything we have, BUT in HIM we can accomplish what HE put us here for. We can show these children FAMILY. We can show them the love of their FATHER & through that love HE will transform lives!
1 Thessalonians 2:8 "Because we loved you so much, we were delighted to share with you not only the gospel of God, but our lives as well. Because you had become so dear to us."