It should be no surprise to know we wanted to be closer to brooke. after all 6 hours away is DISTANCE. and tough distance it is. Oct. 21 i went to see Sara Groves in concert. Sara is one of my favorite Christian songwriters and singers. So i went, not knowing anything except to just listen, be still, and worship. it was much more than that for me. this was just not your usual concert. they were allowing the public to know something that i was somewhat unaware of...sexual trafficking in various countries/villages. i was blown away by the stories, rescue stories, stories of suffering, pain, ministry opportunities. during the concert a verse was read that captured my heart. Is. 1. 17 "learn to do good, seek justice, reprove the ruthless, defend the orphan, plead for the widow". just that verse alone spoke volumes to me as i sat there soaking in every word. i could not stop thinking..."Lord, what can i do, i can't even leave the state (b/c of brooke), what can i do to minister, help, comfort, support, etc..." we sang "rescue the perishing"....and once again the words to that song tug at the core of my heart and gave me a deeper compassion for a cause that was going un-noticed in some respects. i left the concert burdened. now that i've been in recovery (from various sufferings in my my own life) for a good while now, i too desire to reach out to those that are hurting, suffering, broken. it only added to the fire as i left this concert and heard what i heard.
i got up the next morning reading the text again to soak it all in. i went to my bible study (Bible Study Fellowship) and sat there with only this on my mind.....rescue, plead, defend, help, plead...i left bible study that morning with the intentions of calling the Alabama Baptist Children's Home. i did, but the one in Birmingham...they might have something. NOTHING. i was encouraged to call the other 2 facilities. It took me 30 minutes to call the Mobile campus. They put me on the phone with the director. with a few things on my mind i shared w/him and then asked him if they had any openings for houseparents. his response was music to my ears. "dani, as of TODAY we are in need of houseparents". i responded with 'you have got to be kidding me"! we talked more and i got off the phone to pick it right back up again to talk to bill. He knew nothing about what the Lord had spoken to me about (for i got home late from the concert and we started our day very early). i shared with him what i just wrote to you about and he was amazed! he then said.."dani, tell me again what passage you read. I shared with him the verse and my heart's cry. it was then he told me he had read the same verse in his quiet time that morning! oh my! this started a trickling of thoughts and wonder. the director asked us to send in our info/resume'....so since i had not worked in 8 years (8 years ago we were houseparents in Memphis at the Tn. Baptist Children's home for troubled teens for 3 years), i went up to the church to write it up. i walked in the door and when i did i saw a magazine on the table near the office. (HOME LIFE) . in big bold letters at the bottom of the page was written "Orphans Matter to God". okay, really God, are you kiddin' me. we sent in our information not really knowing the outcome.
at church the following sunday...we sang our usual songs and then he asked us to turn to so and so #....guess what song "rescue the perishing". wow!!! with gladness in my heart and confirmation i sang to the Lord. Bill, a couple of days later called and talked with the director and shared his experience with the children's home....him (bill) being a foster child and his sisters growing up in the children's home that we worked at. We then learned that Mr. Smith (director) wants to interview us at our house so, he came. the conversation could have not gone any better.
on monday afternoon bill gets a weird phone call. his caller ID says "8"....he could not get to the phone, but he tried to call back after his phone call. no one picked up! he called again...and still no one.well, in biblical days, the #8 means "new beginnings"...it was just another cloud per say of what the Lord is saying. Our obedience in taking this position has many blessings, one we are so close to Brooke (just about 5 miles from her house. we will work 12 days and are off 4...during the day we can see Brooke (while everyone is at school). and of course we can get her on our 4 days off...to spend the night etc...God has made a way--and this is all about HIM....nothing about me. grateful...just grateful! there are many years to make up...and i'm thrilled to be there w/her.
of course my heart is grieving over the loss of the friendships He has established. being on staff at a church leaving behind girls I've discipled over the years...but seeing Brooke's face and establishing my relationship with my daughter is just precious to me. we are up for a challenge, "culture shock" is what i call it...but walking under the fire and the clouds how could i not follow, how could we not walk under the shadow of the Almighty? there is not a safer place to be...bitter-sweet, you bet! even as tears flow now, ugh!...i just have no other words. our last day at our church is Dec. 14...and after Christmas we will move. I'm a bit overwhelmed to say the least. I call this our "cloud and fire" story, because the Lord's hand was all in it, just as He lead the Israelites so He lead us.