“It’s only two days,” I told myself.
My first instinct had been to say no. How could we open our home to children for two entire days? We, of all people, were not prepared for something like that. We don’t have any children. What would we do? What would we say? We could not possibly relate to them or know what they needed. We don’t know the first thing about kids. Of course, one day we will, but not now; we aren’t ready! Surely, I told myself, there are other families much more equipped to do something like this.
During the last week of sign-ups for host families for His Little Feet, however, I watched other families that I considered much more “equipped” to do this, say no. And as I stood in the foyer at church, I heard God tell me yes. And I realized, in that moment, that I desire God to provide me with opportunities to do much harder, holier things. And if I expect Him to ask me to do those things, I had better say yes when He asks me to do the easy things. Things like opening up our empty bedroom to a few children from overseas as they minister to families in our community. And so I said yes.
“It’s only two days,” I told my husband.
“I thought you said you didn’t want to do it,” he asked me apprehensively.
I told him I didn’t think I did – that I didn’t feel prepared to do this – that I was uncomfortably nervous about it too. And with that nervously short conversation, we prepared our home for “only two days” of child-sized guests.
Twenty orphaned children in groups of two to four from Ethiopia, India, Kenya, and Haiti. I’m sitting in my office looking at these faces smiling back at me from my computer screen. In choosing which group of children will spend two days with us, my head is telling me to choose the youngest group. Somehow, they will expect less of us because they are younger. Maybe they won’t notice how ill-equipped we are to do whatever it is we are supposed to do in these two days. But my heart, that rebellious trouble-maker that it is, locks on to two ten year old girls from Kenya. Something about their names, the fire in their eyes.
“It’s only two days,” I tell myself as I write my name next to theirs, Melda and Marvelous.
It’s Sunday evening. I have two young ladies from Kenya in my backseat as we are driving home from church.
“Auntie, do you have any children?” Melda, the inquisitive one, asks me in her sweet accent before we make it out of the parking lot. I tell her that we don’t yet. I leave it at that, though my head begins to swim with the untold year long journey of finding Asher that is only beginning.
I get them home and settled in for the night.
“It’s only one full day tomorrow,” I tell myself as I go to sleep.
And it was one full day. Good morning hugs and bowls full of honey nut cheerios. “Yes, please,” and beaming little smiles. Guitar lessons and nature walks. Tortilla chips and ketchup. Marvelous, the adventurous one, shouting “amigo” followed by a boisterous giggle. Two little girls side by side, contently pushing a shopping cart through Walmart. Hugs full of gratitude and hushed excitement from simple Barbies to take home. Clumsy, inexperienced hands petting our dog. The first time holding a paint brush, creating something all their own. Serious discussions among themselves about the proper spacing of cookie dough on the cookie sheet. Tinkerbell movies, warm cookies, and milk.
A splatter of questions. “Auntie, what is your favorite color?” “Auntie, what is your favorite food?” “Auntie, what is your favorite pet?”
“Auntie, when did you become a Christian?” It was at this moment that I knew a piece of my heart would forever belong to two Kenyan girls.
Pajamas and goodnight hugs. A bedtime prayer – so innocent, so perfect – prayed over us.
It was only two days, I realize on Tuesday as we prepare to take them to their tour bus and the other children. The goodbye hugs last longer than I expected. Sweet Melda squeezes tight as I fight back tears. A lifetime of strength and beauty wrapped up in such young little girls.
“It was only two days,” I say to my husband on Wednesday as we shut the door to the empty bedroom.
Our house is quieter. Our hearts are wrecked but somehow fuller. In two days, two ten year old girls from Kenya opened our eyes and our hearts to the boundless love of Christ. It is because of their stay that we got a tiny glimpse of our future with Asher. It is because of their hearts that we have heard God call us to do more, go further, and say yes to those scary things. Things with eternal value – things that tear your heart apart but fill your soul.