I am learning, very slowly, to find home here amongst the brush and young aching hearts that surround me. It’s been an intense sort of awakening, of late.
The truth is, I have struggled against this ministry since the moment we arrived. I wanted to love every minute of it. I (foolishly) anticipated this whole experience to fill me with wonder, to carry me through every difficulty with a spiritual high that found me on my knees, hands lifted high, surging with joy.
No one tells you how hard you will have to fight to keep your faith when you lay it all down, for Faith.
Of course I didn’t really think I’d soar with happiness all the time, but deep down I believed that saying a big, fat “yes” to the God of All Good Things would free me up to experience a resounding confirmation that I Can Make a Difference in These Lives.
And friends… it’s been hard. Soul-ripping, head-pounding, gut-aching. Difficult. And the world we’ve shifted to, here, has seemed so… barren… that the rusty deadness creeping through the poverty in this map-dot town has crept right into the heart of me and dulled it down to shades of brown and beige and rust. I have been, here, as brittle as the dry grass that swallows up this place, swept harsh by wind and the pain that beckons or keeps each one of us in this place.
I have lived decades in the last six months. I wasn’t sure I’d make it another six.
But it occurred to me, recently, that surrendering to this ministry – to loving and serving and giving it all for these kids really means surrender. It means vulnerability and (gulp) sacrifice. It means embracing all that is foreign about this life and the living of it, and emptying all that I think I need in order that I might be filled. It is only when I am filled, filled with Grace and Gratitude and Real Love that I can spill over and bless these kids, these wounded hearts that I am here to nourish.
It is only when I fully receive the gift of God’s presence that my presence can be a gift to God.
And little by little, grace by grace, the grass is beginning to grow. My feet are steadying, here, and my heart is sewing strong stitches to the hearts of these seven little strangers that honor me and call me Mom, though we are still new at learning each other. And learning to love is always a wild ride.
"The ransomed of the Lord will return. They will enter Zion with singing; everlasting joy will crown their heads. Gladness and joy will overtake them, and sorrow and sighing will flee away. I, even I, am he who comforts you..."/"I have put my words in your mouth and covered you with the shadows of my hand -- I who set the heavens in place, who laid the foundations of the earth..." Isaiah 51:11-12; 16