Now, we are on the road! We've gone over mountains and through tunnels. We've passed field after field full of rows of sunflowers (note: it's such a beautiful reminder of how they always face the sun)! We've seen flocks of sheep out in the countryside with the shepherds laying on blankets out in the sun keeping watch. Another great picture of God's heart for us...He's always watching! His eyes are always fixed on His children! One of the shepherds we passed was up on his feet, looking... Maybe he saw one missing or knew one had wandered off! He was going after the lost one...
Our Father does this for us, too. My faithful Shepherd went after me when I was lost. He came to get me. He came after me. And the countless times in my stubbornness and willfulness that I wondered off, He tracked me down, patiently, mercifully...
Now He has given us this huge and unbelievable honor and privilege of going to get S, a lost little sheep! Some might think she's the most worthless one of the bunch. Why would you leave the other ones for just this one? Why would you spend this huge sum of money on such a one as this? How could you? Why would you? What were you thinking?
Mercy! He did it for us! He left His home, His family. He gave up everything to come to us, to come right where we are. He hurt and wept along the way. He endured much. He did it all to come to our rescue, to purchase our ransom.
I am S! I am that ragamuffin little girl - rotting tiny teeth, scraggly disheveled hair, mismatched clothes, and shoes the wrong size! I can't speak. I am speechless as I think on the sacrifice my Father made for me. Words could not have gotten me out of the messes and disasters that my life has been. Words are overrated. Being able to use them means nothing when I, like S, was in need of a Ransom! All I could do, all she can do, is cry out. He heard me when the only sound I could make was a cry for mercy! He still hears!
I was the orphan, but now I am not. I belong! I was chosen! I was set free, set into a place of abundance! No more chains! S, you will go to bed tonight in your old metal crib for the very last time! Tomorrow the mercies will be new for you too, little one! You have been chosen! You have a daddy and a momma! You have brothers and sisters! You have a MiMi and Pops, a KK, and a GrandDan and MeMa! You have a Gba and a great-grandpa! You have an Aunt Niney and an Uncle Colin! You have an Aunt Laura and an Uncle Allen and Aunt Tiffany and a whole crew of little cousins who can't wait to meet you! And there's even more! You belong to a family now! You don't even understand family! You don't know what it is or what it means, but, little girl, it's good! I promise! You will leave that orphanage tomorrow morning! It's all you know, your only home since you were 9 days old! The chains that surround your playground, you will see no longer! No more chains, except for the ones in your own little heart. And while I can't make those go away as easily as I can take you away from the chains surrounding your broken down and dilapidated playground, I know the One who can break even those chains, the invisible ones of your broken little heart. I cannot think of a higher privilege than telling you about this Father, this Ransom, this Shepherd, this Chain-breaker, this Jesus, this Mercy!
Well, here we are! Another mercy... safe traveling across the country of Bulgaria, bumpy roads, crazy drivers, and all!
All is mercy!
We are just now a hop, skip, and a jump away from you!!! I can promise you, little one, that we won't be sleeping late tomorrow! It's your big day! It's your Gotcha Day!
God's mercies are new every morning! Web, will you tell Evie that for me? Will you remind Palmer, Hank, and Barrett? And, guess what, in just a few short hours, I can tell S that amazing truth too!