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Do You Know Who You Belong To?

Last week,I was cleaning out a dresser drawer and spotted the clothes my youngest daughter was adorning when the nannies from the orphanage lovingly placed her in my arms. The clothes were mismatched, tattered, faded, and yes, smelly. As I stared at the clothes I began to reminisce and my mind took me back to an orphanage in Kunming, China. This orphanage was where a sweet, little, rosy-cheeked baby had spent most of her 10 months of life. Although she looked like a "ragamuffin" in the worn out clothes, I couldn't have loved her more.

The adoption process in China at that time was business first. Each baby's Mandarin name was announced in a roll-call fashion. Immediately after our baby was placed in my arms, it was time to complete the legal adoption documents. As I completed the necessary paperwork, I lovingly bounced my little 'Samantha' on my lap. She kept turning her head around to look at me. She showed no emotion, no crying or laughing; it was more of a curious look. Perhaps she was thinking, " Who is this very white person holding me?" When our paperwork was completed, we were whisked away to an office building to take passport pictures of our little darlings. I was with a group of about eight families adopting babies to be taken back to America to their new family. As I was attempting to get the necessary paperwork around, I asked a kind woman in our group to hold my baby so I could locate the documents. No sooner had 'Sami' left my arms, than she began to cry - her two fists outstretched toward me. I was awestruck that in a few hours this little baby already knew we belonged together; I was her momma. Jesus' words in John 10:27-28 say, "My sheep hear my voice, and I know them, and they follow me, I give them eternal life, and they will never perish, and no one will snatch them out of my hand.

"Do you recognize His voice? Do you know that you belong to Him?

Just as my baby Samantha knew she belonged to me, we too can know we belong to Jesus. When we are followers of Christ, we recognize Him through his Word. We acknowledge Him daily in our prayers. We can't be taken away from Him. Even when we are lost, tattered, broken, and yes sometimes smelly, He loves us and calls us His own. We belong to Him. 1 John 3:1 states, " See what kind of love the Father has given to us, that we should be called children of God; and so we are."

Twenty years have passed since I left that orphanage in China and my love for that sweet little baby, now a grown woman, has never wavered. Yes, she knows my voice, but more importantly she realizes how much God loves her and recognizes the voice of the Shepherd. I hope you feel loved today, friend. Because God loves you!

Prayer: Heavenly Father, thank you for being the Good Shepherd who leads His sheep. May we learn to recognize your voice as you reveal yourself to us through your Holy Spirit. Thank you for loving us right where we're at. Amen

Bible Verse: Romans 8:36 "Who will separate us from Christ's love? Will we be separated by trouble, or distress, or harassment, or famine, or nakedness, or danger, or sword?"

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