Thursday afternoon, she called. Mattie, our former 13-year-old Chinese foster daughter, called and said, "Catie, I'm getting baptized. I want you there."
At that very moment, my mind had been thinking about all the broken mess that was surrounding us. My heart was so. very. heavy. for the circumstances represented in our home.
Maybe I wasn't made for this.
Then she called.
The Lumpkin eight piled in our car early Sunday morning. We drove a good while, pulling into the parking lot as Mattie's sister gave the one-minute warning from the walkway. With six kids in tow, we hurried through the sanctuary doors to see her in the front baptismal.
My breath was taken away. Tears began to fall.
There was the same girl, who nine months ago looked like she had bottled all the brokenness in the world. There was the girl we had wept over, prayed over, and knelt with as she said, "I want to give my life to Jesus."
But this girl looked so different, marked with purpose, peace and hope.
I sat on the pew, whispering, Jesus loves you into Baby J's ear. Jamie, Caleb, Benjamin and I silently cried as we watched her go under, and rise again...all smiles. I looked around me to see a family, her forever, number one family, delighting in the Father's work.
My family has grown so big.
I turned to Jamie. We almost said no. The truth is we did. We were terrified of a teenager, of an international child. We weren't equipped for that in our thoughts. But however many times we said no to each other, God said yes a million times more. So she came, and God wove us into her story of redemption, of His kingdom expanding.
Jamie looked at me. I know; we almost missed this.
Because of God's YES, I had one of the greatest honors of my life. I saw the very hand of God move in the life of a child. I was on the front lines.
"I am so very happy, Catie," she said to me as we walked around the church afterwards.
So am I.
* The fully story is Mattie's to tell. But we have been given permission from her forever family, to tell our portion here.