In February, I traveled to Haiti to visit Keemberlie for the fourth time since May 2010. This trip was not just to visit Keemberlie. This trip was about prayer. God teamed me up with another adoptive mom, Karen, and we prayed over every child, every room, every dynamic, and even over Haiti itself. It was an incredible week. We saw Keemberlie set free from some things and so much more.... too much to tell. There is only one story I will take the time to tell here.
On all previous trips, Keemberlie has shut down all emotion the day before I had to leave her to go back home. For the first time ever on this trip she didn't check out on me when it was time to pack my bags. This time I looked up from my bags to see a sweet face with tears streaming down sitting quietly in the middle of the room. This was the first open, completely vulnerable I-hate-saying-goodbye between us.
I wasn't sure what to say or do to comfort her. The language barrier is torture in these kinds of moments. But I had taught her a few English words that week of items around our room - bed, pillow, food, etc. So I swooped her up and with my own tears streaming down, I put my hands on each side of her face and had her look me in the eye. I said, "Keemberlie, you can't come home yet, but you will one day. We have a bed for Keemberlie. We have a pillow just for Keemberlie. We have food for Keemberlie." This was my best effort to help her understand there is a real place for her and I am coming back to take her there as soon as I can. She smiled through her tears and I think she understood.
As I talked to her about her future home I had the most amazing realization. Jesus said these same things to his disciples before he went to the cross. I've read it a hundred times but in the past I've always thought of those words as simply something Jesus said to comfort the disciples. I knew it was true and I knew it must be comforting to the disciples (and us!). But I've never stopped to think of the emotions Jesus felt as he said those words. He was leaving his friends. He knew how they would suffer before coming to their heavenly home. He knew the pain they would feel in his going. And He longed for them to come with him.
As I sat with tears flowing down trying to comfort Keemberlie I was overcome with emotion realizing there was no way she could fathom what is in store for her future and no way she could understand why I must go home without her this time.... This is what Jesus must have been feeling. And that passage, for me, in that moment became so real. No, more than that - the depth of His love and the glory of heaven just filled me up. I haven't shared this story once without wanting to bawl my eyes out. If nothing else, this adoption is teaching me about love and heaven by the way this adoption on earth mirrors my adoption in Christ. I have a Heavenly Father! He loves me. He's preparing a place for me. And if He prepares a place for me I must believe He is coming back! He will return!!! He's coming for me!
John 14: 1-3 Jesus Comforts His Disciples:
"Let not your heart be troubled; believe in God, believe also in Me. In My Father's house are many dwelling places; if it were not so, I would have told you; for I go to prepare a place for you. And if I go and prepare a place for you, I will come again, and receive you to myself; that where I am, there you may be also."
I pray Keemberlie believes me when I say, "I'm coming back to receive you and take you home." Jesus must be praying the same for us. And I bet He's even more excited about coming back to take us home than I am about going back for Keemberlie. How deep, wide is the love of God!