We are at the 1-week mark... Her name is on our calendar for airport pick-up day! The children have their own countdown calendars in 2 different places in the house.
We have a few things that we have bought Sandija in her heart language so that when she is with us, we can share the hope we have in Jesus. We bought the Jesus film on DVD in Latvian.
And yesterday, these CD's arrived in the mail. We are very excited about this treasure! We found a very nice Canadian missionary family who lives in Latvia and does professional Christian music in Latvian. Needless to say, we were very happy to get our hands on some music that Sandija can listen to while she is here. The main reason is for her to have some Christian lyrics deposited into her soul, and the other reason is for the soothing sound of her own heart language. For those of you who have ever visited another country, you know how very overwhelming it is to hear a foreign language all day (I have sometimes felt my head would burst!). Hearing your native tongue can be a calming balm to the spirit on long days, so Sandija will have these CD's (and the lead singer autographed them and wrote personal notes to Sandija!).
And my very favorite gift...her brand new Bible! Our sweet new friends who made the CD's also sent this Bible for Sandija. The cover is very soft, and there are beautiful photos all throughout it.
I placed one of the ribbon markers in Psalms, and the other is in the Gospel of John. Our oldest daughter plans to have a quiet time each morning and night with Sandija where both girls read their Bibles. We want Sandija to see how she has personal access to her Heavenly Father, the Father of the fatherless.
Preparing for Sandija's visit has been very enjoyable for us. We have been shopping for a brush, toothbrush, 4th of July shirt, girly things, etc. We have been busy cleaning out closets and reorganizing the bedroom where she will be staying.
So, why all the fuss??
One day while I was cleaning the outside of a window that hadn't been cleaned since...well...hmmmm...let's just say it had been a long time. I was scrubbing it and thinking about Sandija's visit. And a conversation came to my mind from a few years ago. My friend Kerry was sharing with me some struggles and joys of the road of orphan ministry, teaching me truths that I have only come to understand as I've walked the road myself. And on this one day, she was telling me about how one morning a few days before Christmas she was cleaning her house in preparation for an orphan whom their family had taken under their wing in the spirit of adoption (she lived in another country and was unable to be adopted, but Kerry's family treated her as a daughter and had invited her to spend the Christmas holidays with them). Kerry was busy deep-cleaning the house, and she stopped and laughed to herself, "What am I doing? You'd think I was preparing for the queen of England!" And she said the Holy Spirit stopped her and said, "You ARE preparing for royalty. I am Father to the fatherless, and she is my daughter. You are preparing for the King's daughter." What a sobering reality.
If a King were coming to our house, would we not prepare it differently than we would for regular guests? Wouldn't we want to show the sweetest, most sincere hospitality and attention to detail? Wouldn't we dig out our china dishes and make our most delicious meal? Wouldn't we plan and prepare some surprises that we knew would make Him happy?
And if a King (or His daughter) were to come visit us, would we deliberate over a special gift to give? If the King said, "Please give my daughter some shoes," would we carelessly rummage through an old pile of discarded shoes, or would we take her to the store to let her pick out some she liked? Really, how would we treat a King or His child?
Don't get me wrong here...I'm all for good bargains and resale items that are gently used. We have chosen a few of our oldest daughter's clothes and shoes that are still in near-new condition to give to Sandija, and we know she will be blessed to have them. So, I'm not talking about that. What I'm talking about is the heart attitude. Am I treating her like the daughter of the King of Kings, or am I treating her like an orphan? Do I give to her with an attitude of, "This old used thing should be good enough for you," or am I seeking to please the King by what I give and do for His daughter? Do I think I'm doing her a favor just by letting her be in our home for 5 weeks...like throwing some dollars at a homeless man on the street? Or do I, instead, savor the miracle of how God Himself chose our family to spend 5 weeks with one of His own children? Do I prepare her room with an attitude of, "Well, it will surely be better than what she's used to," or do I prepare for her arrival as if I'm preparing for royalty?
She is royalty. God Himself is Father to the fatherless, and He is King of Kings...so, by definition, Sandija is the King's daughter. Really...what an absolutely humbling honor to prepare for her arrival!
One more week...