I was abandoned at birth in Pakistan and at merely 10 days old a pastor and his wife adopted me. I have a younger brother who is my parent’s first biological child. The day he was born was both the happiest and most confronting day of my life. I was happy because I was becoming a big sister after 16 years of being an only child. However I was confronted by seeing how he was brought into this world, and I couldn’t help but compare it to my own story. I saw how my brother was held from the moment he was born and I watched, as my beautiful mother would put her hand in his cot as he slept, just so that she could feel his heartbeat. He was welcomed into this world with rejoicing and an abundance of love.
This is what confronted me the most, because I was born into this world alone. No rejoicing. No mother to hold me. No mother to hear the beat of my heart.
In the lecture phase of my Discipleship Training School we learned about a different topic every week, one of the weeks that stood out to me was when we learned about the character and nature of God. We discussed how God is our father and that we are all adopted into His family. I met with our speaker that week and I told him how much this topic spoke to me. That I identified with it on a deeper level because I was literally adopted; I understood just how much of a privilege and blessing this was. We talked about God’s compassion and how His heart for us directly relates to how a mother has compassion for her child. As a mother carries a child in her womb, she nurtures them as they grow and she hold them until the day they’re born. My heart dropped as I began to develop a deeper understanding, and realised I never had that. Before now, I couldn’t understand because I was never held or nurtured by my birth mother. I wasn’t cared for until I was well into my second week of life. As I began to come to terms with this, I prayed and thanked God for the wonderful family that He had placed me in.
I thanked Him for showing me His father heart; personal, protective and filled with unconditional love despite how many times I fail Him.
As we arrived in Cairns on outreach, the conversation I had with the guest speaker lingered in my mind, so I prayed for God to show me His “mother-heart” towards me, in a sweet and gentle way.
One afternoon in Cairns, as my team was running a children’s program, I was speaking to one of the mothers who had brought her child. She opened up to me as her eyes began to glisten with tears. She told me how her son had to be homeschooled because he struggled with the teaching styles in the public school, that he didn’t belong there. Those tears slowly started trickling down her face as she looked at me and said that after the first few months of homeschooling her son he was able to finally read properly, and after reading three full sentences, he looked up at her and said “mum, I’m not a failure after all.” It broke her heart to learn that her 7-year-old son lived his whole young life believing he was a failure. My eyes filled with tears as well, because it was in that moment that I saw the mother-heart of God. I realised that God’s heart broke for me that my abandonment led me to believe that I didn’t belong and that I was a failure who wasn’t worthy of anything. God had compassion towards me, the same way a mother has compassion for her child.
As I looked into that mother’s eyes, I saw God’s eyes; filled with so much love, joy and sorrow, all at the same time.
God really heard my prayer, and within the first week of outreach, He answered it in such an unexpected, raw and beautiful way.
Rhoda started her DTS in January 2016 on the Compassion Elective. Seeing her come alive during lecture phase has been a privilege for us here on Campus! She’s now serving in Indonesia on her second outreach.