First, my good friend from my previous job had purchased a ticket to a Women's Brunch for me today. We went to her church for an amazing time of Christian fellowship, fun and of course (it's the South, remember) food! But while each of those were very special gifts in and of themselves, I was blown away with the indescribable gift of sacrifice that Jesus had waiting for me this morning.
The guest speaker, Laura West, was nothing special to behold. Funny, enchanting and full of the Spirit - absolutely, yes! But what she had to share - the picture of God's greatest gift through her life - was what really touched me.
Laura and her husband, John, adopted a child - a baby - that was thrown away by the world's standards. Born to a drug addicted mother, Maleka was developmentally challenged, blind and unwanted. She was severely, severely abused and neglected (I cannot begin to tell that part of her story here.) At 17 months old, her mother purposely placed in her scorching hot water up to her neck in the bathtub - leaving her with 3rd degree burns on 90% of her little body. Left to live out her final days in a Shriner's burn center in Ohio, Laura and John thought they were simply being asked to help take care of a baby that had less than weeks to live. But that's where God stepped.
Blind, burned and living against all odds, the faith of the West family and the deep love they had for this little girl has blossomed into a story of the true gift of life, love and indescribable giving as I have never experienced previously! How God has turned this now 15 year journey into an amazing gift of encouragement and joy as only He can do is beyond my understanding. But today I have been blessed by meeting Laura, her natural daughter and her 'love' child, Maleka - who sang happy birthday Jesus more clearly than I have ever heard before. You can read about her entire story HERE.
Today I saw that Christmas is truly so much more than the twinkling lights and beautiful decorations, more than the perfectly prepared manger scene on the front lawn and more than the kids in the Christmas play. Today, I saw Jesus and His indescribable gift through the eyes of a young blind girl who sees more clearly than anyone I believe I have ever met.
I want that.
Not to be blind, or badly scarred.
I want what Maleka has in the eyes of her heart.
A love and passion for Jesus that makes Him come alive with every breath that she breathes.
Thank you - Betty - for loving me enough to take me to this conference. Thank you- Laura - for sharing your story and your precious child, Maleka with me. But thank you - JESUS - for allowing me to see your sacrificial gift through her blinded eyes and for a deeper understanding of truly how good you have been to me. It's, well, indescribable.
Thanking Him for all that He has done,