Tuesday, January 17, 2017

Compassion

Hi Girls-

Happy Tuesday!  Hope that the beginning of the week is treating you well and that you can almost see the weekend on the horizon. 

Today I'm going to share all about one of my very best friends--Miss Elizabeth Anne!  I plan on doing a post later specifically about all my tribe members and our beautiful friendships together but today I want to focus on just one of my lady friends. 

Elizabeth (who I also call Lizzy, Rose, Lovey Dove, Doll, my child) is one of the most amazing, spectacular people I have ever known.  She and I met a few years ago by way of one of my other besties Jenna, who grew up with Lizzy.  We became instant and fast friends and I can't imagine the last few years of my life without having her as part of my story. 

When I was thinking of the title of this post about her, it didn't take me long to settle on one word to sum it all up.  COMPASSION.  According to Oxford Dictionaries, this is the definition:

com·pas·sion
[kəmˈpaSHən]
 



NOUN



  1. sympathetic pity and concern for the sufferings or misfortunes of others:
    "the victims should be treated with compassion"

If I'm being perfectly honest, Lizzy is one of those girls you want to hate.  They seem to have it all:  beauty, body, brains, love, etc.  You know the type, right?  But she's incredible.  And has one of the biggest hearts I've ever come across.  She is loving and generous and helpful and precious.  She has a heart of gold and the most giving nature.  She loves her family and her friends with all that she has and will come running to be there at the drop of a hat if you need her.

Many months ago, our church discussed a program that we align ourselves with twice a year.  It's a hosting program for orphans:  most from Latvia or the Ukraine.  I've known many families that have done this in the past for whom it just seems like second nature to integrate into their families when these children come over speaking a foreign language in a country that is so unfamiliar to them with people that shower them with love and adoration.  Lizzy felt like she was being called to become a host and so she signed up for the program, agreed to host 2 boys from Latvia, raised the money and that was it.  About a week and a half before her boys were due to arrive, she found out that there were some disciplinarian issues with her boys at their orphanage and they were being pulled from the program.  She was devastated!!!  Her heart was shattered because even though she had never met these beautiful souls, she had their pictures and had prayed for them every night and had committed to giving them all that she could during their time with her here.  Well...as you would have it (and funny how God works), there were 3 boys from Ukraine who had not been sponsored yet.  Lizzy never gave it a second thought and agreed to take all 3:  D (9), Y (10) and M (13).  Oh, and I failed to mention that Lizzy is only 24, single, doesn't have any children of her own and in her last semester of grad school.  Can you even imagine taking on all of this at 24???

So the day came...December 16th.  Lizzy, her mom, our tribe and 100's of other host parents and supporters were at Charlotte Douglas International Airport waiting on the arrival of 50+ Ukranian orphans overwhelmed by tears with anticipations of the children who were about to become part of their story.  After being on buses, trains and numerous planes for over 36 hours--these beautiful children made their way down the escalator to see dozens and dozens of posters welcoming them in Russian to the US with their names written on them, balloons, flowers and most importantly smiles, tears of joys and more hugs than they probably knew what to do with.
This was the first view the kids would have seen coming down the escalator.
And this is when Mama Lizzy first saw her boys---my heart can't even take it!  It was such a magical moment that I will certainly NEVER forget.
 

Day 2, Lizzy posted this pic on FB.  She wasn't sure how they were going to integrate into her home---if they would feel loved and secure and safe and comfortable.  We knew after seeing this that there wouldn't be a problem. 

The children that are part of this family come from broken homes, from parents who no longer wanted them or simply couldn't care for them anymore.  They live in orphanages and aren't loved on or shown much emotion or compassion.  They don't enjoy the small comforts that we have come to known as normalcy in our own lives. 

But Lizzy's boys know that now.  There may have been a language barrier but her boys know love.  She spent 4 weeks giving them every part of her possible--showing them love and compassion, hugs and kisses, always keeping their bellies full and faces with smiles.  She introduced them to things they've never seen and food they've never tried and friends they never knew they would have.  She gave them warm blankets and the best snuggles, allowed her tribe to share in their fun moments and loved them as if they were her very own.  These pics are just some of the highlights of Lizzy's boys and their adventures here. 











 
 

Lizzy posted this on Friday night after we took them to the aiport:
My precious boys are on their way back to Ukraine this evening. Being their "mama" the past four weeks was the greatest privilege and it breaks my heart to see them go. They are incredibly bright, brave, and loving. I don't understand why kids like this have to go through life without the care of loving parents, but my prayer has been (and will continue to be) that they've experienced the love of Jesus while they were here and that will be a lasting comfort the times they are sad, sick or lonely. I promised them I would pray every day that they get to come back and I meant it...I would love it if you friends would join me in that prayer!❤️
Y'all, my heart is so full after this past month!  This was an amazing adventure and I am glad I got to just to be a part of from the sidelines.

And to Lizzy, my sweet BFF who I adore oh so much.  I know I've told you this a million times before but I'm telling you again.  I am so very proud of you.  What you did in these boys lives will never be forgotten.  They will remember these 4 weeks and you for the rest of their lives.  You have enriched them in so many ways that you will never know.  Just knowing you and how deeply you gave throughout this entire experience makes this old girls heart less hardened.  I am amazed by you in more ways than I can even count.  You, my sweet beautiful friend, are such a rare gem and I love you! 

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