When Isaac was little, like three or four years old, we would sit around the table and he would often say that we need two more people to fill our table. He always talked about how we had two extra chairs and they needed to be full.
When Asher was born, Randall and I considered a third child. I just didn’t feel like our family was complete yet. Randall’s dad was very sick for the first year or so of Asher’s life and passed away before he turned two. It was hard for Randall to commit to having more children that would never know his father. That and having a third child meant buying a new car, and being outnumbered, and losing a lot of the comfort we were enjoying as each day passed and the boys grew older.
Making a firm plan to quit having children was the hardest decision I’ve made. I mourned the loss of any future babies. I mourned the loss of ever having a girl. I prayed about the decision and finally came to the conclusion that just because I didn’t give birth to any more children, didn’t mean that our family was necessarily complete. I asked Randall if we could consider adoption some day. Randall and I prayed about adoption and talked a lot about it for a while, but we didn’t seem to be feeling like God was leading us that way quite yet. I looked into foster care, and even jobs where I would care for children that didn’t have stable families. I still didn’t feel like the timing was right.
A year or so passed after the decision was final and I found God moving my heart in a definitive direction. I was sitting in a room of a thousand kids at camp that summer. I have been going to camp with these kids for a decade. One night out of our week, every year at camp, we all sit through a presentation from Compassion International. They bring a man or woman who was raised in their program to tell his or her story of growing up with Compassion. It is always moving and I am always brought to tears. But this year was different. I have always been able to sit through that presentation with no desire to get out of my chair and sponsor a child. Not this year. I couldn’t sit there any longer. My heart was pounding and there were no doubts about what was going on. This year God moved in me so clearly, I had to get up. I perused the tables covered in pictures of actual children who needed love, who needed their needs met, who needed a sponsor. I found a boy who was just about Isaac’s age. His name is David and he lives in Peru. We send him a small amount of money every month that meets his physical and educational needs. We write him letters and he sends back hand colored pictures, and my heart is full. Sponsoring a child is absolutely God’s way of adding to our family.
A while back, a couple of neighborhood boys stopped by at dinner time. I was just setting the food on the table, and Isaac invited the boys to stay. We had plenty of food, so I told the boys it was okay with me if it was okay with their mom. She said it was fine, and they found seats at our table.
As we all sat and ate, one of my boys looked at the table and said, “Now every chair is full.” It brought a huge smile to my face. For the rest of our lives, we will be welcoming kids into our house to love, and treat as our own for the time that they stay with us. We’ll be loving and praying for David and hopefully we’ll add another kid or two to our sponsored “family.” These kids don’t need to come from our DNA for us to love them.
I pray that God continues to fill our table and make our family complete. I know so many of you are loving on neighbor kids and volunteering with kids at church and school and doing your part. Thank you. That’s what this world needs. But I challenge you to pray for some kids you don’t know as well. You know, the table in my dining room is an essential piece of furniture in our home. It is where every meal is eaten and much bonding had. Visit the Compassion site and pray over those kiddos. I fear that many of these kids you will see don’t even own a table, and a square meal every day is not their norm. Pray that their needs will be met. Pray that they will find God and a sponsor who will love them unconditionally. Pray that God will show you if you can play a role in their lives and may your hearts and tables ever be full!