God’s Anna—He made her simple. Simply sweet. And her simplicity is her special gift to the world. But her life didn’t start so simply sweet.
Left in a Russian orphanage at six months by a mama who could not care for her, she lived her first six years hardly held, barely clothed, fed just enough. For nearly six years she watched other children leave in the arms of new moms and dads. But not her. She was passed over.
What is it like to be passed over?
When you’re precious and sweet and with all your heart all you want is for a heart to love you back—where is love then?
It comes and goes? Without you?
Then one day, it comes and you see it right in front of you. Could it be true? YES! You find your heart’s desire right in front of you with arms wide and smile big. And you run.
You run wild, eyes fixed, heart beating, smile stretching and you fall free into love wrapping and holding and never . . . letting . . . you . . . go.
That’s what true love does. It wraps and holds and never lets you go. True love comes to you first. And then you run into it and finally—after waiting so long—you finally relax and breathe and your fast beating heart starts to calm.
I can still see the moment Anna entered the room in pink dress, hair pulled up in a puffy bow. She looked straight at me. Orphanage director, mama to sixty, held her hand and whispered Russian in her ear . . .
I can still see Anna’s face turn bright. Smile stretched big, arms spread wide—she ran and fell into me, sitting on a sofa. And for the first time in my life, I heard the word . . .
She turned 21 last month. And I sit here making my keyboard wet with grateful tears because I can still see her then—this sweet little girl in pink—looking, longing, waiting, running, arms open wide and falling into her heart’s desire—my heart’s desire. And the open circle of longing was finally closed. Mother and daughter, joined.
O Holy Day, when an orphan is an orphan no more! When a childless woman is childless no more! When the weak and passed over and forgotten and broken are remembered and embraced and loved well.
Intermission. I seriously have to wipe off my keyboard . . . and maybe you need a tissue too?
What a story of God’s grace!
We are all orphans in this world. We’re just looking for love—love and acceptance that won’t leave—ever. But we are all children who chose to live without our Father. We chose to walk away. And we found ourselves alone in a broken place ridden with pain and tears—with people and things unable to fill the deepest parts of our longing hearts.
People are still looking and hoping and waiting for arms open wide and smile stretched big and an unbroken promise of holding and loving that fills complete. Such love has come.
True and forever love has come into our broken world, into our unfulfilled space.
While we were orphaned, God came to us. He came to adopt us—to take us home—to love us and fill us and embrace us like never before. He traveled far for us and sacrificed big for us—to Bethlehem—to Calvary. He paid the highest price, for us. Because we are so valuable to Him, because He loves us so much, because with all His heart He wants to see us look into His eyes, smile big, open wide, and run as fast as we can into His open arms, wrapped in His forever embrace.
That’s the gospel, simply.
And my simple girl has a simple gift she got from her Father. She was created in His image, you know. She is Daddy’s girl. And she’s creating like He creates. She’s creating simple love and giving it away simply, with no strings attached, just like her Father. She’s creating and giving and hoping someone will open their hand and accept her Christmas gift, just like her Father.
For God so loved the world that he gave his one and only Son, that whoever believes in him shall not perish but have eternal life. John 3:16
Want to receive the best Christmas gift EVER? Open wide! Just like your Father.
Original design by Anna Christine Johnson Copyright 2012