Saturday, March 30, 2013

Wednesday, March 27, 2013

Empty of self

I think in the USA I could convince myself that I was something.  I could fake it pretty well.

I only had to clean my house when company was coming over because no one pops in unannounced.

I could plan dinner on my way home –buy frozen meatballs or a jar of tomato sauce.

I could take my child to every specialist “just to make sure.”

I could find babysitters so I could go shopping alone or see a friend.

But here, God has brought me to a beautiful place of emptiness.  For several months, that emptiness was nearly despair as I slowly let go of trying to make things happen, be a good mom and wife, get things done, keep the house that I want others to see, keep the ministries afloat, be in control of something…

Just in time for Josh’s month long absence (between multiple trips to various regions of Uganda and culminating with a two-week trip to another continent), God filled me with an understanding that I am and have nothing to offer.  And it’s BEAUTIFUL! God wants my best, but, in a world out of my control, I know that I am secure in my relationship with the ONE who is in control.

Do you want peace?
Do you want comfort?
Do you want joy?
Stop trying to gain it yourself.  You will fail.

God brought me to this lovely place of complete humiliation, complete emptiness, the end of myself and then gave me some tests.  Little tests while Josh was out of country.  Tests that brought me joy.  Tests that he used to show me that HE is great!

The power has been out for… weeks… I lost count!

Our water filter stopped working.

I broke my right thumb.

My computer stopped working (it miraculously revived when Josh got home!).

The car got a flat.

The children got sick (never something we take lightly here).

God challenged me to live more sacrificially and tested my willingness to take in a child for emergency medical foster care – I found myself willing, much to my delight, as I single-parented my five lively children.  This is Africa, so the medical foster care didn’t happen, but instead, I got the greater joy of helping to equip our Ugandan staff to care for this child. 

Gulu has been out of… well, pretty much everything you might want to purchase… cooking gas, petrol, cheese, meat, yogurt...

But, when I’m empty of myself, I am not fearing these challenges.  I am not surprised by these challenges.  I am not rocked.  In fact, these challenges are kinda fun!

When I’m full of myself, I cannot control the way things happen here.  I cannot hide behind the predictability of the North American lifestyle.  I cannot pretend that I’m on top of things by buying a quick meal and fresh flowers.  When I think I’m something in and of myself, those things can drive me crazy.

Instead, I rejoice that I can be a broken empty vessel, filled to overflowing with God’s grace, used as an instrument in my redeemer’s hands to minister to the broken. 

Where is the end of yourself? What journey will God have you travel to reach the point of emptiness so that you can be filled with much greater joy, peace, and grace?

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