while my newly adopted daughter slept in the bedroom.
And although I felt the strangeness of staying in that Russian flat
I was so grateful for the unique opportunity.
Growing up, I used to fear the Russians.
Talks of nuclear war were common,
bomb drills were frequent,
so whenever my brother and I played games
Russia was the enemy.
I was filled with fears.
Fast forward many years
and suddenly I was flying to Russia to adopt a six month old baby girl.
Sure I was apprehensive as I sat in the jet flying half way around the world.
But my longings for this little child
and my awareness that God was leading the way
overpowered my fears.
Step by step I followed Him.
I was the only American who was staying with this young couple at the time.
They spoke very little English
and my Russian was limited to da (yes) and nyet (no)
But somehow we managed.
Through smiles and hand languages we built a bridge.
Together we shared meals. She on one side and her husband on the other.
One night shines in my memory with particular brightness.
After the simple meal of soup, bread and cheese
the tall man reached for some playing cards and nodded to me
as if to ask, “Do you want to play?”
“Sure,” I nodded wondering how in the world I would figure out what to do.
But I had come this far
surely the Lord would help me now.
So for the next hour or so the three of us played what was a new game for me.
completely enjoying the moment.
They with their sweet 4 month old daughter
and I with little Noelle
and knew that although there were differences
we had so much in common.
I treasure that evening as I my new understanding grew.
It was my last night with them
and I was sad to be leaving. They had treated me so kindly.
Then as the game ended
this lovely young mother handed me a package.
I was deeply moved as our eyes met.
How I wished at that moment that we had more time together.
I slowly unwrapped the rectangular shaped package.
Fears ripped back exposing the real.
As I peeled back the paper my eyes fell on a necklace with a beautiful turquoise pendent
and matching earrings.
Spontaneously we reached for each other and hugged.
Yes, it was so natural. Our hearts knew it.
Fears were shattered as faith grew wings.
Fears disappeared as eyes saw truth.
Separated by language
living so far apart
but each of us realizing the goodness in the other.
All of that took place many years ago
but that treasured necklace and earrings remind me to this day
of not only this sweet Russian family who were so kind to me
but also of God’s amazing Love
that shatters false ideas and draws us all together at the foot of the Cross.
Amazing One Who keeps setting us free.