I once heard someone use the words “beauty from ashes” to describe what came from a difficult situation. But after looking at a fire pit, I think it takes a lot of imagination to see any beauty in it. Society tends to associate beauty with perfection or things that please the eye. Some people argue that “beauty is in the eyes of the beholder.” While this saying holds some element of truth, I know that there are situations in which finding beauty seems impossible. Death, sickness, and hunger are just a few places where nothing beautiful is easily found. When people hear those words, they don’t associate them with beauty but with words such as terrifying, harmful, and nauseating. Is it possible that there is beauty in all things or is beautiful just an adjective that gets thrown around with nouns like princesses and flowers? Is it possible that the greatest tragedies can be laced with beauty? I believe that something beautiful can come out of the worst situations. I believe this because of my personal life experience.
My first days on earth were characterized by what most people consider terrifying and without beauty. Death, illness, and separation were my closest friends and certainly nothing beautiful could come from those. My birth resulted in my mother’s death. My mother’s death resulted in separation from my twin, placing me in an unloving environment. My unloving environment meant a future of servanthood known as modern day slavery. The family that took me in did not care for me nor did they really love me. I was left alone in a hammock each day, barely fed, and definitely not loved. This led to severe illness and ultimately I was knocking at death’s doors. As my sickness increased, my care decreased. Why care for a baby that does not have the potential of doing what she was brought to do?
If this was the end of the story, it would be very difficult to find any form of beauty! But it wasn’t! There was a plan far larger than any of us could imagine: a plan that God knew even before my twin and I were created in our mother’s womb. Thousands and thousands of miles away a couple had experienced their own struggles and darkness. They could not birth children and their first attempt at adoption fell through. With one email, a flicker of beauty appeared for them and for me. Almost immediately, they began pursuing me in my darkness. As the family began to pursue me, they also went after my twin. Adoption in Cambodia was very difficult and no hope was seen. The family continuously prayed about us and knew we were what God had planned for them. They kept pursuing us. In the process of all of this, there was a young lady in Cambodia named Tavy who reunited my brother and I. My soon to be parents were overjoyed and realized why God did not let them have kids of their own.
If I was not adopted I would have been orphaned, a slave, lost, and without hope. My life would have probably ended shortly after my mother gave birth to me. But because of God, there is more beauty in my life than I could ever explain. My adoption is just a little glimpse of that beauty. Not only did I find something beautiful, my parents found something beautiful in me. My mother says it the best, “My heavy empty arms became light when I first held you.” Not only was I in a family who truly loved and cared for me, I was also reunited with my twin brother and we were family again. Not only did I get a family, I was introduced to Christ and became a part of His family. That is beauty that can never be taken away from me.
And now 17 years later, I will be beginning my next journey in Shawnee, Oklahoma at Oklahoma Baptist University where I will be studying Nursing. Even though I am not saying a final goodbye to my overseas life, it’s still heartbreaking to think about the people, the places, and the communities I am leaving behind. Because those past experiences have shaped me to be who I am today. So as I continue this journey called life at OBU, I hope to meet exciting people, travel to fascinating places, and most importantly grow closer to The Lord.