“Do you believe in happy endings? I do. I want to.”
Miracles. Especially Christmas miracles. Renewed courage; refreshed faith; blessed, beautiful hope.
Two weeks ago, pain flowed from my heart onto my computer screen through “Dancing with My Creator” as Scott and I, along with our children, grieved the loss of a daughter and the loss of a family for a child longing for a place to belong. Two weeks ago. It seems like months.
Since that time, Scott and I have tried to focus on preparing for Christmas with our children, to drink in all of the joy that comes with parenting this family God has built, and to wait patiently for healing peace in our aching hearts.
We did feel peace, but under the peace, and all tangled in with the joy and excitement of the coming holidays, a sad sigh was never far away. Tears stayed just under the surface. And always, there was this feeling that this little one was supposed to be our daughter; the memory that God had clearly given us her name; the almost intangible, nagging whisper that maybe—just maybe—it wasn’t over yet even though, no matter how hard we searched or pushed, all doors and windows of hope appeared to be closed and locked.
We tried to resign ourselves to accepting that this child was one more who just wasn’t going to make it home to us. But somehow that feeling of finality didn’t come. We had to keep reminding ourselves that it was over. That she wasn’t coming home to us. While all around us, like an elusive mist, there was this feeling of expectancy. As if we were waiting for something; holding our breath.
Then it happened. Softly, quietly at first. We looked up and sensed that a locked door had creaked open ever so slightly. I wish I could say that I charged through that door, tearing it off it’s hinges with all of the passion of a mother set on saving her child. With all of the confidence a follower of Christ should have and the courage and assurance that He was saying, “It’s time for action. Come. Watch Me work.”
I wish I could boast that my faith had been strong enough to obey with the innocent trust of a child—like the one we were longing to hold and make our own—certain that no matter what lay on the other side of that door, it was part of the dance He had for me and that He would be with me.
But I have to admit that I moved slowly, cautiously. I timidly approached that door, fearful of the disappointment and hurt I might find if I opened it. I didn’t want to encounter any fresh pain. I didn’t want to let Him lead this dance that might involve more surrender of my heart.
I did follow, though. Whimpering and afraid, but I followed. And He took my hand and so gently led, breathing loving encouragement into my every step, whispering assurances of His desire to dance with me and bring beauty—His beauty, the only perfect kind of beauty—into what still sounded and felt like a broken mess.
“A bruised reed He will not break And a dimly burning wick He will not extinguish. . . “
I cherished, in my heart, a smoldering ember of hope that it could be possible. That on the other side of that door, we might find the warriors we had been seeking to fight with us for this precious one.
So Scott and I grasped hands, looked to God for the strength to hope one more time, and together, we tremblingly pushed on the door.
For several days, it refused to budge past that tiny crack. Then yesterday . . . it opened. Light poured forth.
Yes! Waiting there for us, moving to His perfect timing, was a band of warriors willing to enter this battle with us. It didn’t matter that they weren’t dressed like warriors. They were dressed like social workers, trained and officially certified to do homestudies for families seeking to making sons and daughters of orphans in China. And they represented the hope our hearts have been longing for. The hope for someone else who would finally come forward to add their voice with ours in proclaiming that this precious little girl is worth saving.
The ecstasy we experienced as we basked in this light is inexpressible. All throughout the rest of the day, the joy would sneak up and surprise us and fresh tears would flow. We gradually became able to wrap our fingers, and then our minds, and finally our hearts around the reality that there is now new, real hope that our daughter is coming home to us.
To mark this day and our commitment to trust whatever God is doing, I ordered her Christmas stocking for next year. A stocking that will match all of her brothers’ and sisters’ stockings hanging in a very long, crowded row in front of our fireplace. A red, knit argyle snowflake stocking with the name Lilyan embroidered across the cuff. A stocking that we feel certain will be hanging here at this time next year.
During these past two weeks my heart broke over and over again as I tried to absorb that our little Lilyan’s story would end like the little one’s in this video made by our son several years ago. Then yesterday, the line, “Do you believe in happy endings? I do. I want to,” played over and over again in my head. Everything had so very suddenly changed. Lilyan’s story would now be one with a happy ending.
Watch the video. It’s only four minutes of your time. You’ll be changed by it—even if only a tiny bit.
And as you watch it and cry and pray for those who are left behind and search your heart for ways to enter into the fight for the fatherless, also pause for just a minute to look up with us and praise God that there will now be one fewer of these broken little hearts.
For those left behind. But also because one more is coming home.