I’ve had a hard time reconciling in the past few weeks.
I hear this happens when you’ve been away.
I have been so emotional, and I feel like the Lord is challenging me to start doing things in a new way. I haven’t blogged much because, as I said before, I am getting a little sick of myself 🙂 I also haven’t blogged because I have needed to spend some time with the Lord, dealing with that little word and what it was going to mean for me.
Because in Kolkata, I was her, and here, I am me again.
They didn’t know anything about me except that I had hands and that I was there to help, and it was a breath of fresh air to be used by the Lord in this way. Everything that I have tied myself to in life became beautifully, naturally, and completely irrelevant.
And I want to be her.
I have noticed a sad theme in many parts of the blog world, and it is disheartening to see people scrutinizing each other. Tearing down the good and building up the worst, endlessly searching for the thing that will make another person hurt. It’s always the ones that are the most wounded who come searching, and what they find are others that are vulnerable. They all gather around and try to ignite a fire where God is at work. I would be lying if I said I hadn’t had a few stop by to criticize me. I am grateful it doesn’t happen often, but when it does, it usually packs a punch.
Like the email I received while I was in India, describing in vivid and incredibly inaccurate terms exactly how my children were dealing with me being gone. How they were crying for me, searching for me, desperate to know where mommy was. She went on to say that I cannot save the world and that I needed to get home to my children where I belonged.
I sat on my bed, computer open, with tears staining my face.
Was I hurt because my kids were in danger, or because I thought I might have done the wrong thing by going?
I am, first and foremost, accountable to the Lord, and I knew He wanted me on that trip. Also, my children were riding a roller coaster in the Mall of America with their dad and his best friend “Uncle Dan,” and I think if you saw the pictures, you would agree that they were not traumatized :).
I was hurt that a “fellow sister” would spend that much time analyzing me from afar, and instead of praying for me, she sought to hurt me. Her tone made it very clear that I was in the wrong, and stung with it’s imagery of abandonment and distress.
I read it to my roommate Anne, and she nodded sympathetically. She isn’t a complete stranger to those kinds of things, because she is a brave, authentic and brilliant woman, and she says things that might make you think. And trust me, not all people want to think. They would rather criticize.
I’m not going to dignify this with further details, but I will say that apparently there are also people who are wounded enough in this life that they feel the need to try and tarnish the name of someone who has a ministry. Why? Because they don’t want someone else to get attention? Because they are jealous? Because they are lonely? I don’t know why. But it makes me sad, because that could have been a place where something beautiful grew instead…an offering the Lord would readily receive, but no. The ego and emotions win out again. I just hate that.
I don’t want to be here, where Godly women prey on each other instead of seeking to build them up. It breaks my heart to watch firsthand the way that can undo someone who needed to be reminded that the Lord is good, and He is with us. They need a cheerleader, a reason to hope, a glimpse of love. And the stranger heaps coals and sits idly by while that little string she pulled begins to unravel. It is one of satan’s favorite ways of distracting us; convincing us that if we bring someone down, we will be higher. It’s as anti-Gospel as it gets, and it seems rampant these days.
I feel so burdened right now, and not many people have a place like this where they can come and speak freely, praying that those who read would hear her heart. So I am going to write for a bit before I go to bed and ask the Lord to work with my exhaustion, because He has already made it clear that He will not bring sleep tonight if I don’t write these words.
I just want to be her, here.
I want to be the girl who walked into a home for Mother Teresa’s home for the dying, and despite the conditions, went over to a man who was probably hours from death and put her hands… His hands… on the fragile man’s arm as he tried to speak. I liked who I was there because I was hands on flesh, heart lifted in prayer, silently begging for mercy on a stranger’s behalf. When I finished, he pointed at the sky and looked at me as if to say, “I am going…” Oh Jesus, to know that he was with You now would bring me such unspeakable joy.
So how do we manage to combine the beautiful calling the Lord has on our lives while actually living our lives? Because I can’t get back to Kolkata today, and I am desperate to touch the sick and calm the fearful. Do you ever feel like you want to make an impact but your life doesn’t feel big enough? It isn’t right-thinking, but it is natural.
A little more than a month ago, I hadn’t met the faces that taught me about her. This girl who lived inside of me and wanted to be better, not because of the accolades, but because of the most exquisite peace that came going where He led me. Trusting Him relentlessly, with great joy.
And I liked her.
Yesterday I was in a funk and as the trash guys came to get the trash, I reminded Todd to see what their favorite drinks were. In the summer, we leave out a cooler on Wednesdays for them, right by the trash can. After shopping for the drink that each man wants, the kids help us put them in the cooler and then they play until they hear the sound of metal coming down the road, at which point they high-tail it to the front window so they can make sure they get their drinks.
I also love to order pizza if we have someone helping out around the house with broken cable wires or a malfunctioning appliance. I love to talk to them and make them feel at home. I didn’t really think anyone had noticed, but the next time the cable guy came, Ellie disappeared for a few minutes and then popped her head around the door and gingerly set something down before nervously running back down the hall.
She was gone before I looked down to see the plate she had brought over for our “helper,” full of plastic pizza slices and a wooden milk carton. She had also included one piece of plastic broccoli and a slice of delicious looking decorative cake.
And I realized that in some ways, ways I may have deemed small before, I can be her, here.
And so can you, wherever you are. Even if you aren’t a she. All three of you who are men who read my blog can take over the him, here side of this 🙂
I guess the bottom line is that I feel the most in the presence of the Lord when I am serving others, and my great desire is to glorify Him in doing so. It’s easy to feel that when you are a bazillion miles away and the air is thick with desperation. But then you come home, and if you are like me, you have a pretty good life, and you get comfortable.
I think my highest calling is to be a Godly wife and mother, and that is what I try to focus on. But I also want to feel more like a “city on a hill” in my everyday life than I normally do.
Raise your hand if you feel that way too.
I’m not alone.
And also I’m so glad I’m the one who decides how many hands are up.
I have started to realize that while I don’t know what God has for me in the future as far as traveling to other countries, I have a ministry in my own backyard, and I want to make the most of it. I bet you do too, and that’s why I’m writing.
It might be something simple, like walking around the neighborhood with your kids on a prayer walk and as you pass each house, mention what you know of the family’s needs and then stop and pray in front of their house. We do this sometimes and it’s awesome. It’s not as awesome when your four year old yells to your 40 year old single male neighbor, “Hey Mr. Chris! Did you get a wife yet?”
The point is, we are supposed to look different than the rest of the world. We shouldn’t be the ones that waiters dread because we don’t tip after dinner, or the ones that roll our eyes when something is taking longer than we feel like it should. Quite frankly, we just aren’t that important.
We are supposed to be a refuge, and encouragement, a reflection of the One we serve. I know it isn’t easy to do it all the time, and in fact, I think is pretty much impossible. But it doesn’t mean that as you walk through your day, you shouldn’t search for ways to do everything a little better. Talk to your boss with respect. Ask the girl at the coffee shop what her name is, and make a point of remembering it. Offer to help when no one has asked. Teach your children by example. Listen for what someone is really trying to say instead of what you want to hear.
I could go on and on, but I think you get the point. The reason I wanted to write this post is that I want to be inspired, and I want others to be as well. To that end, I would be so blessed if you would leave a comment with something that you do to be her, here. And as you have the time, scroll through the comments and let the words of others plant seeds for you as well.
I wrote as much as I could last night and then I fell asleep, so today I finished up and now I’m going to head out for the day. I can’t wait to come back and read what you all have to say, because I think we’re all in need of some good news.
If you want to get connected with some new ministries, these two are on my heart right now, and I think you will love them both. The first I have mentioned before, and if you click over to their site and blog, you will see what Baby Be Blessed is up to. I just love them and their hearts, and I can’t wait to tell you how they impacted our Compassion trip to India…amazing. I also want to introduce you to a ministry I have recently learned of, and I think it is the coolest idea. It’s called Pass It On, Baby, and it is a great opportunity to help kids in need of clothing. Click here to read all about it.
You have no idea how the Lord will use you if you allow Him to fill the moments of your day that you see as mundane.
I am happy to say that the photos I twittered several months ago were from a special wedding, and we were so excited to celebrate with “Mr. Chris” as he married an amazing woman we have been praying would come along.
It was such a joyful evening, despite the fact that Todd did the electric slide with a fervor that made me want to hide under the table.
I am so looking forward to hearing from you…