The photo I use for my blog banner is the top half of a picture my daughter Giana painted for me. I hope to someday get a portion of the painting tattooed onto my body. But, that's another topic for another time.
The hands in the painting represent me, and the butterflies are my three now grown children. They know I'll always be here for them (thus the open hands), but Tom and I raised them to fly free. Gia chose Africa as the backdrop for the piece because she has flown there now several times, and I was lucky enough to share one of those amazing life-changing trips with her.
I've known for many years that Giana needs to fly. An old adage says, "If you love something, let it go. If it comes back it's yours. If it doesn't, it never was." It's hard for a parent to let a baby bird fly away from the nest, but it's what you do when you love the anxious little creatures. Gia was born to fly - and she's been flappin' her wings since she was twelve years old.
Last Sunday Jaco Van Schalkwyk was visiting church from South Africa where he is the Executive Director of Refilwe Community Project, a foster care facility for orphans. I'd heard about Jaco, and was excited to meet him. I told him how my daughter was hoping to one day be part of a long-term volunteer service in Africa. He said, "That's the kind of thing I like to hear."
Well, within three hours Gia was sitting at a table with Jaco and his American hosts. One thing led to another, and bam, Gia is scrambling to get to South Africa. As luck would have it, she already has a trip to Malawi, Africa planned and will be leaving on July 27. It won't take much to get her re-routed to Johannesburg instead of California.
The logistics are still being worked out, and we're not sure just how long she'll be out of the country and off our continent. I KNOW this is where she's supposed to be - at least for now. She's got a heart for the hurting, a love for the indigent, compassion for the lost, and wings to take her where her passions lead.
I'm so proud of the beautiful independent daughter that God entrusted to me. You go, girl!