Tuesday, October 6, 2009

within our reach.

For I was hungry and you gave me something to eat,
I was thirsty and you gave me something to drink,
I was a stranger and you invited me in,
I needed clothes and you clothed me,
I was sick and you looked after me,
I was in prison and you came to visit me."

Matthew 25:35-36

my life changed tonight: another layer of scales were removed from my eyes, changing not only my perspective, but my vision entirely.

i've
been staring at this photograph, scripture and gaping void below it for a solid twenty minutes, futilely trying to conjure up adequate words to begin, but only one thought comes, relentlessly repeating: "what are we doing?!"

a few weeks ago, the Lord began to convict my heart so clearly to pray about how He would have me spend my time, my money, my resources - my life - for His glory. and the answers came as clearly as the conviction that had preceded the prayers, first through the ministry opportunity of Compassion International. as i continued to pray about what He would have me do locally, one local ministry kept pressing on my heart: the Lovelady Center, a Christ-centered, faith-based transitional facility for women and children; over three hundred women and children.

time. money. resources. i'm lacking in all three these days, [according to my own standards, of course]. but, by God's grace, rather than use my present situation to continue justifying inaction, i prayed that God would lead and provide opportunity within this ministry, according to His will. and just like that, He did. i was blessed to become a part of their brand-new mentoring program and will have the tremendous opportunity and blessing to share the love of Christ one-on-one with one of these women and encourage her along her path to restoration. tears are stinging my eyes as i type the phrase, "path to restoration". oh, how i know it well. i long to walk it daily. granted, i do not have all the answers, but i know the One who does; the One whose words illuminate the path. i am in humbled awe of being allowed to share them.

i had never visited the center. until tonight. a group of us traveled together to the member orientation meeting and received the tour afterwards. and that is where my vocabulary begins to deteriorate. with each step i had to forcibly fight back tears. partly in awe of God's grace and partly in utter disbelief that there was such inestimable need in the lives of so many women of all ages, all walks of life and their children right here, within our reach.

what are we doing?

this ministry was the calling of just one woman. one woman who answered God's call and through her obedience to the Lord, changed the lives of innumerable others. this ministry began in her home with five women now resides in the old east end hospital building in eastlake - and is at capacity. we visited one of the rooms that was shared by two young mothers and their babies. beds and cribs filled their cramped living space, which was roughly the size of my master bedroom. as we made our way through the dim corridors back towards the front lobby, i became painfully aware of the strangest things about myself: the weight of my handbag on my shoulder; my earrings; my shoes. compassion and conviction swept over me.

much like a missionary journey to another region or country, you cannot tune it out or turn it off once you have arrived there; you can no longer ignore the need once you have walked in the midst of it; and you can no longer turn a blind eye to those who are within your reach. they are desperate for His touch and we cast it off as the calling of a few when the reality is, we are His body. and we are called to deliver His touch; His love. every single one of us. it is a scriptural non-negotiable. "Therefore go..." Matthew 28:16

i sat in overwhelmed silence during the short commute back to our side of town. i dreaded turning into the parking lot, pulling up next to my pretentious black sedan. the last remnant of my former life; proverbial thorn in my side. i wept as i drove it home and pulled it into the garage. even the interior of my home looked foreign to me. it was as though i was seeing it for the very first time: bane niceties at every turn; things. things were everywhere. my mom, who had been here staying with my kids asked how it went. i looked at her, bewildered, opened my hands as if to hold my living room within my own hands and asked - through tears, "what are we doing?!"...

disbelief flooded me. the horror of my life spent wasted. years spent in selfish angst. worrying. i worried - for years - about what kind of clothes i would wear, what kind of car i would drive, what kind of house i would live in. i had wanted that superfluous wedding; a gaudy oval solitaire. and i received what i wanted - even more, but it was never enough. ceaselessly plotting and planning my life - for my benefit - for my glory. i loved two things: the world and everything in it.

"Do not love the world or anything in the world. If anyone loves the world, the love of the Father is not in him. For everything in the world—the cravings of sinful man, the lust of his eyes and the boasting of what he has and does—comes not from the Father but from the world. The world and its desires pass away, but the man who does the will of God lives forever." 1 John 2:15

apart from Christ and His grace - i would still be me. and i would [still be] plotting and planning and purchasing my way to a "better life" for myself; a life that would surely pass away. the symbolic profession of my baptism has become such a reality in my life. truly, by His grace alone, "I have been crucified with Christ and I no longer live, but Christ lives in me. The life I live in the body, I live by faith in the Son of God, who loved me and gave himself for me". Galatians 2:20

tonight, just across town from me - from you - there is a ministry in dire need of support: funding, donations, volunteers. three hundred women and children in desperate need. i have heard their voices. i have seen their faces; the precious little faces of their children. within our reach.

Go.

2 comments:

  1. AMEN SISTER!!!!! Next time you are there, ask for Dr. Jimmy Hutchins ... tell him you are my friend ... I LOVE THAT MAN! He has a real heart for reaching out and showing / living the love of Christ. He started at the lovelady center a little over a year ago ... I'm so glad you are getting involved .. LIVING YOUR FAITH!!

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  2. Thanks for providing a link to the center, Nadia! I will also be sure to pass this on.

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