Thursday, January 12, 2012

Grace In The Mail

I'm a spread-too-thin mother caring for a 3-year-old arthritis patient who will not participate in her own wellness. If you know a 3-year-old, you're not surprised at that.

She is too thin, yet she won't eat enough.

I need to press her tear ducts closed after steroid-drop administration, to lessen the chance of absorption into her bloodstream. Yet she fights.

She needs to take liquid with her anti-inflammatory, yet she fights. "I'm too full" she says...something I hear so often now.

She doesn't sleep well; I sleep so erratically I'm functioning on God's strength alone. My husband passes me in the hall, commenting, "How much longer can we live like this?"

The days are hard. The nights are hard. Not compared to so many households around the world, I realize.... for blessings are brimming over in our house, too. But still, it feels hard.

And then a letter comes in the mail, as I pray for strength to get through my day:

I am very glad to write you this letter. I thank God for giving me to celebrate Christmas. All my family are well, my school is going well too. This year we are learning Bible verses and poems for Christmas. Please pray that I will be good at math. How will you spend Christmas? I love you. 

With Love, 

Raphael is our twelve-year-old Compassion correspondent child from Burkina Faso, Africa. I've been writing him since September, expressing We love you in all but the first letter to him. And I mean it. I don't know about his personality, in particular, but I understand twelve year olds can be sassy and not-so-sweet anymore. I have wondered how my letters were landing with him. But we think of him every day, pray for him every meal. I've never met him, but the love is in our hearts so I express it to him, hoping God will help him understand how strangers can sincerely love him. Sincerely love him, with our whole hearts.

This is the first letter I've received with the words "I love you". It broke me. Straight from God, those words. I knew they were from God, read with anticipation by me, a mother needing divine love and strength at the very moment I opened the letter.

Raphael, I'm sure, sincerely means them. And it is all God, reaching out to both of us in our afflictions and hardships.

The rest of my day was still hard, but the words sunk into my soul. God cares. A twelve-year-old boy from a whole different world, cares.

Such a beautiful manifestation of grace. God doesn't often take away our afflictions. But when he said, "My grace is sufficient for you, for my power is made perfect in weakness", he meant it.

2 Corinthians 12:9
But he said to me, "My grace is sufficient for you, for my power is made perfect in weakness." Therefore I will boast all the more gladly about my weaknesses, so that Christ's power may rest on me.

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