Thursday, April 19, 2012

GOTCHYA *The Breath of the Almighty*


"Hello all, this is Andrew. Esty will write a very descriptive, beautiful account of the meeting of our Rissa likely tomorrow night after our court travels are over, or the next day...but until then she may not let go of Rissa. 
 I'm serious.
But she did say this with tears in her eyes: My cup overfloweth.
At approximately 1:30pm Kampala time we saw Rissa in person for the first time.  She greeted us with a huge smile which seems to be her staple...
~ Andrew, Tuesday, Apr 19, 2011 at 8:20 PM


"...As we walk into the breezeway, she comes smiling down the
hall with a little white-onesie'd baby on her hip, hugs us lovingly, all
smiles and greets us by name like we are family. 
She says: *"Rissa!"*,
(which comes out sounding like: "Reesa!" with her accent, love it) 
*"Rissa, this is your Mommy and Daddy!"*

 Before we know it, Rissa is in my arms. 
She is chewing on her fist and she is tiny and wiry with huge, black, limitless eyes. 
Her 12 lbs feels like a feather in my arms. 

She is not at all unhappy
and just pleasantly comes to us but is clearly completely unaware of what's
going on. 
It's a little odd: you know everyone's waiting for you to freak
out or lose it or at least cry or something...but I just didn't. I was so
overwhelmingly happy - relieved - peaceful.
 I remember sitting down in
the living room, after the initial 20 minutes of hugs and exclamations
and introductions, settling in to spend the afternoon at their home which
they were so graciously spending with us eating and fellowshipping, and
after a while I thought to myself: 

*"I can breathe deeply for the first time since I left Sarasota on Sunday.*" 

I felt all of a sudden like I could fully
fill my lungs again, once I was holding my child.
 After 48+ hours traveling
and being jet-lagged, almost in a dream, it wasn't until I felt my baby in my lap, 
with all the eyes off of us that I felt I could fill my lungs to the
brim and inhale fully. 
It was a sweet moment. 
Now, naturally I could boo-hoo just thinking about it but then? 
I was completely calm, I just sat like a
ninny and grinned..."

~ Esty, Thursday, Apr 21, 2011 at 03:57AM 


... and Today...

There is a hand-painted, polka-dotted plaque that hangs in my Rissa's room, a gift from a dear friend,
which quotes Job:

"The Spirit of God has made me,
the Breath of the Almighty gives me life."

It's hung there all year long, 
an adorable pink and mint green reminder of Truth 
on the wall of her room.
Many afternoons and evenings while giving Rissa a bottle I have pondered these words, 
hanging there on a nail in her bedroom
my eyes capturing their familiar flourishes but
 my soul glimpsing in
the curves of the words something truer.

In The Silver Chair by C.S. Lewis, which we are currently reading aloud to the boys
Aslan literally blows Jill into Narnia. 
His breath is the current.
Aslan keeps her from falling to her death by blowing her over the gaping chasm below, 
by breathing her to a new life.

There is some very deep magic which reverberates in me at this.
When I met Rissa I could finally breathe again. 
I'd been holding my breath, imperceptibly 
and finally - surprisingly - I could breathe again. 
"...The Breath of the Almighty gives me life."

There is no turning back once you've choked in life-giving breath - there's no forgetting -
there's only, ever wanting to gasp deeper and drink fuller all the breath you can hoard
till you are overexpanded and delirious with it. 

I am Jill, blown to Narnia by my King ~ kept alive by His design and sovereignty ~
seeking to follow His plans while failing embarrasingly at every turn,
wondering why He called  ridiculous me in the first place.

I am Jill, waiting for Him to lead me, to meet me again, to sweep me up in His merciful winds,
 hoping He is doing something with me which He can use.

I am Jill, and Rissa is the dearest dream which I thought I could never, ever have.

I was off the ground, in the air, "floating on clouds" as one friend said in an email to me while I was in Africa...
He blew hot gusts of breath into my sleeping heart...He woke me to the daughter from my dreams...
He brought my heart to life with African drums and her milk chocolate skin. 
He breathed into my heart, leaving full lungs and new life and vision and exploding rapture. 

"The Breath of the Almighty gives me life."

He did. He does. He gets all the praise, every ounce and every iota. 
April 19, 2011 and April 19, 2012 and every April 19 till Kingdom Come and in eternity afterward.

"All day the song in my heart has been: *"Jesus has overcome and the grave is
overwhelmed, The victory is won, He is risen from the dead. And I will rise
when He calls my name, no more sorrow no more shame. I will rise up on
eagles's wings before my God, fall on my knees and rise.."*
Easter is coming, y'all.
EASTER. Resurrection, Hallelujah, what a Savior."
 ~ Esty, Thursday, Apr 21, 2011 at 03:57AM 


  1. Pshew. I was good until the last part. ;) please "relive" these next couple of weeks with link ups and flash backs! It was such an exciting and encouraging time for all of us waiting to welcome you all home! ;) xoxo u 6!

  2. Beautiful. I'm so grateful to have snuggled her way back then...watching some of your first moments together. She has Downes written all over her. Love you all!

  3. *tears* I have *got* to meet that girl.

  4. Love it. Happy Day my friend. Happy Day.