The Substance of Faith

The Substance of Faith

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So this is Love

Left to Right: Cherry, Donna Brown (aunt), Jordan, Natalie Brown (cousin), Rachel, Joel, Dottie Grace (cousin), Kelly Brown (uncle).
Kayytie and Jace in front.
Paulo is on duty and missed greatly.

Many of you know our older daughter and her husband have been working toward the adoption of a daughter.  Yesterday, July 11, Kaytie was made an official part of their home, joining Jace as our grandchildren on the Hernandez side of the family.    No adjective describes fully the power of the day.  Paulo was patched in, via conference call.  The judge asked him why he wanted to adopt Kaytie.  He gave a simple, powerful statement.  The judge said it was one of the best rationale’s for adoption he had heard.  Until Rachel spoke.   I don’t have a copy of what Paulo said, but here are Rachel’s words:

Your Honor, I have known that I would be asked this question for many weeks and I have struggled to put my feelings into words. Part of me feels very guilty to say that, but Kaytie’s life, especially the beginning, has not been easy and therefore perhaps that it is why I couldn’t just give an easy answer. I don’t know a lot about Kaytie’s first 6 years but I know that the culture of where she was what not one that cultivated love, learning, laughter or loyalty. Thankfully she found her way to a loving home filled with several foster siblings, and a foster mom whom Kaytie loves fiercely and I don’t think will ever forget. When she entered this home she did not know the basic things most 6 year olds know such as colors, animals, letters, or numbers. She struggled with coordination and strength. She did not like to speak to others and was obviously afraid of much. Through diligence, love, and patience she has surpassed what anyone thought she might accomplish. Since she came to be a part of our family she has grown even more. Her favorite color is pink, with purple as a close second. She hasn’t met a dog that she didn’t instantly want to pet or take for a walk. Her favorite letter is K for Kaytie and her second favorite letter is J for her brother Jace. She loves turning somersaults into the ocean waves, swinging, and riding her bike. And she is learning to live with less fear.

My life has been very different from Kaytie’s. I have been blessed to know a lot of different kind of loves from many different people and if I am honest most of those loves have come with only a few challenges. You may be familiar with the Love Chapter in 1 Corinthians 13. There are many characteristics mentioned about love in these verses but not one of them says that love is easy. My love for Kaytie, if I am honest, it is not easy. But I have learned much about love and perseverance from this 7 year old. It has helped me gain another glimpse at just how much God loves me and how I am called above all else to love others. I read a quote that says “’Family’ isn’t defined by last names or by blood; it’s defined by commitment and by love. It means showing up when they need it most. It means having each other’s back. It means choosing to love each other even on those days when you struggle to like each other. It means never giving up on each other.” I believe this world be a better place if we all defined family in this way. So, today and all of my days, I promise to be strive to be that kind of family for Kaytie.

The judge said he thought it was impossible to improve on what Paulo said, but Rachel did it.

As a pastor for more than 40 years, I have often preached and written about love that is distinctly Christian.  Rachel’s comments contain more power and passion than any sermon I remember preaching.    If you aren’t sure what love is, here it is, lived clearly…and fiercely.

We welcome Kaytie Hadassah Hernandez to this family of love.

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