August 27, 2018

What an Orphan Taught Me: Thrive Edition

8.27 graphic - What an orphan taught me: Thrive Edition

This summer, I had the privilege of participating in a trip to Limuru, Kenya and spending time with the children at El Shaddai Boy’s Home.

The first day we were there, we met all of the boys and separated them into different age groups. My ministry partner and I were with the youngest group, boys between the ages of seven and nine.

One of the boys in our group, Moses, caught my attention early on. Moses seemed to be more reserved than the other boys. He was a t shy when it came to playing competitive games and he was often overlooked by those his age and older. I noticed quickly that Moses was much more comfortable in smaller, calmer settings.

A large part of our lessons involved crafts and coloring pages. All of the boys loved to experiment with colors and make the craft their own, but I noticed that Moses concentrated harder than any of them and seemed to have a creative nature about him. One of his caregivers, Ruth, told me at one point that “Moses is her artist.”

I tucked that piece of information in the back of my mind and didn’t think much of it until the next day.

When playtime had just begun, Moses and I picked up a pair of badminton rackets and tried our best to hit a tiny birdie back and forth. We laughed quite a bit as we quickly learned that neither of us had whatever gift it takes to be any good, so we wandered back over to the large duffle bag that contained all sorts of games and activities to figure out what to try next.

Suddenly, a thought popped into my head: Moses is an artist.

A box of colorful chalk caught my eye. When I pulled it out, Moses’ eyes lit up and he began to nod enthusiastically.

As we began to draw stars and trees and various different animals, I witnessed something amazing. I watched Moses come to life.

He was smiling and laughing (and trying to speak to me in kiswahili). I was mesmerized. Up until then, all I had seen was a shy little boy who didn’t seem to mind blending in but now. . .now Moses was shining. And it was beautiful.

A couple of tears came to my eyes as I thought, “He is truly thriving right now.

Later, as I reflected on this sweet moment, I felt my Heavenly Father whispering to me, “That is how I see you when you’re doing what I made you to do.”

I was reminded that my God wants me to thrive. He wants to see me light up as I do what He has gifted me to do. Just as I gazed in wonder as Moses blossomed before my eyes, my Father delights in me as I do the things I love.

Not only does He want me to thrive, He intentionally puts me in places where I can. Even when it doesn’t make sense to me and I can’t see what He’s trying to do, He gently reminds me to “pick up the chalk”–to do what I love where I am.

It is such a beautiful thing to know that God wants each of us to live an abundant life, full of joy. He wants us to light up as we do what He’s created us to do all for His glory. And He marvels when we do.

“The thief comes only to steal and kill and destroy. I came that they may have life and have it abundantly.” John 10:10 ESV

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Because God knew that abandoned children would need help to survive, He tells us to actively meet the needs of orphans in James 1:27.

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