on earth as it is in heaven 2011-02-17 15:38:00

“Jesus! Mama, baby Jesus! I want to see! I want to see Jesus!,” shrieks my littlest darling.

How can I refuse? I lift her, for what seems like the hundredth time this morning, to the manger scene on the living room bookshelf. She gazes in wonder, oohs and ahs, gingerlyfingering the cornhusk baby in his twig and banana fiber trough.

“Jesus, Mama,” she whispers.

And so, the nativity scene that once was packed away each year after Christmas remains on the bookshelf still, because my darling baby, in all her wondrous excitement reminds me daily of who I want to be, the kind of life I want to live.

A wide-eyed, expectant child, gazing in wonder on a beautiful Savior.

In the middle of a broken, sin-crushed world, my soul cries out, “I want to see! I want to see Jesus!”

I want to see Jesus.

My darling Karimojong sister Maria, who is battling severe, gripping alcoholism, and her sweet baby are living with us still. People wonder, even gasp, that I would let her join us at our table. Isn’t she a poor example? Why would I subject my girls to that?

I want to see Jesus.

Newborn baby Noah snuggles to my chest as his mother lays dying in a hospital bed. He cried through the night and I feed him and kiss his pink toes and pray over his little life. Why do I do it? Don’t I have my hands full enough already?

I want to see Jesus.

Zulaika, her severely malnourished baby and her 8 year old daughter move into our home while we teach Zulaika how to care for her children and find her a job so she can continue to do so. They have lice. They do not bathe. Fear creeps up the back of my throat and I wonder, what if all my children get sick? But we have taken in sick people before, and each time He hedges us in protection. People ask, do I feel that I am being responsible?

I want to see Jesus.

Jane and her birth mom spend the weekend in our guest room. I figure if I cannot parent this my daughter, the least I can do is teach her mother about our Savior, invest time in their lives, pray over them while we love them. My heart breaks in two as her high pitched, breathy giggle once more fills my home and the pain threatens to paralyze me, but I won’t let it.

I want to see Jesus.

Strangers eat at our table, bathe in our showers, sleep in our beds, share our everything. And I fleetingly wonder if it wouldn’t be better for my girls if I maintained some semblance of normal, but He shows me that HIS definition of family is not at all limited by my own.

I want to see Jesus.

I want to see Jesus and if I don’t step out, how can He come in? If I don’t give all of myself, my home, even my family, how will He be magnified?

Do I want my children to be safe? Absolutely. Do I want them to have a “normal” family dinner sometimes and be healthy and not be subject to the rage of an alcoholic or the hurt of friends dying and siblings leaving? Of course. But more than that I want to take a cue from my baby girl.

I want to whisper to them excitedly each morning, “Look, Jesus.”

I want them to see Jesus. In my life. In my actions. Lifted High. Magnified. In our neighbors, no matter how sick or dirty. In our home.

I want the best for my children, I do. And I believe with all my heart what is best is for them to have a mother – a crazy mother even – wide-eyed in wonder, recklessly chasing after her Savior.

More of Him. We want to see Jesus.

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