June 3, 2012 heart defect, older child adoption, Sonia 14 Comments

When you go on your adoption trip

expect it

expect to meet Jesus there.

I did.

And then I walked right past Him.

A year and a half later and I am still haunted by my choice.

A year and a half ago we had gone to a park one day,
you know the one
in Guangzhou

with the rides
and the lake
the paddle-boats

and the fun

and the snacks
and smiles

and all the pictures we have of our newly adopted children smiling on the roller coaster as we pray it does not collapse
cuz ya know, I’m pretty sure it hasn’t been serviced in…

Ya, it’s that park.
You know the one,

the one with the one-legged homeless man lying on the street.

I saw him.
And then collectively,

we walked right past him.

If I could only rewind.

If I could only go back to that moment.
I would have done differently.
I would have done SO much differently.
I would have served.
I would have loved.
I would have cared.

I cared in my head for sure.
I thought about him.
Glanced behind me periodically while acting like I wasn’t looking at him.
Thought how awful it was that he was confined to that one section of that dirty street.
Prayed for him.

I did it all
in my head.

All the while my hands were
full of children
and full of ability.



Why did I take a perfect opportunity to be His hands and feet and do nothing?
I guess I can rationalize it…if I wanted to.

That trip can be so overwhelming.
We were so focused on our new children,
we are focused on where we are going,
on not getting lost
on making sure our passports are still with us
on ensuring that we don’t break some unknown social rule and cause chaos


And when I come upon these situations so suddenly I think my brain and body just kinda go on autopilot.

Continue. To. Your. Destination.
Do. Not. Make. A. U-Turn.
Do. Not. Recalculate.

When Jesus was on this earth time and time and time again He was approached
by the lame,
by the sick,
the dying,
the needy
and each time
His GPS recalculated.

Because His destination?
Is set on Love.

He stopped.

I want to be like that.

I want to stop.

So let me encourage you,
do not make the same grievous mistake that I did.

If you are about to travel,
to Africa,
to China
to Eastern Europe
down the block

expect it.

Be ready for it.

In between packing the bottles and diapers and stacking cups and hot wheels,
why not throw in a couple of snack bags filled that you can have with you while you walk about.
Why not throw a couple of extra water bottles in the backpack when you head out.

Why not prepare to serve?
Be ready to meet HIM.

Be on the lookout.
What can you do?
How can you make a difference?

Would it have cost me much to go back in the park and buy him a meal and bring it out to him?

Would that have made a huge difference in his day and probably taken me all of 10 minutes?

Would that have made a huge impact on my 6 children that stood there with me that day?

Could I have asked our guide if there is a store or place that I could have purchased a walker or cane for him?

Would that have made a tremendous difference in his life?

Did I do it?
Did I do any of it?

I made a choice that day.
No matter how quickly,
no matter how unexpected and unprepared I was
I made that choice to continue on to our designated destination

I want to recalculate.

That’s what I wish I had done that day.
Because if I want to continue to say that I want to love like Him
then I need to be ever ready to really act like Him.

Be prepared.
Be ready.
Jesus will be there.
STOP and meet with Him.

The King will reply, ‘I tell you the truth, whatever you did for one of the least of these brothers of mine, you did for me.’ Matthew 25:40

{photo credit}

He did.

14 responses to “Recalculate”

  1. Kim says:

    It is a rare friend who can inspire you as she speaks truth and stretch you to live beyond your lukewarm faith … all while occasionally causing you to pee your pants you laugh so hard at her authentic prose. You sista Sonia are a GIFT! Thank you for being you, keeping it real, and always pointing us to HIM!

  2. Elizabeth says:

    Thanks for the well-needed inspiration to center on Him rather than this world, Sonia. I felt it yesterday at the corner of Westshore and Boy Scout Road…I felt the tug to reach out to a homeless person, and I ignored it. I rationalized that I was alone with Aidan, and what could I really do? But I was ashamed…still am. Of course, I forget that it isn’t me–it is Him through me, and with that, anything is possible. Thank you for your posts.

  3. Jennifer says:

    Thank you. I find myself going into auto-pilot too. We will be looking for him when we travel. Thank you, this post has moved me in a big way. Thank you.

  4. Erika says:

    So timely as we leave on Tuesday to bring home out little boy.

  5. Jagi Wright says:

    When we were in China I walked by some people who were asking for money without thinking. My husband gave them some. I felt “oh good. We’re okay”…then, with a laugh, I realized that we may be ‘one body’ on Earth…but in Heaven, his doing good deeds was not going to cut it for me. 😉

  6. Susan Alexander says:

    Wow! Now THAT makes us all think, doesn’t it? It makes me wonder how many opportunities I’ve passed up to share God’s love with another person! Passed up because of being too busy, being too prideful, not wanting to “get involved”. Thank you for this great message. We should all learn to recalculate! We just never know when we will need someone else to take the time for US!

    We leave hopefully by the end of July to bring 2 boys home. I will remember this message when we are there!

  7. Maria says:

    Wow – that was a powerfully moving post. And the scripture at the end captured it perfectly. Thanks for making me think and reflect.

  8. Sonia says:

    Thanks everybody for your kind words!
    What I wish I would have added after mulling it over
    is that you should just be ready for how incredibly different things are over there.

    I know we all know that.

    We know the food will be different
    we know the sights and sounds will be different
    we know the culture and expectations will most decidedly be different
    but the needs of God’s people are also going to look incredibly different

    and that’s the part I think I left out.

    Your bubble?
    Will burst.

    When I talk about serving and loving I don’t mean that you will just run into people sitting on the street asking for change but you will see more,

    so much more.

    The naked
    the dying
    the sick
    the injured
    the children
    it’s all there.
    It’s all gonna be there.

    I cannot begin to describe the homeless crisis and social injustices that are present over there.

    Granted, I have stopped many times over here and helped.
    Given a few dollars
    gone back into a store and bought a Gatorade and a big bag of pretzels and handed it over on a street corner
    but I’m telling you
    you get over there
    and it’s gonna be different
    way different.

    I wish I had known.
    I wish I had been ready.

    Instead of acting defensively to whatever situation we came upon
    I so wish I had acted offensively.
    Because when you are on offense.
    You are prepared.
    You put on the armor.
    You fight for victory.
    You fight for good.

    When you are responding defensively you aren’t ready.
    I wasn’t.

    I guess that’s it.

    I hope my heart is coming across in this.
    I know it’s a tremendous feat to cross an ocean and love on our children
    but I guess my encouragement is this:

    Don’t let it end there.

    Because there is more opportunity and more blessing than you could even imagine waiting for you.
    You just have to stop and see it.

    • Eryn says:

      I simply adore you!!! Your blogs make me laugh and cry and ponder!! As we set off on this incredible China adoption journey, I often think about your boys and hope, just hope that our story is as wonderful and real and exciting and real and helpful and did I say?? real!! Hugs!

  9. Mary Beth says:

    Your heart is definitely coming through. We had a similar experience during our trip. It wasn’t at the park you wrote about but in Shanghai. In a very busy area, there was a woman on a mat. She was begging. It was terrible. And, like you, we walked right by, following our guide, who appeared completely unaffected by it. I have also regretted my choice to not do something. I prayed, I thought about her. But I didn’t do anything. I know that is not what Jesus would have done, and it haunts me. I completely understand where you are coming from on this.

  10. Donna O. says:

    Wow, Sonia! You have such a huge heart that follows hard after Jesus. But you don’t have to be in a foreign land to miss Him. I have regrets from being on autopilot in the comfort of my daily life right here in America. Thanks for the reminder–as only you can do.

  11. Amy Murphy says:

    Well, that gave me a kick in the pants! Very powerful!

  12. Susan says:

    Omgosh, I have the same regrets about our trip to China. A few bucks, a few minutes and a Gatorade would have been nothing for ms to give, but always I raced to catch up to our guide. They still haunt me too. Great post.

  13. Terrific post Sonia! Be ready in season and out of season. That is the life I want to live. Constantly in a state of giving away. I KNOW that is the secret to staying full. Our flesh just can’t get that connection, but that is the way I want to live. Thanks for sharing. I will remember to be prepared for this next trip. 🙂

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