Today’s guest post is from Aixa de López, a friend of Lemonade International and advocate for the people of La Limonada. She serves alongside her husband Pastor Alex Lopez at Fraternidad Cristiana de Guatemala. She blogs regularly (in Spanish) at www.aixadelopez.org. Today’s guest post is a beautiful reflection on God’s heart for the poor and vulnerable in our midst.
She came home with a bunch of beautiful hand-written notes and cards from her new classmates. She was beaming.
You see, the day before, they allowed me to come into what would be her class, to show them a little video about her, about her story.
My husband and I wanted her classmates to know her and to know some of the facts that made her different from most of them, like that for the first nine years of her life, we didn’t know each other because she lived in an orphanage, and that even though she didn’t grow in my womb, she is very much ours. Our real daughter. I explained what adoption is, what a biological mother is, and what makes me, in one little boy’s words, her real mom.
Explaining how she’s unique, so as to purge their curiosity and filter their not-so-polite questions before she came to them, was strategic, but it certainly was not enough. I wanted them to connect with her, not make them gravitate to what made her a novelty to them. I hate it when people insinuate that our two adopted children are some sort of charity, and if I only told about what makes her not like her peers, I run the risk of getting pity. No thanks.
So how to connect? How would I do that? By taking them further in, to see what makes her a normal little girl. After showing them pictures of us, of how we met, of how we lovingly welcomed her home, I proceeded to show them what she loves: tigers, puppies, the color green, soccer – specifically, the Spanish team Barcelona. That made her one of them. By the end of my presentation and Q&A, the whole crowd of eight- and nine-year-olds were on their feet, clapping and asking when she was coming.
I loved everything about that experience, but especially that we shattered the movie-stereotype they had in their young minds about who an orphan is. She became real. A person to greet, to hug, to make friends with – a girl just like them. JUST. LIKE. THEM.
To serve one another, in any shape or form, we need to come to grips with the fact that none of us are above anyone else. We are all beggars before God. Terminally ill, in desperate need of The Cure. It’s tragic when we fail to see ourselves in those who are different than us, and far more so, when we fail to see God’s image in the people we aim to serve.
If we only get close enough to see what makes others “weird” to us, we will most likely either wrinkle our noses and walk away, or serve them out of pity, not true love.
And that’s the thing about us, the ones who’ve received the gospel. If we are honest, the man left for dead on the side of the road in that famous parable is us. That’s exactly how Jesus found us. ALL of us. None of us are that different. When encountered with the Truth that none of us are righteous enough, that even the “best” of us don’t make the cut before a Holy God, we are all reduced to mere beggars, dying to get a bite of that Bread of heaven and a gulp of Living Water. He is our only way back.
When we realize He came to get us out of the dump, even if we looked like upper class executives, our whole understanding of “normal” Christian living has to be dramatically impacted. We never let ourselves forget we were brought in dead, because Love came out of nowhere to save us. We keep preaching this gospel, that while we were yet sinners, Christ died for us – paid for us with a costly ransom.
We go in with a heart that knows firsthand what being desperately hungry feels like, because spiritually that’s exactly right. We look into their eyes and we hug and we hurt alongside them, and we pray and we see beauty because we see ourselves.
We become His hands and feet and we write a note with our sacrificial love – with deeds – that says, like my favorite note of them all, I like tigers too.