Oh this guy! He is my precious, sweet, sensitive, smart, caring, prayer warrior. The boy has had a passion for prayer since he was 4 years old when he would get this intense, immediate, need to desperately have a photo of what God had put on his heart to pray for.
I was first introduced to his deep sensitivity just two weeks after we brought him home from the Philippines. I was reading him a book by Steven Curtis & Mary Beth Chapman, Shaoey and Dot, when the boy brought me to tears.
We turned to the page where there are babies in an orphanage all lined up in cribs. Nate, who was about 9 months in size at 2 years old, leaned into the book and kissed every single baby pictured on the two pages. I am telling you I was undone. I will simply define it as a precious moment that contained too many emotions for words.
In the 7 years since that time he has remained a faithful saint who seeks God with the the worries and concerns of his heart for this world. He is deep, and it always surprises me what he comes up with to pray about. He is always thinking on a level I didn't know he was capable of.
So back to present time, here we are finding ourselves in the middle of the food month on our 7 Experiment. Nate had chosen the Philippines for a week's focus of fasting, prayer and food. He was so very determined to dive into a week of intense focus. He had things pressing on his heart for such a time as this. The first day as he was bringing up things we could pray for his homeland he was popping out all kinds of stored up prayer treasures he had tucked away over time. One such thing was..."Oh... and pray for eveyone within a 1 mile radius of the hurricane that hit - there was a lot of destruction and injured people" What???? Where and when did he hear this and tuck it away in his heart?
Day two into our week and the boy was beginning to show signs of fatigue. He was distracted, having problems focusing and praying. The next day he woke up and came to the table for school, we were doing prayer time and he wanted to share a nightmare he had. His Grandfather in the Philippines had found him by searching his name and he requested that Nate return to the family in the Philippines. He had to leave us and he did not want to go. Of course instantly my heart went out to him. I hugged him and told him that must have been such a terrible feeling. I forgot to clarify one thing though....
As the days of the week passed I am watching him turn even more distracted, disconnected and now he is beginning to seem uncaring of things that would typically break his heart. He literally cannot pray now, he has no words as we gather. We had our prize rabbit run away (which we believe may have been due to Nate forgetting to close the door) and he just didn't seem to even care. So uncharacteristic of him.
As I was sitting there so discouraged, ready to toss in the towel on this 7 food thing. Ready to I don't know what with Nate's flip in personality, feeling some heaviness in my spirit all week and not seeing how to pull this family out of the muck. God gently reminded me... "You forgot" ... "Tell him"
I approached the topic with him. "Nate, have you been worried every day about being taken away from us?" "Has your nightmare been bothering you ever since you had it?" He instantly heaved forward and grabbed his stomach saying "Ouch" "My stomach hurts" "I feel sick". I sensed this was not a true physical illness but a spiritual one. So I pressed a bit more.
I pulled the little guy up on my lap and apologized. "I am so sorry Nate. I forgot to tell you...you are safe. You are ours. You belong here. You are protected here - you are a US citizen" and "You know what Nate - more than anything else - your Abba Father cares SO VERY MUCH for you - he is bigger than anything else in the world and he's got your back!" . As we prayed I could see him physically lighten - he began to smile for the first time in days. He was relaxed and snuggling into me. Once again I could tell he had found his security of home.
At the same time this weeks focus on the Philippines has also stirred up in me a BAZILLION emotions about his Mama. Anytime we talk about her and what she did for him I become a puddle of tears for a couple of days. I cannot even fathom. AND let me tell you - if she knew this little guy- if she could see his adorable face, hear his precious words and know his heart, there is not a chance in this world she would let him go. He is such a treasure. As my heart greatly rejoices in having this tender heart as my son, my heart breaks for the Mama who gave birth to him at a hospital.
I have played out his arrival into the world in a mental movie many times...
She arrived at the hospital all alone, scared and sad. She had absolutely no way to care for this precious one she was carrying, no money, no food, no shelter. As she was writhing in pain the nurse handed her forms to fill out. Between contractions she filled out the paperwork with all false information so she could not possibly be found. After a few hours of painful labor, she rested and spent some time holding her precious, brand new baby, she then gently got out of bed, laid him down and snuck off into the night... never to be seen again.
I can tell you most of those events are in fact truth. I can't tell you what she looks like, I can't tell you the motivation behind her choices. I can tell you - I LOVE HER deeply! I think she was brave & beautiful.
We didn't see any of this weeks story coming. We were eagerly anticipating a week full of joy, celebration and prayer for the hurting in this country. I never for one second thought it would dig up some deep, painful questions. I believe though these are the defining moments in our life where we live out the love of Jesus authentically. Nate needed to go through this, we needed to go through this. We needed to seek God for wisdom in how to navigate this. We needed to walk it with Nate and show him how we respond when we feel under attack. And guess what? God showed up and did what only He can do - He brought light into a situation that seemed full of confusion and despair.
Next weeks focus: India. Have I told you yet I am headed to India in a couple months? I am praying God allows this to be a week of strengthening and learning. It will be what it needs to be though. The battles make us stronger in the fight as we learn to pick up our weapons and face it head on.
For today... we will rest and rejoice - for God is GOOD! and...
WE ARE F-A-M-I-L-Y!!!
And that about wraps it up. God is strong, and he wants you strong. So take everything the Master has set out for you, well-made weapons of the best materials. And put them to use so you will be able to stand up to everything the Devil throws your way. This is no afternoon athletic contest that we’ll walk away from and forget about in a couple of hours. This is for keeps, a life-or-death fight to the finish against the Devil and all his angels.
-Eph. 6:12 the Message