Kolkata (Calcutta) - City of Joy
Capital of West Bengal, India
It was an opportunity to stand on soil I had never stepped foot on before. Yet, I had this feeling much of the journey would resonate deep within my soul. After all, the heart that was the fuel behind the trip was orphan care. Of course when the idea of the trip was first introduced to me I quickly jumped "Sign me up, I am in." My heart lunges at the opportunity to reach out in love to the abandoned. The idea of getting out of my comfort zone in order to love on others in foreign land wasn't completely new to me. We have adopted from the Philippines, worked with orphans in Kenya and Tanzania, and have sponsored children around the globe.
I had no doubts that I would be experiencing much of the same passion and heartache I had before in other countries. I also knew we would be encountering many new faces, young and old, along the way. There would be new sights to see, sounds to hear and different spices and smells in the atmosphere. Still, the heartbreak that comes with loving on orphans anywhere in the world would be the unavoidable repeat of heart hurt overload.
This was such an amazing opportunity for me to stretch my heart even bigger, as painful as the process of that can sometimes be. I think what I was most looking forward to was hearing the stories that would be laid out for us as the backdrop of the children's homes we would be visiting. I knew we would hear heart wrenching stories of abandonment, as well as the heroic stories of those stepping in to be the hands and feet of Jesus, rescuing the once lost. However, as we actually began walking through the journey I was taken back by the immense comfort that sank deep into my heart as I heard their stories first hand. As I watched the children and heard their stories I could almost visibly see the thread of redemption weaving throughout. All of a sudden the world didn't seem quite so vast as it became so evident the Father's fingerprints were everywhere we looked. There would be no holding back from truly feeling in these moments, I could trust the Father had them in His grip.
Children's home to Children's home we would experience much of the same...
The pitter-patter of feet lining up in a row along a dirt driveway. Flower petals pressing into the precious palms of each child, just waiting to be tossed in a beautiful display of welcoming love.
Freshly painted posters boldly displaying the long awaited guests names.
It was evident they had spent hours and hours polishing their beautiful talents to be displayed with great pride as a gift to greet us and show us honor.
AND it didn't disappoint.
In fact, it would repeatedly move me to tears.
They were orphans, they were outcasts, they were considered untouchable by the majority.
As I watched them my eyes simply beheld BEAUTIFUL as if it was written all over their faces. The Lord was continually whispering the same word over and over in my ear. "Redeemed". Yes, indeed they were...REDEEMED.
Children who were intended to be broken and ruined by the enemy of our souls had been adopted by their ABBA Daddy. They were redeemed with the purpose of bringing Him, their loving Father, tremendous glory. For they shined like all of the beauty of His creation does. It is the splendor of the King that simply cannot deny his existence, for it shouts to the universe all that is good and true. It thwarts the plan of destruction and pain that had been set up for them and produces beauty from ashes. Perfect love had claimed them and their destiny had taken a detour towards everlasting love.
All of these children at the different homes we visited had experienced the LOVE of their Father. This love they had received from Him would forever change their futures. What once may have seemed hopeless was now HOPEFUL. What may have felt useless now had PURPOSE. The circumstances that brought each child to this place varied, the caregivers had different stories, their homes had different appearances. The key is the overall love story of the Father was the same. He had rescued each and every one of them with his love and he would never forsake them.
I LOVE that despite where we come from and what we have been through, God has a plan for it. There is something so incredibly comforting about the fact that we can be a broken mess, living in complete chaos and he can gently remove us from that and breathe hope for a better life into us.
These orphan children in India are literally considered the bottom of the bottom in the caste society. They truly are considered untouchable. Yet God can't take his eyes or heart off of them. He ADORES them. He is coming to rescue each and every one of them. He has created them with a very specific purpose and their story has everything to do with it.
Isn't that the most BEAUTIFUL picture of love in the universe? The bottom of the bottom being rescued by royalty. Being swooped up into the arms of the valiant warrior & protector is something we all long for at some point in our lives. To think the opportunity is always sitting there right in front of us. We just have to choose to enter into the relationship.
My prayer is that each of us will identify our orphan heart condition and we will seek the love of our Abba Daddy to swoop us up and care for us. That once we have experienced that redeeming love for ourselves we won't be quiet about it, but we will reach out to others and share our story.
For that would truly be...