God Our Father

On this Father's Day, as I gather with family to reflect on the amazing, kind, and loving man that is my dad, my heart can't help but turn to the thought of our Heavenly Father and this season of life in which He has placed me. In fact, today can be somewhat bittersweet for me, as although I celebrate the fact that I have been blessed with an outstanding earthly father (and mother for that matter), I am also struck by the thought that I am not yet married with children of my own who would call the man I marry "Daddy."

Don't get me wrong, I enjoy my singleness very much and have been beautifully and richly blessed with an incredible family, amazing friends, and a wonderful church. Moreover, as a woman in my thirties I have had a few serious relationships that yes, ultimately did not pan out, but nonetheless hold fondness in my heart and allowed me to love and be loved at the time. However, God in His infinite wisdom and goodness, wants more for me and has given me an incredible season of singleness for the past two and a half years.

Specifically, through this season of singleness, the Lord brought me the opportunity to go to Haiti with Second Chance Haiti and I went for the first time in December 2016. Since then I have gone twice more, even as recently as this month. It is just incredible to see God continue to pour His grace over my life and, despite my failures, relentlessly pursue me and show me glimpses of just how much more He desires for me.

Going to Haiti with this organization has truly changed my life. Seeing the orphan crisis in this beautiful, broken country has opened my eyes to not just the physical needs of these people, but the spiritual need for adoption only Jesus can provide. In addition, it has also helped me be more conscious of the needs of those we encounter every day because so many around us are also spiritual orphans as I was only 7 years ago. On the other side of that, the Christian community in Haiti is an incredible thing to witness. These people with, what some would call "so little," have incredible joy and faith that has been an immeasurable pleasure to see and experience. In fact, it has challenged me to examine my heart and press harder into the arms of Jesus.

Lastly, on this Father's Day as I reflect on my own season of life, the orphans of Haiti who are all too often surrendered by their earthly fathers and mothers, and the goodness of the Lord to invite all to adoption through Jesus I received an incredible message at church this morning. Our pastor chose to walk through Psalm 127 and began by stating that no matter in what season we are - single, with young children, with grown children, with children gone astray - we are all called to be family to one another, with the older of us being as spiritual fathers and mothers to the younger.

As our pastor spoke this, I began to realize our obligation to these children more clearly; not to merely love them, but to guide them spiritually and point them towards Jesus; to sow into them and disciple them so they can grow to be courageous young men and women who stand on the firm foundation of Jesus Christ. For the first time, I envisioned these children as the young men and women they will one day be and was quickly reminded of Second Chance's vision - "To provide a second chance for the children of Haiti so that each can have a relationship with Christ and make a forever impact."

The message continued to speak to my heart as our pastor proceeded with this Psalm which reads, "Behold, children are a heritage from the Lord, the fruit of the womb a reward. Like arrows in the hand of a warrior are the children of one's youth. Blessed is the man who fills his quiver with them!" (Psalm 127:3-5). Next, our pastor elaborated that arrows are for long distance impact and meant to be launched or propelled forward towards their target. So then are we to propel the children we have, either earthly or spiritual, in order for them to make a long distance, or forever, impact.

It's at this moment that I more completely realized what an opportunity we have and what a beautiful part God has given us the chance to play in the lives of these Haitian children. We have the chance to guide them in love as our spiritual children, preparing them as arrows to be launched as champions for Christ into a future wherein they can make a forever impact in their communities and beyond. This in turn, brought such a comfort to my heart, as today presented it's own emotional struggles for me. In fact, this comfort resonated the message that while I may not yet have earthly children, I have spiritual children.

I am so grateful for what God is doing through Second Chance Haiti by allowing myself and so many others, whether sponsors, volunteers, advocates, leaders, or trip team members to invest in the lives and futures of these children. I pray that by God's grace and love we can show them that although they may be earthly orphans, they are sons and daughters of the King, adopted through Jesus, and beloved forever. May God continue to grow Second Chance Haiti, help us empty our quivers, and propel these arrows into the future God is calling them to.

Tessa Brannon