“The Lord's protection has been deeply evident to me in the way that He has preserved the innocence and joy in our kids.”
Nine years ago, my brother Kent started the ‘Loving Arms Mission’, an organization which raises money to care for orphans around the world. He wanted to put religion into practical use here on earth. The first of the orphanages began in Nepal. Kent and his wife raise the children as their own, giving them not just shelter, food, and education, but also the love and stability that comes with a real family.
Four years ago, I visited Kent and his family. I was overwhelmed by the love that was almost palpable in the home. When Kent mentioned he was looking for staff to open a second home, I could scarcely believe the joy that was bursting in my heart with the hope that I could be the mother for the next group of children. I kept my excitement to myself as I went to bed that night. In the middle of the night I woke with an indescribable feeling of love all around me, as though heaven had opened up for just a few minutes. In that time, I saw how everything in my whole life had been leading up to that very moment: I had been given a strong faith with so much love and support from my parents; I had experienced the joy of having foster brothers and an adopted sister in my family of origin; I had, through a long series of events and seeming coincidences, gone to medical school and become a psychiatrist; I had never married or had children of my own. All these things and more had been part of God's plan, preparing me to be a mother to ten destitute and orphaned children. I could see how even things that had been painful to me, such as never having had a family of my own, had been in Providence. They were necessary, not only to bring me to a place where I could do something of use, but also to find a special kind of happiness I never thought I would have: I fell in love with the new father for the kids, Rajendra. He and I are planning to marry. Soon we will be a real family!
Now that I am immersed in a different culture and a completely different role in life, I find that the teachings of the Lord's Divine Providence are very important and sustaining to me. Every day I face my shortcomings as a mother. I have a low tolerance for noise, mess, and fighting. My temper is too short. I dislike having to discipline and I tire easily. In some ways it has been very difficult to blend all these lives from different backgrounds into a cohesive family. Despite my psychiatry training, I often feel I am unable to help the kids as they struggle with grief and anger from the loss of their biologic families. I frequently feel like a failure, or that there must be thousands of people who would be a better mom for these children than I am. When I am tempted to despair, it helps me to remember that God brought me here for a purpose, that He brought our family together, and that He is in charge, guiding us all in the stream of His Providence. It is comforting to know that even though I am not a perfect parent, God is, and He will take my feeble attempts to love and guide these children and use them for His higher purposes. He is always keeping them safe and on the path towards Himself. Though I can't always see how the Lord is guiding us and protecting us, I can rest in His promise given in Jeremiah: “For I know the plans I have for you,” declares the Lord, “plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future.”
The Lord's protection has been deeply evident to me in the way that He has preserved the innocence and joy in our kids. These children have all lived through poverty, loss, and in some cases abuse. Every child's story is tragic. Yet somehow they are, for the most part, happy and well-adjusted kids. They laugh and play, make friends, try hard in school, joke and tease, and bring their happiness to the whole household. Over and over again I am astounded by their resilience, and I am so thankful to God for protecting their hearts and helping them survive the difficulties they have lived through. Of course they have their struggles, but all in all they not only survive, they thrive. It is amazing to see how God has wrapped them in the shelter of His loving arms. I am privileged to be able to see His great love in this way.