breaking down

I’ve been sitting here staring at this white screen, wanting to write something different. All day I have been praying and thinking and wondering:

God, how can I write about how good you are?  How do I show you working in my ministry? In my work? In my heart?

How do I inspire people to know you? To trust you? To listen for your voice in their life?

That’s what I want to write about, but instead I keep ending up in Psalm 25:

16 Turn to me and be gracious to me,
    for I am lonely and afflicted.
17 The troubles of my heart are enlarged;
    bring me out of my distresses.
18 Consider my affliction and my trouble,
    and forgive all my sins.

The reality is that is where I am at.  I find my heart being pushed beyond it’s capacity daily.  One of the greatest challenges of working alongside Ugandans is that I see what their lives are really like.  I find that there are sick family members, broken promises, families being victimized, inadequate access to food, healthcare and  never enough shillings to resolve the real issues–that they live in an unjust culture in an unjust world.  And this weighs on my heart.

Yes, we are hoping to break the cycle of poverty through access to education, resources and lots of love, but as I move beyond my relationships with children in our program, to a deeper understanding of what our staff and families wrestle with, I feel like I actually see the real battlefield. And part of me longs for escape, to return to Portland, to care but care from a few thousand miles away.   I want to watch TV and laugh at Liz Lemon and not know the faces and names of so many desperate stories.  I want a desk job in an air-conditioned room and headphones that drown everything out.  I want to be able to turn it all off and forget that God’s Kingdom is being violated.

But God has brought me here.  And even as I ask him to release me from this consistently, he responds with his heart:

Psalm 9:18

18 For the needy shall not always be forgotten,
    and the hope of the poor shall not perish forever.

Or

Psalm 10:17

17 O Lord, you hear the desire of the afflicted;
    you will strengthen their heart; you will incline your ear

Or

Psalm 12:5

“Because the poor are plundered, because the needy groan,
     I will now arise,” says the Lord;
    “I will place him in the safety for which he longs.”

And even as I try to close my eyes and close my heart, I see the pattern.  This is where God’s heart is and he is calling me to have his heart.  There are many passionate missionaries who already have a heart beating inside of them for justice.  They roar like lions and  inspire you and I to do something.

On my side, I am weakened.  I am heart broken.  I feel more vulnerable than I ever have.  So many illusions are being stripped away. I cling to God in prayer and ask for the strength to stay this course.  I rest in His word and listen for the news of a Redeemer, of a great King that will rule in justice.  I pray that I have friends and family truly joining me in praying that “Thy Kingdom come, Thy will be done.”

And this is honestly how Jesus is working in my heart.  He is making my heart fall to pieces and saying, “Trust me. Let me show you what I will do.”

Psalm 20:7-8

Some trust in chariots and some in horses,
     but we trust in the name of the Lord our God.
They collapse and fall,
    but we rise and stand upright.

As we near Easter, “He is risen indeed” echoes in my heart but this verse says, “we rise and stand.”  Jesus loves his people and his heart is that they will stand upright and become the people he always meant them to be–not exploited, not hurting, not alone–but royalty. For some reason, as much as I want to Jonah out, he is asking me to be a part of this movement in one little community in Uganda.

Please join me in praying that we will rise together.  Please pray for my strength and that my anemic little heart might be strengthened and be able to provide strength.  Please pray that AOET will see children and widows thrive both in our program and throughout our community.  And stay tuned.  Today I am in Psalm 25, but who knows where God will take me tomorrow?

 

4 thoughts on “breaking down

  1. Tina, I love your honesty and transparency about your conflict about where God has you now. While I was praying for you I was reminded of a verse that has encouraged me so much. Isaiah 58:6-14. It’s all really good but I wanted you to read verse 10 and 11.
    ‘…..and if you spend yourselves on behalf of the hungry and satisfy the needs of the oppressed, then your light will arise in the darkness and your night will become like the noonday. The Lord will guide you always; He will satisfy your needs in a sun scorched land and will strengthen your frame. You will be like a well watered garden, like a spring whose waters never fail’
    That’s you Tina! Your spending yourself on behalf of the poor, and God is going to do incredible things in and through you.
    Be encouraged, you are being prayed for! I hope you can feel our love!
    Nadine

  2. Nadine–As a true hero of mine, your words and prayers go well beyond encouragement, they brought tears. Thank you. You are only further making me believe that Daniel, Ashley, Baby Boo and I need to plan a trip to Canada in 2013!

  3. Praying for you, Tina! Thanks for sharing your heart as God is breaking it and making it more like His. Be encouraged and know that you are loved, most of all by our wonderful Father.

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