This trip has taken a massive toll on my daughter Nastia. She has trudged on like a trooper, but she has been severely homesick for over a month, and a few times has expressed such grief that I honestly did not know if I was doing permanent damage by staying here. Last night was sadly one of those nights. The outpouring of grief was so huge and so deep and so profound, I could do nothing but hold her and ask God for His peace for her.
Nastia hates it here. I'm not sure if hate is even a strong enough word. Repulsed, maybe? I have not blogged about it because I was honestly hoping to see a turn-around. You know, 'Russian girl embraces her home country and finds peace' -- that sort of thing. Nope. Not happening. She is positively bereft at not being home. She says over and over that she will never ever ever come here again. She despises this place, her homeland, and wants out now.
Technically, we have three weeks left, but I honestly don't know if she can make it that long. It seems we have exhausted all routes of bringing Anya home (another post for another day) and If I'm going to lose one daughter, I am certainly going to do everything I can to keep the other one ok.
Visions of Sophie's Choice come to mind. It is slowly dawning on me that I will be leaving Russia with one daughter in tow -- one exhausted, overwhelmed, burned out, grieving daughter. The other one? The one I must leave behind? All I can do, all I can possibly do, is leave her in God's hands.
Each night I end my prayers by envisioning my two girls lying in the lap of God. He looks on them with great love while they lie there, curled up within the folds of His garments. He showers them with light while they lie there, dreaming. He reminds them that someday this hurt will all be over. He strokes their hair. He wipes the tears from their cheeks. I know He loves them like I do.
So this is the vision I will hold in my mind when I say goodbye to Anya. I consecrate her to Him. I beg Him to keep her safe in a place where safety and peace are hard-won.
I thought I was writing this post asking for prayers for Nastia. That was my intention. But our need for prayer clearly extends so much further. As we enter our last few weeks here, please pray for my girls. I don't have any answers. My hands are empty. I came here with the greatest hope that Anya would leave with us, but it is looking very much like we will be walking away from her. Again.
How will I possibly do that?
The Christmas Holidays at home, and all its indulgent trappings, will feel like a slap in the face. Our home itself will provoke guilt for me. And as much as Nastia is desperate to get out of here, I know her grief at the loss of her sister will fill a canyon when we get home.
God, in your great mercy, please help us.