It's been an emotional couple of days around here. I have had a hard time finding the words to explain it when I am still processing it all myself.
If you have been around me any length of time you know that the two things I talk about most are God and my family. Or it might be what God has done for my family. Or maybe what God is doing in my family. I can't help it, y'all. Its what excites me, they are what I love. So Vika has heard about Jesus' love for her since she got here. She has been told how she is precious to Him, she has been to church, she has been to VBS. She has, by her request, watched The Story of Jesus for Children again and again. And she has eaten up every word of every bit of it.
At night we tell them its time for bed and she hugs us goodnight and goes to bed without complaint. But under her door I can always see the light is still on. One night when Brian went out to the car he saw her blinds were open and could see she was up reading. "Reading?", I had questioned, "but she doesn't have any books yet. All she has is a Bible and she doesn't seem interested and I think it is hard to read!" He shook his head, "I don't know what to tell you, Babe, she is reading." I talked to her about closing the blinds when it is dark but every night as she goes to bed the light stays on. A few nights later, the blinds were open again and same thing. She's clearly up reading.
While driving she saw a cross on the side of the road and pointed it out to me. I forgot about it by the time we were home but she didn't. She asked, via translator, about the cross and what it meant. I explained that people put those at the scene of car accidents when someone dies. I explained it was a way of remembering a loved one. "But", I added, "If you happen to see one in a yard it means something different. Then it means that person has accepted Jesus as their Savior". She just looked at me.
"Vika, do you know what that means? For Jesus to be your Savior?"
She shakes her head "no".
I felt my heart literally ache. Because I remember what life was like before I knew. I remember that awful emptiness inside. I remember how much more painful everything is when you don't have that Hope. So I ask if she would like me to tell her more about it. She shook her head "yes" and I could tell by her eyes she was serious. I went to a website I am familiar with and I pulled up a simple Gospel tract that explains it in the most simple way I know how. Then I pulled it up in her own language.
And she was engrossed.
I watched her eyes slowly drink up the words. How we were separated from God because no one can be perfect and we have a sinful nature. And how God loved her so much that He gave His one and only Son to live a perfect life and die on a cross to pay the penalty for those sins. For her sins. And how she can have forgiveness. And eternal life. And freedom. And peace. And LOVE. It explained how He wanted to save her, help her, call her daughter. And it explains how to make this free gift her own. If only I could have climbed inside her mind and seen what she was thinking.
Our ability to communicate is so limited. I asked her when she was done if this was new to her. She said "yes". I asked if it was interesting. She typed "I'm very interested. Thank you." We talked some and I told her I had ordered her lots of Christian books. Some were just to read for fun. Some would help her understand the Bible or explain the stories Jesus taught. She seemed happy about this.
Later that evening we were sitting with the laptop again. Headed into a new week with no plans seemed like a relief to me and I was hoping to find some meaningful/ fun activities for us to all do together. I gave her options - have you ever baked cookies from scratch? Do you want to do some painting or crafts? She just shrugged. This doesn't help. With no ideas as to what she was thinking, I tried prompting her to think about activities she enjoyed. As I typed she shrugged, so I tried to think of more open ended questions. "What has been your favorite thing about America so far"? She grabbed the laptop- she had thought of something. She typed her answer and tilted the computer toward me.
"That you are my mother."
I looked at her, into teary eyes and my throat instantly closed up. Luckily, she turned the computer back toward her and started typing because I was speechless. She proceeded with adulation I don't deserve. She said I was the kindest woman she has ever known, which made my heart hurt and convicted me all in one fell swoop. Then she paused and thought a while.
"Thank you for everything".
A few moments later it was time for bed. She always gives bedtime hugs so long and so strong that you wonder if she cracked any ribs. I don't want to correct her since she is so emotionally fragile so I just learned to position myself so that her arms are not around the lower, smaller, more fragile ribs. (Really ya'll, she is stronger than she looks!) Tonight she was less animated with her hug but she lingered long. I never pull away from her- I let her be the one to pull away because while I get an abundance of hugs everyday I am aware that she probably doesn't even get a hug everyday. She lingered so long I began to feel that pull in her chest. And you Mamas know that pull - the one when your little one is crying and trying not to make a sound. She buried her face and her chest started to pull harder until it was obvious she was bawling. I didn't know what to do, so I just held her. I ran my fingers through her hair and tried to comfort like I would my own. I just kept saying "Its ok". When she finally pulled away I wiped her tears and she went to hug Brian and went to bed. She made no attempt to talk about it and I wasn't about to make her. So she went to bed.
But I could see under the door that the light was on. And I was GLAD. I hoped she was reading that Book- the only one that has the ability to comfort and heal and fill voids that are too big for me to put a real dent into. I don't know, ya'll. We are on week 4 of 7 and I don't know what to do next. But we will keep loving and sharing and moving forward. And I can assure you of only one thing.
We will be going forward on our knees.