Happiness

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For one of my social work classes, we had to define what Happiness means to us in an artistic form. I chose to showcase a painting I made over winter break as well as the following essay:

“The place God calls you to is where your deep gladness and the world’s deep hunger meet.”

– Frederick Buechner

I believe that there is an intersection between my deep gladness, God’s calling for my life, and the world’s deep hunger. One of the world’s deepest hungers is the cry of the orphans. I personally feel a call to answer the cry: to defend the fatherless and help them find forever families.

I went to Chile for my study abroad with missions because the struggles of these children spoke to me. I went to pour into their lives, to tell them that they have value. I left deeply impacted and hungry for change. While in Chile, I became fast friends with a girl at the girl’s home for orphaned and abused children. I was her favorite tía (aunt, the name they call all caregivers) and we spent time together every Wednesday. We shared a tear-filled goodbye our last day together as we realized that most likely we would never see each other again. I was returning to America, my home and place of comfort. I was leaving her behind. The difficult goodbye makes me think of the possibility of the end of the need for goodbyes for these children worldwide.

And this is where everything intersects. These children hunger for families, God calls us to love and defend the orphans, and I find deep gladness in adoption. This deep gladness is much more than happiness; it is where my joy comes from. Hearing others stories about adoption, playing with kids born from all over the world and thinking about the new life and new hope that comes with adoption is what gives me great joy. I chose to become a social worker in order to find forever families for those who don’t have them. The opportunity to give someone a new chance and a new home is thrilling and brings me great joy.

My happiness comes from the thought that I may one day be able to change the life of orphans. It may be through adopting them myself, it may be through finding them a loving home, or it may be through changing legislation to re-open closed countries to international adoption. These children need hope and love. With adoption we can give them the possibility of a new life, while deeply impacting our own.

This blue canvas with crisp white letters serves as a reminder of why I’m in college, what I hope to do for the rest of my life, and the potential to change the lives of some very special young people around the world. Serving and caring for others while following Christ is where my ultimate satisfaction and joy come from.

 

Opportunities

One of my friends shared a bit of his testimony a few weeks ago at Challenge. His walk and friendship has inspired me in many ways and that Thursday, I feel like God used him once more in my life.

He shared a verse that had been part of my devotional that morning and one that has been close to my heart for quite some time.

Romans 8:28, NLT “And we know that God causes everything to work together for the good of those who love God and are called according to his purpose for them.”

God does cause everything to work together for our good. He has a plan that surpasses our wildest dreams and imagination (Remember Eph 3:20? – my theme verse for Chile). God has changed my life for the better and has led me to some incredible moments.

I spent a semester abroad, loving the fatherless and learning what it means to be loved by our Heavenly Father. I met my best friend after I returned from Chile and she returned from Africa. I’ve grown closer to some incredible Christ-followers, and have also grown closer to Christ. I spent my spring break interpreting for Northridge in Agujita, Mexico. I’m going to Chicago at the end of this month to learn more about Christ and the cause for the fatherless.

So much of my life is falling into place. I’m not only learning and discerning where God has a plan for me, but also hearing about the incredible things He is doing through my friends. While on my way to Mexico, I met someone from my graduating class at East who sees a need for Christ in a specific genre of music. I talked to another person who goes to Northridge who feels called to counsel missionaries. I have a friend with a heart for Africa and a friend with a desire to love Romanians. God is doing incredible things. He is moving.

Recently, I feel like God has especially shown me how He has been working in my life and through my studies. I found out that not only can I graduate in four years (or less!), but that I can do so with a double degree and another experience abroad. I’m checking off the last few requirements of my major and drawing closer to graduation. It’s a nice place to be in. I have options and I have opportunities. Now I just need to trust Him to take control and put everything together for His purpose for my life.

I think it’s important to remember that God’s plans don’t always look like what we think they should. Often, they turn out different than our plans. But I think that at that point, we also have the opportunity to realize that His plans are better than ours.

“‘My thoughts are nothing like your thoughts,’ says the LordAnd my ways are far beyond anything you could imagine.'”- Isaiah 55:8, NLT