Over the last year I have commented many times that fact I have four kids. And I do. About a year ago a fourth child showed up at our door step and has made his home with us. He is in every way ours, every way that truly matters. There is a story behind that adventure, a story I am sharing today.
I didn't really think our story was one that needed to be shared. It isn't a secret by any means, but just nothing I felt needed a large banner moment. A child needed a home, we opened ours. I thought it was a simple story. And in many ways it is simple, but a letter our youngest wrote a few weeks ago landed in my lap yesterday opening my eyes to something bigger.
Last year just about this time on my way home from High Point my oldest called me on the phone. He was in his senior year and had an amazing group of friends. One of his friends, the one I truly knew the least was to find himself without a home in a matter of weeks. He wasn't an only child, but one of five and he and his twin sister were coming up on their 18th birthday. A milestone his family felt made him a man and ready to make a life for himself on his own.
My oldest had a simple question, could he live with us. I recall driving on the long highway home that night truly overwhelmed with so many emotions. I think the biggest thing I felt was truly a simple thing. He needed a home and we would give him one. There are many other feelings I have about the situation, many that just don't deserve to be spoken or shared. The most important thing to know is that our child saw a need and stepped up to the plate. I could not in any moment have been more proud of him.
Ryan moved in about a month later, actually the week before Thanksgiving. He and our oldest share a room. Two beds, two desks, basically two of everything. He brought with him all he had, some clothes and a few personal things. I remember sitting and praying before lunch and thinking I was truly thankful for so many reasons. Thankful for our children, thankful for our new adventure, thankful for our full home.
While our oldest is in his first year of college, Ryan works full time. He has two dreams, to act and to join the ministry. We are doing our best to channel those dreams into a reality for him. He needs a goal, a path and a lot of hard work. Other than that he is happy, healthy and thriving. I couldn't be more proud.
You can't miss Ryan in a room. He is the one with the greatest wit, the loudest laugh and the last one to leave any gathering. He is smart, gifted and has a heart for others I can not explain. He loves his Savior and he loves us and for that we are truly blessed. Four kids isn't easy, and getting one with 18 years of history is quite the challenge at times. I wouldn't change anything at all, the journey has taught me and blessed me more than I have given. But isn't that the way it is supposed to be?
The little one was tasked with writing a devotion for Camp Hope. The camp is a summer camp for children who have one or more parents who are incarcerated. It is a six day free overnight camp that gives prisoners' children (from the metro Atlanta area) a week filled with love, fellowship and activities. Their goal is to break the cycle of incarceration and hands down they put on the best camp in town.
Here is her devotion ...
"Take delight in the Lord, and He will give you the desires of your heart."
My story that relates to this Bible verse is about a boy named Ryan. Ryan was one of my brother's friends in high school. He was having some family issues; his dad was kicking him out. Ryan wasn't the only child; he had a twin sister and three other sisters. They weren't getting kicked out, just Ryan. My brother told my mom that Ryan needed a home and my mom let him stay with us. Ryan was a Christian and worshipped God a lot, but he needed help. After a couple of months, he got a job and works for good pay, but he is needy for love that his parents never gave him. I gave him all the love I could like he was my own brother, maybe even better. Ryan got happier and happier as long as he stayed with us; he prayed each and every night to be happy. Just like the verse says "Take delight in the Lord, and He will give you the desires of your heart."
My faith in the Lord is very strong. God gave his one and only son to die for our sins, and in return we should all believe in God. If God didn't exist, you and I wouldn't be here right now. Jesus was tortured for us, beaten for us and He died for every single person on this planet. Faith in God means that you love and respect Him. It doesn't mean that you disobey your guardian or do something that you know you're not supposed to do. My whole family and I were praying over Ryan and we had to believe that God would help him. You and all your friends gather together maybe once or twice a week, and pray together. Please, do it for me and your parents. I hope you have a great time at summer camp next year. Always remember God and what He has done for you. And if you do, you will go up to Heaven. Merry Christmas and a Happy New Year.
My goal when I move on from this world is to leave a legacy. I hope to have raised children that love others no matter what. Loving others is by far my favorite thing to do. Little glimpses into my children's hearts is so incredibly special to me. Being their mother is and will always be my greatest joy.
Happy Friday from all six of us!