Her face. Oh, my heart. That face I’d come to love. It beamed with the light of a thousand candles, and joy, radiant and pure, shone brightly.
I’d seen her first at the coffee shop. On the corner of Main and 6, in that place where townsfolk gather and God, He moves, she’d come a-bouncing. I’d watched her, intrigued, as she’d plopped herself down one day, pulling Bible and journal from a pack, and announced something like this, “God is really talking to me right now.”
I’d grinned to myself, captivated by her effervescence, her enthusiasm for Christ, and for a fleeting moment, I recalled another young girl. Who, once upon her teenage years had, too, been bouncy. Had, too, been bubbly. Had, too, longed to hear from the Lord. And The Girl–uh, I went back to my writing.
For about three years, our paths crossed often. By a high, round table at the coffee shop. At the local high school in musicals and plays. Then again, at the coffee shop where we’d smile and wave or speak cheer for just a short minute.
Then one day, I heard her story. How she’d been troubled, struggling in her younger years. How God had led her to camp. How He’d also led a young woman from here to the camp way down there as a counselor. And they’d bonded.
Then God. Oh, yes, God! He came for that ouchie young girl in that camp, and He got a hold of her heart. And then He did this…He set her right into a family.
That Counselor Girl and her family, they took her. They welcomed her into their home. They loved her and fed her and sheltered and cared. They gave her their hearts and their home. And on a sunny August day, they gave her this, too–they gave that girl their last name.
Today, I stand amazed. Enthralled. Overcome. Overwhelmed at the workings of God. How He uses ordinary people, like one painter and cook, to do extraordinary things.
How He orders our steps. How He knows what we need. How His wild grace transforms our lives.
We’re never too old. No, never too old. For Sweet Girlie just graduated from high school this summer, winning a full ride to college. And got that family.
This is you (do you know this?). It’s you, and it’s me. It’s the story of our own struggles and wand’rings. For we, too, were alone; were troubled, messy kids. Then came One who said, “I will adopt you. From here on, you’re Mine. I’ll give you My name. Forever and ever, I love you.”
Here, my friend, is where you put your name. And I’ll tuck my name in there, too. Like this: “Rhonda Schrock–feeling adopted.”
Forever and ever. Amen.
With such love and appreciation to the Neff family who showed us all what grace looks like, and true love. May God bless you a thousand times over for your faith-full-ness and your example. Congratulations to all of you, and especially to Dakota Skyye Neff.