When Mary went to visit her sister-in-law Elizabeth to announce that she was giving birth to the Savior of the world, Elizabeth called out, "Blessed are you among women!" (Luke, chapter 1) This past year has given me so many opportunities to feel as though I'm "blessed among women" as well. Please note: I'm in no way comparing myself to the mother of Jesus...just that I can understand that feeling of being truly, TRULY blessed. One such instance of blessing happened this weekend.
I started going to a local Romanian church about 6 or 8 months ago. My friend Dan and his cousin, Ramona, went there and invited me. I have such a heart for the country and people of Romania that I was looking for any connection here in the States to the place I travel to just twice a year. Slowly I've started to meet people and make friends. One of those people that I have met and begun to know is named David. A week or so ago David and I had the chance to chat at Dan's going away party (he moved to Arizona). As is typical if you talk to me for more than 20 seconds the topic turned to my work with orphans and, specifically, my work in Romania. Fast forward a few days and I get an email from Jodi, the trip coordinator for Heart to Heart International. They need me to get $1400 in a week so they can order my airline ticket. I hit Twitter and Facebook letting people know the need. One of the people who sees my message is David. He called me this past Saturday afternoon and asked if I would be willing to get up after the church service that night and talk a little about my work in Romania. I agreed and, despite the fact that I get very nervous and shaky when speaking in front of people, I managed to say a little something about why I love Romania and why I miss my boys so much. I told everyone about the Heart to Heart website and said they could find me on Facebook or talk to me in person if they wanted to hear me prattle on some more. Then I sat down and tried to stop sweating (did I mention I get nervous speaking in front of people?) and tried not to think about how much I probably sounded like a drunk idiot. Then David announced that some of the people from the church had something for me and he handed me an envelope. These lovely Romanians, who barely know me from Eve, who are all young adults and probably have something better to spend their money on like iPhones and car payments, had raised over half the money towards my plane ticket. Of course I started crying. And then people just started handing me checks and asking for the website and telling me what an inspiration I am. I'm not even joking. I seriously left in a state of shock. Just ask my friend Albert. He tried to talk to me later that night and I probably sounded high because I was trying to just process everything.
Here's the amazing thing. This was one of only 3 things that happened that was awesome this weekend. I'm saving the other 2 for another day because you might get awesome overload. The bottom line is that I'm not someone who's Mary Superchurchgoer. I don't have a hotline to God. In fact, I manage to muck up on a regular basis. I'm emotional and cry too much about stuff that doesn't matter and I worry about having a good hair day and my nail polish chipping. It's stupid really (see previous post on being a bonehead). The thing is that I'm just trying to do what God called me to do. And, for me, He said to go and care for the orphans and vulnerable children of Eastern Europe and Russia. To be a voice for them. To wrap arms around them when no one else will. To fight for them because they can't fight for themselves. To love them. It's simple really. And then I just trust that some day, some how, I'll get to the exact place where God wants me. He's the one who throws open the doors and makes straight the path. It's not like I said, "Ok, David, I'm going to tell you an awesome story about how amazing I am for working with orphans and you're going to go out and raise all kinds of money for me." Pretty much I just talked about the passion God placed on my heart and how I'm trying to follow where He leads. It's not easy, living a life like this. Sometimes you end up living in your parent's house with graduate school debt, a cat who sneezes in your face during the night, and no real sense of where the next 6 months will lead you. But it's so fulfilling. Contradiction, right? Because that's just how God is. And I don't want it any other way.