Almost a year ago, God placed a calling on my life. He said,
"You will fight a battle, and you will fight for the children who cannot fight for themselves."
Until now, I never thought I'd question that calling. Orphan care was always my haven. The place where I was most comfortable. Where I felt God move most powerfully. I felt next to no discomfort because, in a sense, orphan care was just "who I am".
This week at Maria's Big House of Hope in Luoyang, China I have been challenged more than ever before. Looking into the faces of these precious children who have cerebral palsy, Down syndrome, and other special needs and knowing that they will not always be in such kind and loving environments, where there needs are met. Knowing that they most likely would not live long after they left Maria's, let alone into adulthood, broke my heart more than anything before.
As I watched the smiles and saw God's light in the eyes of Gianna and Tabitha and Audrey and Bryan and Charlotte and countless others, my heart felt like it was going to explode and tears ran freely down my face.
Would none of them live? My body was literally clenched and racked with pain because the thought of these precious children that I had fallen so hard for would not live simply because of a deficiency in their care and an ignorance in the world of their beauty simply crushed me.
And I struggled with my calling. Was this what it meant to fight for those who couldn't fight for themselves? To watch the ones that I love the most die untimely deaths or waste away in places where they were not loved or cherished? I didn't want that. I didn't want my calling anymore. Not if it meant so much pain, so much anguish. So much of my heart feeling like it was going through a garbage disposal.
Then He spoke to me again. He said, "You will be hurt deeply by the losses, but in the end all losses will be turned to victories."
I was comforted by that, but I still struggled. Just because pain was turned to victory didn't mean that the pain wouldn't be just as devastating. And I pushed back at Him. I wrestled with Him. I argued with Him.
Why me? Why did I have to be the ones to feel the losses so deeply? Why did I have to be the one to fight for the ones that were the hardest to fight for? Why did I have to be the one to love them even though their lives might not last long?
And He spoke to me on the roof of Maria's Big House of Hope, as I was looking over the city of Luoyang, surrounded by the names of all the children that had passed into the arms of the Father at Maria's.
"Look up! Look up, my daughter! Can you hear the orphan's cry?"
As I felt the wind through my hair, I could distinctly hear a single cry on the wind. A heart-piercing cry. One that cannot be ignored as hard as you might try to ignore it. How could I? How could I turn my back on such a voice? A voice so pure, so helpless, so in need of the love of a Heavenly Father?
"Do not turn your back on the work I have given you. Do not turn your back on who you are."
I understand that watching those I love most pass before my very eyes in conditions that are destitute will be gut-wrenching. I understand that it will be a life-long struggle. I understand that it will be the most painful and yet the most joyful thing I have ever experienced.
Pain and all, I have decided to accept my calling.
And when I hear that orphan's cry...
I will be ready to run in with the sword of God in my hands.