Saturday, March 31, 2012

Rain upon a wretched soul

The rain falls hard upon the tin roof. 

The sound is music to my ears. 

I cannot think of a more peaceful sound. 

It’s raining season in Haiti, which means that every evening or most every evening we have to take the clothes off of the line, make sure all of the windows are shut, and get inside before the downpour.

I think this is my favorite time of the year. The rain has so much significance in this country because it creates life. However to me I feel it not only creates life in me, but washes me. It cleanses me, and I feel as if with every drop it cleanses this country.

The sin in this place is as great as the sin is in other countries. The only difference is you have the opportunity to see it more clearly then you do in other countries. In Haiti the suppressing evil dwells among the people in their desperation to become satisfied. And it makes perfect sense, because if they find in themselves a desire which has not been satisfied, then they simply go somewhere to fulfill that satisfaction. However they know the satisfaction will not last forever so as soon as they feel it again they fulfill again. It soon becomes a never ending battle with the forces of evil. And I am not exempt. Paul says, “For I do not understand my own actions. For I do not do what I want, but I do the very thing I hate. Now if I do what I do not want,  I agree with the law, that it is good. So now it is no longer I who do it, but sin that dwells within me. For I know that nothing good dwells in me, that is, in my flesh. For I have the desire to do what is right, but not the ability to carry it out. For I do not do the good I want, but the evil I do not want is what I keep on doing. Now if I do what I do not want, it is no longer I who do it, but sin that dwells within me. So I find it to be a law that when I want to do right, evil lies close at hand. For I delight in the law of God, in my inner being, but I see in my members another law waging war against the law of my mind and making me captive to the law of sin that dwells in my members. Wretched man that I am! Who will deliver me from this body of death? Thanks be to God through Jesus Christ our Lord! So then, I myself serve the law of God with my mind, but with my flesh I serve the law of sin” (Romans 7:15-25).

And if indeed I find in myself the very nature at which I long to not be, I realize I am still in my sinful flesh, in need of a cleansing rain, a Mighty Savior. As the rain falls  upon the tin roof of this tiny house, I feel the cleansing rain of Jesus coming upon my wretched soul, renewing me and teaching me it is not about me. Surely it is about Him, in His fullness, living through us, and being the strength that we cannot be. It is about the people in Haiti running to their Maker, their Savior, their King, knowing they are sinful beings. It is about little Ella Grace being raised in a Haitian home by Haitian parents who love her and care for her as their Heavenly Father cares for her. And I pray, oh how my soul longs and prays for her family to raise her in a Godly home if they decide to take her back.

She has taught me more then my mind can even comprehend, and thanks be to God, because He alone knows I was in need of refining. Wretched man that I am! What silliness for me to begin to think that I could raise this child on my own, apart from Him. I cannot, I will not, and I should not. He has offered me a priceless gift, which cannot be replaced by any other gift in this world nor could it even be compared. IT is a gift of love, an act of grace, and a winning cry. Our Savior our God, He reigns, and He lives among us, within us. He is my strength when it is 4 am and I simply cannot continue to be grace and mercy to Ella Grace. He is all of the humility within me longing to bow down to Himself. (that’s a weird thought huh?) If everything good within me is Him, then all of Him is bowing to Himself, in order to bring glory to Himself. Yes, praise be to Him.

In this moment when I am enjoying the rain upon the tin roof and little Ella Grace decides to wake up and cry out for somebody to hold her, my flesh has to die. There is no choice within me but for me to not see myself. I must look only upon the cross, surrender every right I have to enjoy laying on my bed listening to the rain, and instead, reach out and hold this helpless baby.

Isn’t this how our heavenly Father sees us? We are helpless. Lost. Sinful. Wretched. Crying for our Father to reach down and pick us up. We know nothing except the sound of His voice as our comfort, and the beat of His heart underneath our skin. It is what we long for, and it is what we long for the world to long for. For all of the Haitians to come to their knees and see their sin, in complete humility bowing at the face of their creator and longing to be held in His arms. It is the Gospel!

This is what He has been doing in the past month while I have taken care of this little one. He has proven to me the Gospel is so alive, it is lived out in every aspect of life. We need the Gospel, we need the Good News, we NEED Jesus Christ, just as a helpless little malnourished child named Ella Grace, needs someone to bend down and pick her up, feed her, cloth her, and love her unconditionally. I NEED my Savior every second of every day. I need Him when I am face down on the floor at my wits end, hungry, naked, and unloved. I need Him even when I am singing with joy at the top of my lungs with the body of Christ. I need Him when my best friend or family member has passed away. I need Him when I wake up in the morning. I need Him when I find out I have terminal illness. I need Him when I find out I may not be able to have children. I need Him when the world is falling down. I need Him every second of EVERY DAY.

Lord I need you.

Tuesday, March 20, 2012

A Failing Servant by the Grace of God.

Again I have failed at being that which my Heavenly Father has called me to be. The first couple of days of having a new baby and seeing the joy that it brought to her face to be loved were incredibly exhilarating. But I have never been tested so much and failed so often. Being a mother is not easy. It seems to be a beautiful happy moment when you are in front of everybody and somebody wants to hold her and she is perfectly content, but it isn't easy, nor is it perfect. It is the moments when Ella Grace is crying without ceasing and I have tried every possible remedy including holding her for an hour, those are the moments that my faith, patience, and humility has been tested. Those are the moments when nobody is watching and I am given the opportunity to respond in patience or frustration. 

Ella Grace has come into my life at a very perfect time. She stepped when I was not expecting at all to be molded and tried in this manner. And these moments when the Lord presents an obstacle to us that we have zero experience in, this is when He proves His strength in us. He shows us that it is not at all about us but about Him, about the Gospel. 

I have walked Ella Grace around this compound numerous times, but there was one time a few nights ago that the Lord revealed to me even more about being her spiritual mother. As I looked up at the star-lit sky I looked back down at her sweet angelic face and I whispered the entire Gospel into her ear, beginning to end. And as I finished sharing the Gospel with her I prayed that for the rest of her life, she would bring the Gospel to whoever she comes in contact with whether it is her story or when she begins speaking or her sweet smile, I pray that people see her and know she is a child of God. 

In that moment when I am laying looking at her and I see that she is not going to stop crying I have to lay her down and look at her eyes and be reminded of who she is in Christ. Otherwise I become so overwhelmed by the sin and pain in and around her that I lose sight of the one who has promised to heal her. These past couple of days have been rough. They are the ones that I have seen that my love for Ella Grace is conditional, I realized that when she is "whining" I am tempted to lose my cool and forget how much I love her. But while performing certain mommy duties that I don't particularly love, I realized that Christ's love is not conditional. Whether Ella Grace will not stop crying and I am catching her poop in my hand or if she is being a little lovebug, I love her, not because of me but because Christ first loved me. Because He has given me the strength and the grace to continue in this race, despite every moment that I fail. WIthout His grace I am nothing, I am forever a failure. But by His grace I may be a failing servant. 

Praise Him.

"It shall not be so among you. But whoever would be great among you must be your servant, and whoever would be first among you must be your slave, even as the Son of Man came not to be served but to serve, and to give His life as a ransom for many." Matthew 20:27-28

And Lord my prayer today, grant me the grace to continue as a failing servant, that my life may continually be poured out for the salvation of your sons and daughters, my brothers and sisters, and all whom you entrust to me as spiritual sons and daughters. Praise be to you above all, for the calling which you have given to all of your children to be failing servants.

Ella Grace

Wilna has a new name for her new life. Her new name is Ella Grace. However, it isn't really a new name it is her name. It is her name as given by the Lord. As I was laying in Ayla and I's room holding Wilna I was thinking about the new life she will have. I was pondering all of the work the Lord has done and will do through her. I was also thinking about how much Iove her and long for her to have a new life, sorta like a new life in Christ I suppose. I long for her to know Christ as I know Him, and to love Him as I love Him. Iong for her to share the Gospel from the very moment she can speak. I have no idea how long I will be in her life, but I pray that even as Ieave this place that the time I have spent with her grows exponentially into eternity. I pray that the moments I have spent praying with her/over her and for her, are stretched as far as love can go. I pray that they may accompany her into the hands and hearts of all of those who care for her. But more then all of that I pray that her salvation is made sure in Jesus Christ that He would call her to Him. He will, I know it.

March 12, 2012

I don't have a word for this day of my life except for maybe overwhelmed. It started earlier then any other day in Haiti has started because little Ella Grace was in pain. As I picked her up out of her crib and held her I cried out to the Lord to give her peace so that she could sleep. I cried out to Him that He would heal her and I laid her down on my chest because I knew she had to be woken up at 2 anyways to eat. As I lay there on my little cot I thought about how long it has been that I have been up at 1 in the morning crying out to God. It is funny how the Lord uses circumstances in our life which He creatively ordained to bring us right to our knees. I can't tell you how many times I have laid in bed wanting to be able to get up at 1 and pray until 4 but I have never been able to until now, when the Lord has ordained this circumstance where I don't have a choice but to be awake. I can't say I will always be happy to wake up at 1 in the morning, but I will say I pray I do not turn to the world or to the frustration of the circumstance but that I would turn to the solution and the joy of the circumstance.

Saturday, March 10, 2012

A miracle baby:Wilna

Her name is Wilna. 
She is 16 months old (1 year and 4 months for all of you who have trouble doing math :) and she weighs about 12 lbs.
She came to the orphanage 3 days ago because her mother couldn't take care of her. She has pneumonia and is very malnourished. She also has worms which is causing her to lose a lot of the nutrients she was getting from her mother's milk. But for the past 5 days I have been her primary caretaker, but I believe it is more of her spiritual mother. These past few days have been one of the biggest learning periods of my life. All of the times I have dreamed about having my own children I dreamed about how I would raise them. I dreamed of ceaselessly praying for them, over them, and with them. And the Lord has finally given me the opportunity to experience this love. Through 5 restless nights I have woken Wilna up to feed her to make sure she has enough nutrients to sustain her for the night. But the first night as I laid on my bed and she laid on top of me I believed in the work the Lord was going to do in this little girl. I believed with my whole heart that Jesus Christ was going to heal her. The next day she still seemed bad so Wednesday we took her to the doctor to make sure she was getting better. (what an experience that was taking a Haitian baby to the doctor, the Lord overwhelmed us with His favor though). The doctor told us she is gradually getting better but that she is very very malnourished. Wednesday night I came into the room to change her 12th diarrhea diaper but after I changed her diaper I was caught in the moment. I was sitting there on my floor praising God for bringing this little girl into my life even if it is a short season. And then He gave me the promise through her that He did rise from the dead in 3 days and that she would as well. As she laid there on the floor she looked up to me and started making noises. She was talking to me. Her mom said she hadn't ever talked, but she was talking to me! I could not, and cannot explain to you my excitement in that moment! I also knew nobody would believe me so I captured a video of her on my iPhone. Every time I kiss her beautiful face and beg the Lord for her restoration and healing she gets this adorable grin on her face that shows the couple of teeth she has. 

Tonight I fed her at 11:30 pm and as I finished feeding her the last bit of formula, I held her sweet hands and prayed with her, then laid her down in her bed right next to me. 
I don't know if I will ever have children, but I pray the Lord continues to bless me with spiritual children like Catinie, Wilna, and Fritzline. What a joy it has been to serve the Lord.

They say when a malnourished baby smiles and plays that it means the baby will live. Praise be to God that I have seen such an incredible miracle of love in this baby girl.

Monday, March 5, 2012

Baby Wilna

I just don't want to move. I want to lay here in this moment and soak it up for all it's worth. The amount of glory in this moment is unending. The amount of the Lord's presence is suffocating. He is closer then my skin. I can't even begin to explain the overwhelming amount of love I have for this child in this moment. As I lay here with this precious little 16 month old 10 lb baby on my chest I can't seem to move for this moment. I think I could lay here for eternity. It doesn't seem fair that this little 16 month old girl would have to suffer so much in her short life, but we worship a God who can and will heal her by the power of His Word, the living Son of God and son of man, Jesus Christ. When I imagine the Lord having mercy on the little children and saying "let the little children come to me because to such as these belongs the kingdom" I imagine little Wilna, 10 lbs and all, running with outstretched arms and strong legs to the King of Kings and Lord of Lords and Him welcoming her and embracing her, Because she had faith that her Jesus would not abandon her no matter what happened to her physical body. Her soul finds rest in God alone.

Some people may say, "well you don't know if she is called by the Lord" and I say, "she has to be, why else would she end up in this orphanage at this day of this month in this room on top of my chest? Why else would the Lord have led me to this position, then for me to pray over her and for her, so that ultimately God's glory will shine in the darkness. He is about to show Himself BIGTIME through this little girl! You all just wait and see. Anything that we ask in Jesus' Name shall be done. Don't believe the Word? You just wait and see.

He is coming. There is no time to question His presence or His willingness to perform miracles. We are ready Jesus. We are surrendered to the Gospel. We are surrendered to preaching the Gospel. And all night long I will whisper that sweet story of Good News in this sweet little girl's ears. And she will hear. And one day by the strength and power of Jesus she will whisper the same sweet story of Good News into another child's ears. And in tha eternal place which the Lord has gone ahead of us to, to prepare for us, there I will see Catinie running, laughing, and playing. And there I will see Wilna completely restored to perfection to worship the Lord for eternity.