Saturday, December 19, 2015


Many, many months ago I ended a post with this quote and a promise to revisit the subject of poverty. 

"We must do our best to preach the gospel, to find cures for malaria, and to foster affordable housing.  But part of our striving is also to fall on our knees every day and pray, "Lord be merciful to me and my friends here, because we are both sinners."  And part of our striving means praying every day, "Thy kingdom come, Thy will be done in earth, as it is in heaven, for without You we cannot fix our communities, our nation, our world."  -When Helping Hurts
 And then I went almost completely silent.  I know I have been quiet, but I have been on a long and difficult journey, a lonely valley journey.  It has only been in the past several months that with the right people beside me, helping me process, even when they did not know they were, that I have been able to begin to climb the steep bank.  I know I have been quite, but I have been on a journey; a journey I did not really trust myself to share or be honest about for a lot of reasons.  Recently, D.L. Mayfield shared a post entitled "The Brutally Honest Christmas Card".  When I read the title I could not stop myself from reading.  From the caption and photo, I got the idea they had also done cross-cultural work and I thought to myself, "Oh-no!"  Her words drifted off the page at me:

 "birth and nearly died"  
                                                                                        "said goodbye to amazing friends"
                                     "We put our daughter through....a lot of transition"
                    "it is taking forever to get back on our feet"
                   "hard to edit when you are sad and aren't sleeping"

It caught my breath...a flood rushed in...the room was spinning.  Someone had put words to my experience.  She had said what I felt I could not because I did not trust myself to in a healthy way and because the religious culture we came from demanded I stay silent and only share the positive.  I still do not trust myself to be half as honest as she was, so if you want to read about what my last several years really looked like (not the exact same events, but our own hard things relating to cross-cultural work), you can go read her blog.  She says it honestly, but with the same hope our own hearts are filled with right now.  Mission work was amazing.  God was so good to us.  I am grateful for the things he allowed us to see and learn, and the people he let us work along side.  What a privilege to not just get to praise God in one tongue, but with fellow believers in their heart tongue.  One of my favorite moments in Mexico was in a little national church that was hosting a medical clinic, a prayer went up; at first a lone voice in Spanish and then one in English joined it, then Korean and the indigenous language of Amuzco.  Can you image! 

But it was also hard, I have some pretty deep battle scares, some of them in my back.  I have experienced things that have left my heart broken, but I am grateful I am broken and my heart is broken, maybe God can really use me now.  

"But perhaps the most significant thing is that Jesus is no longer an abstract person, a walking theology, a list of do's and dont's to me. This is the year I recognized him as my battered, bruised brother, and I see how he never once left my side. " -D.L. Mayfield

The words from the quote surprised me when I read them as I sat down to try to start blogging again.  Reread the quote.  There is a lot packed in that humble prayer.  We are all suffering from a sort of poverty that is brought on by living in this fallen world.  Does not my own story bear witness to this; my struggle these years in Mexico as I grappled with my own identity, my own sometimes ugly heart, my own feeling of shrinking options.  It also surprised me that, while I had not come back to this blog in months, this prayer had really become a part of me.  It is the eyes through which I see the world.  A broken girl, living in a broken world, called to not look away.  

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