Friday, August 6, 2010

Leah


Sweet baby girl. I actually don't know how in the world to spell her name but it sounded similar to Leah so that is what I've called her. The tiny girl that changed the lenses through which I see my world.

This was the first time I saw you. Dressed in dirty rags, struggling to keep up. An older girl leading you by the hand near Jefferson's church. 

The sickness was obvious. While the other girls sang songs and played "London Bridge" you stood alone. Your eyes were struggling to stay open. You were so weak. 

Sweet little Leah was a three year old orphan from a nearby village. Her parents both dead of AIDS, her brother recently died of the same, & now she was fighting to live. 

A woman told me you lived with a grandmother who didn't have transportation or money to get the treatment you desperately needed. I remember picking you up, you were almost lifeless. You looked like one of those babies from the 'Save the Children' ads on TV. I would normally change the channel but now in the flesh, in my arms, here you were. You were covered in sores, surrounded by flies. I held you until you fell asleep with your precious head on my chest. The tears began falling and I couldn't turn them off. Overwhelming grief. Unanswered questions.

How could this be? How is this justice? Lord, how are you still good? The tears turned to anger. This is not fair. She does not deserve this. Why should this be her fate? Why?

I couldn't make sense of it. How was I born into prosperity and she born into this? My head knowledge failed me. There was not an answer. That night, in meeting with my team, I lost it. Everything I believed in was shaken. This God who I believed to be good would not let this happen. This God who I believed to be just would not turn a blind eye. How could I serve a God who wouldn't fix this? I was lost, I was broken. The pain and the questions were too much. I didn't sleep.

I sat down the next day and talked with another member of our team. He said, "Feel the pain. Let it sink deeply in and feel it so that you never forget. Ask the Lord for revelation. Sit still, wait, & listen." I spent hours journaling the depth of anger, the injustice, the lack of understanding, begging for a miracle, heal this baby girl.

I listened and He spoke. "Child, this is not for you to understand. I am God. You are not."
Eccl 5:2 "Be not rash with your mouth, nor let your heart be hasty to utter a word before God, for God is in heaven and you are on earth. Therefore let your words be few."

Humbled. What arrogance to think I know what's best. What pride to think my ways would be better. I do not understand. Nor will I ever. That is exactly what faith is all about. Faith is being sure of what we hope for, certain of what we do not see. I do not see good in this. But I am certain that God is who He claims to be. He is a good, just, loving, compassionate, redemptive Father whose heart breaks for His children. He uses hopeless situations and makes beauty from the mess. He is God. I am not.

"Isn't that like a finite mind setting out with such righteous indignation"

Sunday, August 1, 2010

Heeepos & What? Crocodiles

Not many words. The pictures are enough. Safari time.
Me and KW hanging on top of the van


 



    

Monday, July 26, 2010

You'll Come

I can't unsee what I've seen. I can't shake the images from my mind. Those babies, that hospital. One doctor here for every 2,000 people. So many orphans. So many widows. My heart is heavy thinking about what they don't have. The resources, the supplies, the knowledge. I don't get it. I don't see justice. But they are His. They are beloved. Their joy is infectious. They have so little, but their hearts are set on Him. They know the big picture. They know this is not our home. 
We worship as one. One body, the church, His bride. The King of glory, the Lord most high, all together praising His name! Barely understanding each others languages and yet hearts the same. This is a glimpse of what is to come. This is a glimpse of the Kingdom. When all will stand together as Your people, lifting our hands, shouting for joy to our King, dancing around the throne, every tribe, every tongue united by the blood. One day, there will be no more suffering, no more sickness, tears will be wiped away and all will know He is Lord! He will reign, the Spirit will flood over, and the enemy will be no more. Chains will be broken, the bondage broken. "Every knee will bow, every tongue confess He is Lord!"
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Saturday, July 24, 2010

I Won't Leave This Here

God seems to be speaking so loudly to each of us on this team. His voice so much louder here than at home, or maybe its just that I'm taking the time to listen. We are in constant fellowship here. The mornings are my favorite. We wake up and have time for prayer and worship as a team. My spirit's refreshed and excited for the new day. We are consistently given opportunities throughout the day to sing and dance and spend time with our Lord. The quality time leads to a better recognition of His voice. I wonder how many opportunities I miss at home to sit and listen throughout my day. "Be joyful always, pray continually, give thanks in all circumstances for this is God's will for your life."
There are no distractions here. There is no interference like at home. When the Spirit is speaking but five other noises are bombarding my ears, His voice becomes muffled. The life here is led simply. Freedom from the chaos & noise I surround myself with incessantly at home. The people here spend their free time in communion with their Father, not with facebook. These people are showing me how to live.

"I am the good Shepherd. I know my sheep & my sheep listen to my voice. I know them & they follow me." 


Wednesday, July 21, 2010

Now That I Have Seen, I Am Responsible

I am finally making it to the internet cafe where the power is running by generator so I'm not sure if this will last or not. It is our second full day in Gulu after 65 hours of travel. But the Lord has already shown me such vision for a future here with these communities. I prayed for clear eyes to see my purpose. I prayed for open ears to hear Him call my name. And I have seen and heard. 
Every community we step foot in, the first thing that we hear is the need for medical care and resources. Every time the words are spoken, Marisa looks over at me and smiles. She too hears Him calling my name. 

The people have been so welcoming, immediately serving us when we have come to serve. The food has been bad, really bad (fish beef? what is that? and why does it smell like feet?) 

I've already been overwhelmed to see the expectant faith of the Acholi people and how they take even the simplest requests to the Lord, to see the struggles they face & their joy that seems to never cease, to see that by our standards they have nothing and yet they believe they lack nothing through Christ.

I keep thinking of the words to the Brooke Fraser song "Albertine"... "now that I have seen, I am responsible." Seeing the medical center broke my heart. I am now responsible. 

This is Janet. She is a young nurse here who is determined to make a difference. There are so many here like her that work tirelessly without resources, without help, trying to save lives. She taught us to make ORS (oral rehydration solution) made of clean water, salt, & sugar. A basic mixture that is saving so many from dying of dehydration. Yes, dehydration. All it takes is teaching the people here how to replenish fluids and electrolytes and lives are saved. 

I made a promise to her that I will come back. 
I made a promise to her that I will not forget. 


Seeds are being planted here and roots are growing deeply. I have no doubt that a huge chunk of my heart will be left here in Uganda. 

I feel helpless now but I will be back with skills to help those people lined up at the hospital, waiting, hoping that someone would show up and make them well. There are plenty of days where I question going back to school but not now, not seeing these sweet faces. I hear Him calling. This is where I belong. 

"Christ has no body on earth but yours, no hands but yours, no feet but yours. Yours are the eyes through which Christ's compassion for the world is to look out; yours are the feet with which He is to go about doing good; and yours are the hands with which He is to bless us now." ~Saint Teresa of Avila

Monday, July 19, 2010

Africa

After a very long thirty plus hours of travel, we have arrived in Ethiopia. We still have a ways to go until we reach Gulu but the energy here is already palpable. Its pretty much what I expected - dirty, rundown, undeveloped - & yet incredibly full of hope. Brooke's words keep ringing in my mind... a picture of my heart tied to Uganda with a beautiful bow. When will I see that? When will that revelation come for me? Is my heart ready for that sort of attachment? Am I really ready to jump into this new relationship? What does this place hold for me? I don't want it to be just two weeks.  


I want my heart to be softened. I want to be moldable, flexible, ready to feel the Spirit stirring. I have been brought here with purpose and I don't want to miss the big picture because I am so focused on the darkness. He gives light where there is none, He gives beauty in the ashes.

I'm trying to tune in to the African culture, so as not to miss the beauty. My heart is naturally cynical, naturally a little negative. I want to see the Lord's hope and optimism in this land where things seem dreary and bleak. 
I have nothing to offer these people on my own. I feel unprepared. Inadequate. I want His eyes. I long for revelation! To put off all that is me, this harshness and sharpness, put on all that is Him, a heart of openness, compassion, joy, and grace. Let me love as He loves. Let me be a voice of encouragement. May the eyes of my heart be enlightened. 

He is Holy! His purposes, not ours. Let us trust the immeasurable greatness. The power of Christ in us as heirs. Let us not doubt that power - let us call for angels and miracles. Let us trust that you are big enough. Let us demand the mountains to move in the name of Jesus! All for your glory! All that they may know you are God! 

Luke 12:48 "From everyone who has been given much, much will be required, and from the one who has been entrusted with much, much more will be asked."

2 Cor. 3:5 "Not that we are sufficient in ourselves to claim anything as coming from us, but our sufficiency is from God, who has made us competent."


Monday, April 5, 2010

1 Year Later

I was flipping through an old journal tonight and I found this entry... exactly 1 year ago... 4/5/09. To give some context, I was living in Columbia, SC & my boyfriend and I had just called things off. I was a broken mess to say the least. Little did I know, less than 2 weeks later I would lose my job and within the month, I'd be packing up and moving my life to Nashville. I had no clue what I was signing up for.

"Where He leads, I will follow... Lord, You are my guide. Your paths are perfect and Your ways are flawless! I give You praise in the struggles because I know its for my good, Your glory. Drag me where You want me - give me eyes to see it & ears to hear Your calling. Convict my heart and let me rest in Your peace. I need You. All that is good in me is from You. I want to be used by You, moved by You, whatever may come, let me praise You and sing Hallelujah."

And one year later, here I sit in Nashville. Still unsure of where the Lord is calling me but knowing I'm exactly where I'm supposed to be. The provision has overflowed. May the cry of my heart always be... where He leads, I will follow.

Monday, January 25, 2010

Baby Boom

I knew it was inevitable. I'm all grown up. Or at least all of my friends are. Within the last year, most of my close girlfriends from home either had babies or announced they're pregnant. BABIES! And I LOVE it. My friends are amazing godly women and I have no doubt will be incredible moms.

But suddenly, it hit me. I'm not just one step behind anymore. I'm two (in some cases, three) steps behind. It seems like life is moving forward for everyone but me. Do you ever feel like you're stuck in the waiting? Like you've been sucked into some time warp and can't get out. I feel like time is speeding by and I'm still living like its 1999.

Even in the waiting, even in the unknown and uncertainty, even in the loneliness and singleness, when nothing in my world makes sense, I will praise the God who calms the seas and calls each star by name. Because that same God, who is "too lofty for me to attain" (Ps 139) is jealous for me and knows each hair on my head. Just try for 2 seconds to wrap your brain around that. It won't happen. THE One & Only Almighty, Ruler of all creation, Alpha & Omega, longs for my heart and a deep relationship with me.

And yet, I flail around like a 2 year old having a tempertantrum on the floor when God doesn't do things exactly how I've planned.

Today I will cling to truth - His ways are higher than my ways. His thoughts are higher than my thoughts. Nothing is beyond His control. He is Sovereign and Holy above all things. He is faithful to His promises - to give me hope and a future. My life is for His glory, not my comfort or my calendar. I am privileged to be a part of His story. How boring would life be if all went according to plan?! We'd all be such sticks in the mud. So thank the Lord my story looks different!! Hallelujah!

And in the mean time, check out the cuteness of their bambinos: