Those of you that know me, know that no blog in one month means that I have been running like a mad woman. Yes, I have. We have had two teams from the US. I moved into my place on the 11th and have been trying to figure out how to cook, clean and manage life. I’m just starting to get myself organized at my office in Ngeru and the power comes and goes throughout the week. I’m completely exhausted by 9pm and need about 8-9 hours of sleep to feel rested. In short, I have been in adjustment mode.
And, to be honest, I am not my most lovely in adjustment mode. You would think that a girl that moves as much as me would have learned to chill and roll with it, but instead I get stressed and cranky. And when that happens joy eludes me and that sucks for the people around me.(So, um, sorry guys…)
This weekend I actually took time off (for the most part) and tried to catch up on some rest. I sat down and prayed. I read Psalm 20:
Trust in the Name of the Lord Our God
To the choirmaster. A Psalm of David.
May the Lord answer you in the day of trouble!
May the name of the God of Jacob protect you!
2 May he send you help from the sanctuary
and give you support from Zion!
3 May he remember all your offerings
and regard with favor your burnt sacrifices! Selah
4 May he grant you your heart’s desire
and fulfill all your plans!
5 May we shout for joy over your salvation,
and in the name of our God set up our banners!
May the Lord fulfill all your petitions!
6 Now I know that the Lord saves his anointed;
he will answer him from his holy heaven
with the saving might of his right hand.
7 Some trust in chariots and some in horses,
but we trust in the name of the Lord our God.
8 They collapse and fall,
but we rise and stand upright.
9 O Lord, save the king!
May he answer us when we call.
This was the perfect Psalm for where I am at. My heart’s desire is that God would use me to serve the children here as I support the staff. My heart is that orphans would experience God’s love as we find healthy homes for them. I long for our staff to experience God daily as they serve him in their work. I am passionate that God’s justice would come to Uganda and that poverty, disease and abuse would be banished forever.
All true, but I get a little pissed when I am inconvenienced by some ineffectual process or the slow pace of change here. I can get defensive when I am challenged by an idea that is different than mine. I get mad when hundreds of years of colonialism makes people look at me as some kind of magical piggy bank. It’s almost as, if in my heart, I thought I could just come in and shake a magic Jesus wand and everything would run in health and joy and love. I know that is against every book and deep belief I have about development work, but ultimately, I think my behavior reveals that as a truth about my true beliefs.
The good news–no the very best news–is it’s not really up to me (because if it was, I would be in Portland, drinking Stumptown and considering what tattoo I want next.) In reality, it’s not about my heart, but God’s heart in me. I know this because I am too much of a jerk getting distracted by gecko poop constantly around me (the little lizards are all over my house and constantly leaving nasty trails…) and turning into a grump over some inconveniences. And as Paul said in Corinthians 12:
But he said to me, “My grace is sufficient for you, for my power is made perfect in weakness.” Therefore I will boast all the more gladly of my weaknesses, so that the power of Christ may rest upon me.
If ANY of the things I hope to result from my time here are to happen, it will only be when I submit my weaknesses to Christ and lean heavy into His grace. And that is going to take some patience, endurance and real commitment and for me to quite whining. Yes, it is time for Tina to put on her big girl panties and really serve beyond myself.
And here is the real aha. I am here because I believe that God wants to make Uganda more like the kingdom he planned and for some reason he has enlisted me in this work. (Poor staffing decision in the divine work plan.) And while I feel like the weak link these days, the Psalm says that “we rise and stand upright.” To me, that means that ultimately God’s plan will see my heart’s desire and his heart’s desire realized. Oh, how I pray that is so.
Thanks for listening, your prayers and emails. All have encouraged me and keep me moving forward. Praise God that he actually has the power to bring healing and health to a very broken world, even though he uses the strangest means possible. And here’s to a new month filled with a right perspective and hopefully a joyful heart.
PS: Next blog features some thoughts on the book that got me to accept this assignment in the first place. It’s called The Call to Joy & Pain by Ajith Fernando. Stay tuned!