Wednesday, October 9, 2013

Redemption

Redemption...

It's been on my mind a lot lately. It was brought to the forefront of my mind as I have been watching a woman battle a pending divorce. I watch her weep and I hear her pain. I see the agony of defeat all over her entire body; head to toe. I was weeping for her and her family and God whispered... Redemption. 

I am redemption. 

I died and it looked ugly but then...

Then, all that was redeemed. 

I woke up and the greatness of that made the ache of death seem so very dim.

I am redemption. 

In the sweet reminder he gave me I was able to encourage this woman but also be reminded of the amazing redemption in my own life; in our story. Our story is a picture of the amazing redemption that only Jesus can offer. Any person who has a personal relationship with Jesus has a story and a journey of redemption. He turned your darkness into light, your mourning into dancing, your ache into joy. He made all things new which means that, at some point, all things were not new. They were old and dirty and ugly and nasty. And now; now they are new and alive and well. 

Redemption. 

Someone was making fun of me the other day. They were sarcastically discussing my overuse, in their opinion, of Facebook. They were laughing because an acquaintance of ours mentioned that they saw pictures of our son on Facebook and, in their opinion, that means that I put him on Facebook too often. I was seriously offended by this statement, probably way more than I should have been but we will save that discussion for another post. First of all, I love my son and love equates to facebooking him all over the place (please note sarcasm). Secondly, he is stinking gorgeous people...who wouldn't want to look at him a billion times a day???? And, lastly but most important...in our eyes, Isaiah is a perfect picture of the redemption of Jesus.

Our lives were in ruins after losing our daughter and Jesus brought us Isaiah. He is the hope we had been holding onto, he is the good after the bad. He is the sunshine after so much rain. He is a picture of Jesus making all things new. He is alive and well and so stinking gorgeous. Why would we not want to share him and that picture of redemption with everyone we meet? 

Also, I've talked about it here a lot but adoption...oh, it's all about redemption my friends. God decided to adopt us into his family; into his home and take our rough, dirty, ugly past and make it all new. Isaiah came from a long line of nasty pain and hurtful ugliness but Jesus...he has made all things new. He gave him a birth family and an adoptive family that will love him and cherish him for all of his days. A family to raise him to someday know of the redeeming power of Jesus that can come alive in his own heart and life someday. I could go on all day...I just love me some redemption! 

I talk about all of this to share this amazing story with you and to let you in on one of our next adventures. Read this article...because it's awesome and made me cry and hopefully you will be moved to fight for orphans in your area and around the globe. 

Amid churchgoers, an orphan pleads for a family

ST. PETERSBURG — As soon as they pulled into the church lot, Davion changed his mind.
"Miss! Hey, Miss!" he called to his caseworker, who was driving. "I don't want to do this anymore."
In the back seat, he hugged the Bible someone had given him at the foster home. "You're going to be great," Connie Going said.
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Outside St. Mark Missionary Baptist Church, she straightened his tie. Like his too-big black suit, the white tie had been donated. It zipped up around the neck, which helped. No one had ever taught Davion, 15, how to tie one.
"Are you ready?" Going asked. Hanging his head, he followed her into the sanctuary.
This had been his idea. He'd heard something about God helping people who help themselves. So here he was, on a Sunday in September, surrounded by strangers, taking his future into his sweaty hands.
• • •
Davion Navar Henry Only loves all of his names. He has memorized the meaning of each one: beloved, brown, ruler of the home, the one and only.
But he has never had a home or felt beloved. His name is the last thing his parents gave him.
He was born while his mom was in jail. He can't count all of the places he has lived.
In June, Davion sat at a library computer, unfolded his birth certificate and, for the first time, searched for his mother's name. Up came her mug shot: 6-foot-1, 270 pounds — tall, big and dark, like him. Petty theft, cocaine.
Next he saw the obituary: La-Dwina Ilene "Big Dust" McCloud, 55, of Clearwater, died June 5, 2013. Just a few weeks before.
• • •
In church, Davion scanned the crowd. More than 300 people packed the pews. Men in bright suits, grandmoms in sequined hats, moms hugging toddlers on their laps. Everyone seemed to have a family except him.
Davion sat beside Going, his caseworker from Eckerd, and struggled to follow the sermon: something about a letter Paul wrote. "He was in prison," said the Rev. Brian Brown. "Awaiting an uncertain future . . ."
Sometimes Davion felt like that, holed up at Carlton Manor with 12 teenage boys, all with problems. All those rules, cameras recording everything.
Davion wants to play football, but there's no one to drive him to practice. He wants to use the bathroom without having to ask someone to unlock the door.
More than anything, he wants someone to tell him he matters. To understand when he begs to leave the light on.
"You may be in a dark place," said the preacher. "But look for the joyful moments when you can praise God."
Picking at his fingers, Davion wondered what to say. And whether anyone would hear him.
• • •
Davion always longed for a family. His caseworker took him to picnics, put his portrait in the Heart Gallery. But he had thrown chairs, blown his grades, pushed people away.
When he learned his birth mother was dead, everything changed. He had to let go of the hope that she would come get him. Abandon his anger. Now he didn't have anyone else to blame.
"He decided he wanted to control his behavior and show everyone who he could be," Going said.
So someone would want him.
"I'll take anyone," Davion said. "Old or young, dad or mom, black, white, purple. I don't care. And I would be really appreciative. The best I could be."
All summer, he worked on swallowing his rage, dropping his defenses. He lost 40 pounds. So far in 10th grade, he has earned A's — except in geometry.
"He's come a long way," said Floyd Watkins, program manager at Davion's group home. "He's starting to put himself out there, which is hard when you've been rejected so many times."
Davion decided he couldn't wait for someone to find him. In three years, he'll be on his own.
"I know they're out there," he told his caseworker. Though he is shy, he said he wanted to talk at a church. "Maybe if someone hears my story . . ."
• • •
The preacher spoke about orphans, how Jesus lifted them up. He described an epidemic, "alarming numbers of African-American children who need us."
Then he introduced Davion, who shuffled to the pulpit. Without looking up, Davion wiped his palms on his pants, cleared his throat, and said:
"My name is Davion and I've been in foster care since I was born. . . . I know God hasn't given up on me. So I'm not giving up either."
Lane DeGregory can be reached at degregory@tampabay.com or (727) 893-8825.
How to help
At publication time, two couples had asked about Davion, but no one had come forward to adopt him.
If you want more information about Davion — or any of the 120 foster children in Pinellas and Pasco who are waiting for families — call Eckerd at (866) 233-0790. If you can't adopt but want to donate time or money, call Eckerd at (727) 456-0600. For information about children who are available for adoption in Hillsborough County, go to heartgallery

tampabay.org.


Amid churchgoers, an orphan pleads for a family 10/07/13 [Last modified: Monday, October 7, 2013 9:32pm]
© 2013 Tampa Bay Times


This is heartbreaking but it's also prime opportunity for redemption to show it's amazing power. God has a plan for this young man and I hope I hear his amazing name again someday soon. I hope and pray it's him standing up and telling the world about the amazing redeeming power of Jesus and that he puts the lonely in families. He redeems the ugly and makes it oh so pretty. He makes all things so new. 

Wesley and I are in the beginning stages of foster care. God has a plan for some sweet babies and we are hoping and praying that he will allow us to be a part of many sweet ones precious lives. We know the road will be long and full of things we cannot imagine but we know that God always has a great plan; one that is full of his redemption. Redemption for us and redemption for many precious little ones that he loves so very much. We can't wait to see all He has planned...

Much love to all of you...

Elle and Isaiah's Mommy 

2 comments:

Kellie Moledor said...

This story broke my heart. I want to call and inquire about this young man! It's all so very overwhelming when we stop to think about how many children, just like him, are stuck in a system where they may never know what it means to have a real family. But I am so excited to hear about you and Wes and your decision to do foster care! It has been both mine and Mike's prayer for years that the church would begin realizing the GREAT need in this area. I pray that through the two of you, a love for these precious orphans, becomes contagious to everyone you come in contact with. Love you!

Kellie

Hannah Leake Mitchell said...

I too have unashamedly peppered my Facebook with the chubby cheeks that are my redemption, and I have defended it as well, proclaiming that I want to cherish every wondrously adorable detail of him!! Something only someone walking in our shoes would understand. So click away, let people see that "He has done great things for us, and we are filled with joy!"