Many of you know our story.
You know that Luz Maria became a member of our family because her birthdate was the same as the date I became a believer in Christ.
You know that upon meeting Luz, I discovered that we had much more in common than a birthdate. We shared a history of loss, a history of suffering due to addiction.
You also know about Jessarela...about how she bonded with me, chose me.
And you know about Maria Bernarda...how my heart broke when I saw her in her boy's hat.
The stories of each of these girls seemed to be my story.
But they aren't just mine any more, and it has taken me a long time to discover it.
These girls are Daddy's girls.
They are children of the heavenly Father, who created them, planned for them, and is jealous for them.
Sadly, they are also children of earthly fathers--fathers who have abandoned them. Luz Maria's father died of addiction, Jessarela's father has never been in her life at all, and the only father Maria knows (her stepfather) is abusive.
But there is another Daddy in their lives. I know him well.
He is the man who stepped up to perform a father's role on the biggest night of Luz Maria's life.
He is the man who has faithfully written letters to each girl, telling them of how precious they are to God and to him.
He is the man who thinks of them every day.
Hauled them on his shoulders...
Spun them around in true Daddy style...
Sat for hours holding them, his legs paralyzed...
Watched from the sidelines...
Purchased little gifts he knew they would like...
Carries their photos in his Bible and his phone so he can show them to anyone who will look.
He is the man who has cuddled, kissed, squeezed, and loved.
The man who plans and helps provide for their future.
The man who is crushed when he thinks they are hurting.
The man who gives even though it hurts.
This man is my husband. This is his story. I feel unbelievably privileged to have watched each relationship grow--to see his ministry toward these precious children blossom.
I thank God for the father that he is to our three children. I praise God for the father he is to children all over the world who need to be shown how a true father loves.
Soni in India who never knew her father.
Disha in India whose faither died of AIDS.
Charles in Rwanda whose father is in prison.
Ana Maria in Columbia whose father abandoned the family.
There are many others. I never fail to be amazed that Jonathan's love for them doesn't run out. He has sacrificed and prayed and is always thinking of what else he can do to help these children feel cherished--and not for any reward. He is their champion. He does this because his Father loves these children. As he says, there is no greater joy than spending yourself for someone else.
I don't know anyone else who has a heart more like a father should.
What can I say? I guess he takes after his Heavenly Father.