By Lorie Newman
The longer I walk on this journey of faith with my Savior, the more Im realizing just how dark my heart really is.
Over the past several years, even the smallest of sins that quite frankly I used to dismiss, seem to blink at my spirit like a fluorescent neon sign that sends immediate checks to the depths of my spirit. Secret sins that I used to tuck away without any remorse, I now have to bring to the light or they will eat me alive.
Its this process of spiritual transformation that is taking place in me and its an incredibly powerful change. Im seeing with crystal clear vision that there is absolutely nothing good in me apart from Jesus. nothing. Ive done so much in my life to disappoint my Savior. How many times have I, even as a Christian, given Jesus that Judas kiss of betrayal knowing what I was doing was wrong, and choosing the broad path anyway. Ill spare you the details of my past sins, and just say this. I should have been married in a red dress with a black stripe down the back. Can anyone relate?
Thats why this picture taken in Swaziland, Africa has so affected me. The precious little orphan girl in the picture is wearing a bright red dresssuch a contrast to the little children I met when I visited the same area of Africa last year.
They all had dirty and tattered clothesmost of their clothes were either too small or far too large for their little malnourished bodies. Most of them wore no shoes and their feet and legs were covered in thick dust. That same dust clung to their hair, to their hands, and to their tiny faces. Dusty orange dirt… It was everywhere… There was no escape from it for those orphans. Even for this little girl wearing a beautiful red dress, the dirt on her skin is inescapable… inevitable.
I so see myself when I look at this little girl. In fact, I see you too. At one time, we were all this little child. Werent we all orphaned once? Werent we all covered in dust, mire, and dirt? Werent we all wearing crimson red? This little orphan girl is undoubtedly wearing the best dress she has–perhaps her only dress. Isnt that a portrait of who we all were before Christ? The bible is clear that the best we haveour best righteousness on our ownis just filthy rags before God. In this sweet little girl I see a portrait of me. The best I could wear before my God was my red dress. Oh, I tried to make it beautiful! I dressed it up with lace and ruffles. I even tried to hide the dirt and mire that clung to my feet, my hands, and my facethe result of walking for so long in the think dust of my sins.
Although I tried to come before Him with the best I had, my sins were still crimson red. But at my Saviors invitation, in humility and with a contrite and repentant heart, I wore my best red dress in my Fathers presence. It was all I had to wear it was my best. And in an instant, though my dress was red like crimson, it suddenly became whiter than snow! The thick dust the result of past sins–that clung to my hands, my feet, and my face was gone… Gone! I stood before my God as a new creation! The old was gone and the new had come! And with nail-scarred hands, my Savior embraced me and reminded me that He had paid the price for my new white dress the ultimate price. It was His red crimson blood that now enables me to wear white in the presence of God.
How can I ever repay Jesus for the gift of my white dress? All He asks of me is a life poured out as a living sacrifice before Him. What He calls each of us to do on that altar will likely look very different, as He calls us all to different paths in completing His work here on earth. For me, that path takes me to orphans– orphans like the one in this picture. My lifes calling is to wake up the church to the plight of orphans around the world, and I will do that wholeheartedly with every fiber of my being for His Glory.
My husband and I have four biological children ages 15 through 9 and two adopted childrena girl, 7, from Haiti, and a boy, 4, from Liberia. We have just embarked on our next international adoption and I would like to take you on the journey with us over the next several months as God leads us to our next child. You can read this column and witness first-hand the miracle of God hearing the cry of an orphan across the world and watch as He places him/her in a Christian family. That miracle never ceases to amaze me! Will you join me?
Lorie is a busy homeschooling mother of six children, including twins and two children who were internationally adopted one from Haiti and one from Liberia. She has taught and ministered in Bible Studies for over ten years. She and her husband Duane are founders of Reaching Hands Orphan/Adoption Ministries. Through a partnership with Childrens HopeChest, Reaching Hands Ministries enables nearly 300 impoverished African orphans to receive regular food, clothing, and education. You can visit her website at lorienewman.com.