This post–one of those posts–you hope it’s just a journal documenting my days…and nobody actually comes here to read what I write.
Today was one of those days.
Good, but hard days.
I would take a “do-over” if I could, but I think I actually learn more in the “good, but hard”–so I’ll gulp and learn…and put one foot in front of the other.
Often I end my days feeling like I’m “too much”. “Too much” mostly because I think “too much”. Can you relate? But today–I end feeling the “not enough” instead. But I know this is a lie we tell ourselves. Especially as moms in the trenches…in the middle of the days we will one day greatly miss. It’s okay because HE is enough. He redeems. He makes all things new. And when I mess up…forget…or need to change perspective–He fills in all the gaps healing all the hiccups where I’ve gone wrong.
This week. We made history in the journey of Wiphan. www.wiphan.org This ministry that we’ve been a part of for almost 6 years now. This ministry that has changed us. Based in Ndola, Zambia. 450+ orphans. 160+ widows. And about $80,000 under budget what we need for committed yearly income. Yet I know He is El Roi. He will provide. I think about how many of us will spend $1,000 on Christmas gifts–yet if we had just 80 families give $1,000 each year to Wiphan–it would fill the gap for these orphans and widows to continue in their education and safe place to go. He is El Roi. He will provide.
History was made as Cuthbert, one of Wiphan Zambia’s teachers, stepped off the plane this week here in Atlanta. It is his first trip to the USA. It is our first Zambian staff who has successfully gotten a VISA to exit the country to visit us. Here he will be training for a week and a half for the sake of our widows ministry. Training and learning–so he can return and train them. It’s been hard to get staff out as the country fears they will not return–but because Cuthbert is married with a young son–he was able to leave convincing them he has good reason to return.
Last night–we sat with Cuthbert over dinner. I’m surprised he met us at our choice of restaurants as the day earlier he stopped by the house to visit with other Wiphan folks and I served them my SPICY Southern cheese straws. (You know you secretly want the recipe I love to use😉 As we were eating–we asking Cuthbert what his first impression was of America. He took a deep breath…
Come on–you can tell us!
And then he said, “When I return to Zambia–I will tell them this from my trip. Here in American–even your cars have houses.”
I thought of the kids.
How their homes are half–some times a quarter of the size as most of our garages.
[If you are looking for a place to give–or you want to be a part of Wiphan–my sweet sister has headed up the Grateful Project for our current needs…you can watch this if you are interested in being a part–giving in someone’s name this season…]
And then there’s me. My struggle with what we feel called to do in creating community and my flesh of want.
For weeks, we’ve been getting on zillow, realtor.com–searching high and low for a farm. We have this vision to create community and really walk together…serving one another and serving others together. As you search–you see what more $$$ will get you. It’s an investment. You will use it for His glory. You will bless people with it. Yada, Yada, Yada. The same goes for our other material things we need. Right? All easily justified. God wants us to have good things. Right? We will use it to bless others? Right? We deserve it–well, because we earned it…and God helps those that help themselves?? Hmmmm. I do believe God is good. I do believe He wants us to have good things. But I do not believe He wants us to have good things at the expense of others. And I lose perspective.
I’m not speaking to you. Assuming no one reads this. But to me. This is ME. What I struggle with.
I do think it’s okay for us to have a farm. Just as it’s okay for you to have ______, ______, and _______. BUT–there is a difference between what we need and want. There is a difference between what is fruitful and what is excess. And we have to be so careful of placing ourselves in a position where we are indebted more to our lifestyle and what we want in goodness rather than true sacrificial service…truly living for the gospel…truly living as—–take a deep breath…as Jesus would have.
Broken and tempted and selfish…that’s me.
And I know I’m not enough. But He is.
And I need to stay close to Him.
Because, for me, living in our culture and living for Christ is more difficult than my packing my bags to go love and serve and live with nothing in a 3rd world country for Him. At least–I know that’s true for me.
And the trying to live for Him–is a constant contrast with the dailies in this world.
I’m married to a man who often has to travel. He left on Sunday and returned on Wednesday this week. On Sunday night, I was sitting in my living room as water started to drip out of a light socket. I thought it was a busted pipe. So–I called a plumber. For your entertainment in this post–TOTALLY shady y’all. He was trying to be rico, suave–but we all know there is only one Rico Suave;). He left unsure of what the problem was and said he’d return on Monday morning to start cutting dry-wall. Oh gracious. Rico Suave is gonna kill me I thought. What to do. What to do?! I called dear friends–and they discovered it was actually a leak in the dryer vent. (Long story for another day–but yes…if your dryer vent is clogged it can leak.) Of course the vent folks can’t come until next week–soooooo…I found myself with a week’s worth of laundry at the coin laundry tonight…
A week’s worth of laundry for 2 adults, 4 kids + 1 toddler filled this many baskets =
I got to the coin laundry and walked past a nice older guy sitting outside in the FREEEEEEEEEZZZZZING cold.
3, 4, 5 baskets.
6 freaking baskets. Of clothes!
At each of my 6 trips–he laughed at me.
Hauling MOUNDS of clothes and sheets and towels past him.
I got $20 in change and started my rounds in commercial washers and went to make small talk with the South Korean old man that owns the laundry. (You guys KNOW I can’t just sit there. Make the most of every opportunity:).
I asked about the nice man outside–my other new friend…in the FREEEEEEZZZZZZZING cold.
And in broken English–this is what I got. He’s no place to go. He likes to smoke. He always sits there. Homeless.
I watched my 6 loads of laundry spin and spin and spin and spin.
And I wrestled.
Because I’m not okay with carrying 6 loads of laundry past a homeless guy.
And I’m not okay with doing nothing.
And I was nervous.
And I know we are called to take risks.
So I took a deep breath–walked down the strip mall. At 9pm in Atlanta in a strip mall that has a coin laundry–trust me–I was also praying for the Lord’s protection;). [If you are reading–and you know Rico–don’t tell him this part.]
I found a Latino bakery. The only thing that might have something warm. Thankfully they did. I grabbed a hot decaf…went back…delivered the decaf to my new cold friend–and spent the washing machine cycle of 6 loads of excess talking to this kind soul. Knowing that some times hiccups like broken dryers happen in our lives for a greater purpose. To connect with others…to show them they have great purpose…and to open our hands to whatever the Lord might have for us.
Because I can assure you the blessing and growth and change…is truly for us when we follow Him in the uncomfortable.
And I know the Lord worked. I could feel it. Not just in the talk. Not just in the depth. But even in the South Korean coin laundry owner as he watched through the window.
And as I talked the Lord worked. And not how you might be thinking. But I remembered. How today I messed up. And it was almost hard to concentrate in the conversation with my new friend out there in the freezing cold. As I thought of how I said something unkind today to one of my beloved children. For the first time in my mommyhood–I was done…like really done. Tired. Needing a break. Really done. Done to the point that I said something unkind. And I sat there. Broken. Realizing that today I was not only broken but I also broke something…someone. And I looked over at this most beautiful grown man–and realized that many years ago he was also someone’s beloved child. I took a deep breath. And sighed. Brokenness got him here. Brokenness got me here. And we all need a Savior.
Oh how I need him. I’m not enough. I mess up. And today–I want a do-over. But I have to trust that in my mess-ups that He is enough. In the mess-ups in my new friend’s life–He is enough. The Lord can use even our mess-ups for His good–for His glory–to change them–to change me. And if we just trust Him–He can work wonders.
And in all these different moments in the last 24 hours–I realize how much we need Him. In our dailies. Hourlies. Minute by minute.
And even with Him in my life–I will mess up.
But I do not have to carry that–because He is able to mend.
He is enough to cover it all up with His glory, goodness and healing.
And some times as tired mommies we just need to rest. To breath. To be still.
We need to come to Him–and to bring our babies with us. And to not carry the guilt…or the not enoughs…
But to just ask Him to be with us–to guide us–to fill us–and to bless us with perspective as we make decisions and journey through these days.
And to celebrate and worship Him for the mountains He has carried us through…to leave us rejoicing on the other side–knowing it was only Him…only Him…that could have seen us through.