Another Friday morning driving through bumpy, muddy, red roads.
Another Friday morning waiting in home affairs.
Another Friday morning thinking I have at least a small grasp on the realities, the brokenness, and the places of hope-in-the-making around me.
Another Friday morning realizing all of those things I thought were not like I thought at all.
Another Friday morning threatening to make me feel unraveled, wondering what right I had even to step foot on this foreign soil and try to be a part of something when it seems I don’t understand anything.
A thousand moments of eternal value and heart battles were intermingling. In the midst of it all, I bounced a baby on my knee.
I bounced her while I spoke to these friends about God’s grace, while we while we wondered how to love like Him.
I bounced her still while that deceiving mother confessed, apologized and hung her head. And while I asked her to look in my eyes, quoted His Word that demolishes the power of the chains that bind, and while I told her I will always forgive her.
Between the bounces, I marveled at that baby
Pokasi is one of Esther’s twins. The “little one”.
Two weeks ago, when Pokasi’s mother and baby brother went into the hospital for improper care, malnutrition and starvation, this teensy little twin was left naked and unprovided for with her chubby-cheeked sister in the loving arms of their neighbor, Lizzy. (For more of that story, click here.)
At 19 months, Pokasi was barely sitting up on her own. She was not crawling, much less walking. She wasn’t speaking and hardly had enough nutrition to hold her head up, much less develop properly or enjoy life. After just two weeks with good care, abundant cooing and loving, and living within the safety and security of a home and family, Pokasi is a miracle in the making!
I bounced and beheld in amazement on that Friday morning while she belly-laughed, played, interacted, and stayed active longer than she ever has before. Although she prefers the hip chauffeur service, she can crawl easily, and is now pulling herself up and taking careful, wobbly steps while holding on to something to guide her.
I couldn’t believe it when her five tiny fingers wrapped around mine in the aisle of the home affairs waiting area, and she began taking steps… reaching and resting between the knees of other people waiting. Every stranger-knee she landed on, reached for those filling-out cheeks, eyed her with adoration, and some even picked her up to steal a few bounces for themselves.
Pokasi’s favorite mode of transit, however, is not being carried, crawling, or walking. It’s flying.
It doesn’t matter if she’s in the middle of the most frustrated cry, when that baby goes airborne, she forgets her tears and her laughter flows.
And you better believe that I was that American lady in home affairs who was flying a baby and disturbing the stagnant silence with her baby belly-laughs.
Come on… It’s the best.
In the middle of all the stories waiting in those chairs around me, even on the two rows we occupied, that flying baby reminded me of the day that’s coming.
The joy that makes you forget the tears. The safety in going up higher, not relying on your own power to move, and only being able to rely on the bigger hands to hold you.
I was with one orphaned mother who learned to lie, hide, and give herself away first. One who first learned not to trust any one particular person or parent because they’re not going to stay. And one who first learned to rely on withcraft, ancestral spirits and darkness to access power and healing.
Between this group of mothers, we are caring for 12 children.
Twelve children with the chance to learn how to fly first.
What if they learned to fly in freedom and family before they even encountered the world's trappings or the orphaned spirit?
The author of our faith rewrites and redeems what we learned first to what will last forever. He’s doing that in these mothers who filled my car and traveled the bumpy roads to home affairs on Friday morning.
Watching the freedom flickers in the eyes of the baby that flies in contrast to the dimming eyes of her mother, I can’t help but think of the TTH shirt: To change a nation, love the children.
|Carla wearing the TTH shirt while holding Esther's twins.|
Shameless plug: Click HERE to buy this shirt!
I have to believe in something greater for these babies who are learning to fly first – before they walk, before they talk, before they set their not-yet-blistered feet on those bumpy red roads.
Will the future look different if these children learn to fly in the arms of adoration first?
Can flying babies break off chains that hold us on the ground and bear a future with less shame, less sickness, less poverty, less oppression?
*****Update: That same afternoon, we took the twins to the hospital to see their mom. She wasn't there! Esther and the baby had been discharged, and she had no phone or way to communicate. We searched taxis, paths and houses until we found her. Friday afternoon, Esther's family was reunited. PRAY, PRAY, PRAY because the story has only begun and we have a long way to go! Pray for God's favor as we plan to meet with social workers and seek His greatest good for Esther, Wandile, Millicent, Pokasi and Mangaliso.