Tousled brown curls, blue striped pajamas and such a wide yawn, "Good morning little Zion." The last to fall asleep is often our first to greet the day, his cuddles are worth the early hour. As Zion sat contentedly in my lap this morning, we opened the front cover of his new book of Bible stories and this is what I read,
I love you very much my handsome little man! I'm on a journey to better my life right now.
I chose this gift for you in hopes that one day you will understand how much God loves you through Jesus and
I LOVE YOU!
A flood of tears washed over my cheeks as Zion's beautiful face, so like Anna's, gazed up at mine. I had not realized the fullness of the inscription in the book from last night. Anna, Zion's precious birth mother, left today to step through a door, which the Lord has opened in her life. Before our last embrace, I asked Anna if I could tell you her story of faith. Her answer was, yes.
In October of 2009, Dennis, Gabriel and Magdalene headed to Ethiopia to bring home Ezra and Emmaus. On the eve of the day they left, Elias, Malachi, Salome', Zion and I attended a "Third Day" concert. Close friends sat behind and beside our family. As the music enveloped us, I felt a tinge of sadness over not inviting Anna to our last minute plans. One and a half year old Zion traveled the length of our row, climbed from chair to chair, and covered his large lollipop with hair - mine, still (partially) stuck to my head! Then, to our astonishment, Zion abruptly stopped fidgeting and sat perfectly still on my hip. As Mac Powell sang from the stage, "There is grace and forgiveness, mercy and healing, love for the broken hearted...", the singer stretched out his hand to the audience. Zion stretched his tiny hand toward the stage in the exact manner and held it for the entire song. We stared in amazement at Zion's quiet, resolute face. I thought of the coming siblings and wondered if he sensed something new from the Lord. Our answer came through a joyful text early Sunday morning.
At about 10 pm Saturday night, while Zion reached out his hand in one corner of the city, Anna walked up the aisle of a church in another. When the pastor spoke of grace and forgiveness, mercy and healing, Anna's Aunt looked at her, and Anna knew the words were meant for her. Anna stood on trembling legs, ready to forgive those who she'd never thought deserved forgiveness. The authentic love of Jesus Christ, that bore the sins of humanity to the cross, reached into Anna's broken heart and healed her that night. His grace, mercy, and forgiveness poured into her emptiness and Zion's birth mother was born again. And her boy knew, our boy knew... and I believe the angel's rejoiced!