There is no way you could know of the ways you changed my heart. Before I left to come to where you call home I was diagnosed with depression and immediately felt the weight of all that I wouldn't be able to offer in the wake of a stamp like that on my soul.
Did you feel me coming?
I knew before I left that the Lord would work within me while I was in India, but there was no seeing, no telling of how He might conduct said change; there was certainly no way I could foresee you as the end of a story line -- a happily ever after of sorts.
You see, before I left I was consumed with "getting better" - because surely that meant that then I would meet someone and fall in love and I'd finally get to do all those things you're supposed to do at 27 with a husband.
I knew God would work within me in India, but I never anticipated you being the answer to the longest, most lonely wilderness of a season.
I'm usually pretty good with words -- I don't often struggle to string them together elegantly and shoot them off rapid-fire. But I arrived in India and all I could think was, "Come, Jesus." And then I met you and the words ceased to exist.
I don't know that I ever want children. Or that's what I've said for most of my adult life. So the idea of unconditional love has always seemed foreign to me -- there is just too much selfish humanity within my 5'3" frame to love another person without condition.
Those decisions and wordy declarations were slain on a Tuesday in Hyderabad, India.
You greeted me as all of you beautiful, small humans did -- by shaking my hand and saying, "Good afternoon, sister." But in the moments it took you to walk up to me and extend your slender hand, I felt an assurance and knowing wash over me; it settled into my skin and nestled beneath my bone - it began to keep time with my pulse so I would come to know it as truth.
He is why I called you here.
Did you know you are an answer to prayer? In the time it took you to sit and make a tambourine with me I felt my Lord nudge me delicately and whisper, "See why I stayed so quiet all these years? You cannot tell me anything or anyone you were crying out for could be better than this boy."
He was right.
Jesus was writing our stories together long before either of us were thought of in this world. He knew I would become a girl broken and untrusting and blindingly adamant about what would make it all better. He knew He would make me wait for answers - that He would make me angry in that process. He knew He would create a beautiful boy 14 years younger than me with a smile that would stop me beneath the fiery heat of an Indian sun. He knew you would be kind and gentle, that you would want to be a pilot and that you would think of me and draw pictures for me long after I flew back to America.
He knew we would help each other; He knew that we would weave into each other's stories and nothing would ever be the same.
I think about the last night we got to see each other -- how each of our hands spread across the opposite sides of a van window. You watched as tears raced tracks down my cheeks and you kept whispering, "Don't cry, sister. I love you, sister" again and again and again. We stayed frozen, like that, until the van pulled away. I had to fight the urge to run after you. Every chord of life within me was silently screaming "I'll stay. Okay, ok. I'll stay."
How is it that I came to India with the intent of helping you and here you were comforting me?
Do you know how brave you are? How proud I am of you because of it?
I think of you everyday. I pray for you. And I am counting down the days until I return to see you face to face.
In the meantime I talk about you as much as I can -- because I want every human in my life to hear about the most beautiful boy who would become my friend and "son" and how he is so much more of a gift than the relationship and 'fixing' I was so convinced would right everything that was wrong.
I don't know if you'll ever understand how meeting you changed my heart. And I don't believe there are words for how much I love you. But thank you.
Thank you for being there, waiting for me -- even if you didn't know you were a part of this tapestry from the onset.
Thank you for being the balm to a cracked heart and the answer to a prayer I never truly understood I was praying.
Thank you for helping me to understand that my God is completely capable with my life in His hands, that He is worthy of my trust, and that He understands my wild and wandering heart more completely than I ever anticipated.
***Before India, sponsorship wasn't on my radar, but I arrived and the Lord ripped my heart wide open for it. By sponsoring Goutham, I am not only helping him financially, but I get to encourage him and watch him grow through shared letters and pictures. This process and getting to know Goutham has altered the way I think about and consider my future. There are many children on the Hope Campus in India that still seek sponsorship. If you are interested, or feel a tug on your heart, to learn more, I would love to talk to you.***