Monday, January 7, 2013


It's easy for me to forget what Sammy's life could have been like.

Gone are the days when Sammy would get the look of desperation in his eyes every time he saw food. Gone are the days when he would force feed himself until we finally would take his plate away for fear he may make himself throw up. Gone are the days that he would eat with one hand while guarding his food with the other so no one would steal it from him.

He has no concern for food these days. He's knows it's coming at least 3 times a day and he's beginning to realize that he can pick & choose what he likes because there's always plenty to choose from.

He has no want for clothes or toys or clean water or loving affection. He used to. But not anymore.

When Sammy first came home he would rarely cry when he got hurt. He'd scrape his little 2 year old knee or bang his head with a bump hard enough that would have sent Caedmon into hysteria. But instead Sammy would pound on the boo-boo with his fist and grimace. Every time that happened I made a point to pick him up and say, "It's okay to cry, Baby. Mommy will kiss it." He doesn't need me to say that anymore. He's learned where to come with his boo-boos.

I had some concerns for Sammy with cognitive delays not too long after bringing him home. When we started "preschool" this year as apart of homeschooling, Sammy was a lot further behind where Caedmon was at the same age. He could not put together a six piece puzzle. He could not count to 5 (or even 1!). But, today he put together a 24 piece puzzle without assistance and counted to 14. His mind is being stimulated and the intellect that he's capable of now has the opportunity to be achieved.

It's easy for me to forget that, had he stayed with his birth mother, he may have likely died before ever seeing his 5th birthday. He may have never attended school or learned to read. If he broke his leg in an accident, he may have ended up lame because of a lack of medical care. It's easy for me to forget these things...

Because today Sammy rides roller coasters and builds with legos and watches the sun set on the Pacific.  Sammy takes swimming lessons and sleeps in his own big bed in his climate controlled house. He has no need to fear water born illnesses or hyenas attacking his village at night. His life is different now. He's been adopted into a new family.

It dawned on me one day as I was watching Sammy play that his story mirrors my own. I was adopted by God into God's family when I was very young. I was raised in a Christian home and have known very little of the hardships of life apart from Jesus. It's easy for me to forget just how blessed I am. It's easy for me to forget how incredibly different my life would be had I not been adopted.

When I try to play out in my mind what my life may have ended up like if God had not rescued me, I cringe. I think of the different roads I would have travelled in my pursuit of happiness and peace and the sense of frustration and waste I would have had when I realized that they were dead ends. I think of the broken relationships and regret that would litter my trail. I think of the lack of purpose and meaning to life that would plague me.

My "normal" is so far removed from that that I tend to forget how desperate my situation would be apart from the grace of God. I subconsciously begin to think that this is the path I've chosen for myself...that I made these good choices that led me to this good place and, therefore, I must be very good.

As our reality gets further and further away from "what could have been" it's easy to lose our reverenced sense of gratitude for what Jesus has done for us. 

But the truth is, I'm not here because I'm good. I'm here because I've been rescued. Redeemed from a pit of self-destructive hopelessness and put onto solid ground.

Sammy has no clue what he's been rescued from, and I'm glad about that. It would be too much for his little 4 year old heart to bear. But one day, when we travel back to Ethiopia and play with the children there, the light will go on for him. He will see their beautiful, coffee colored, smiling faces and know that his could have been among them. He will hold children with ring worm and kiss widows dying of AIDS. He will bandage the feet of children who have no shoes to wear and offer a granola bar to a child digging through a trash heap for something to eat. And with every encounter I pray that the Holy Spirit whispers in his heart that he has been rescued.

Friend, if you are a follower of Jesus, you have been rescued as well. Maybe your life was a total wreck and God transformed it and you know full-well what a gift you've been given. I hope you never forget it! Or maybe you're like me...rescued so long ago that it's hard to imagine anything different. If that's you, take the time to imagine it. Really let the reality of it sink down into your bones. I didn't deserve to be born into a wonderful family that taught me about Jesus. No good thing is in my life apart from the grace of God.

It's easy to forget, but let's make a point to remember. 

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