Thursday, March 22, 2012

Sometimes things get ugly. These babes of mine, they fight.

And no I'm not just talking about my 5, 6, 7, and 8 year olds, but my grown women.

Sometimes my friends here laugh at me and say how can I be a mama and a grandma (yes, it's true—baby Dominion is in full effect!) to so many and have not yet birthed a baby from my own womb. Then they tell me I have to have my own baby. And then I tell them....I've got my hands pretty full already!

The mystery startles me too.

I'm a mother.

And a mom has to be a mediator, above all. I envy the wisdom of mothers who can do this.

I am still tongue-tied and leaning.

The accusations come. The stories from both sides. The pointing of fingers. I struggle with how to relate to the sin and the hurt and the wounds they inflict on each other.

I want to bribe them with candy.

But that doesn't really work on adults.

I go through all my possible options in my mind---discipline, correction. But none if it feels quite right.

How to change a behavior that flows black and thick from the heart.

If the heart can't change, the behavior can't change.

These women of mine grown blue and maroon from the pummel of fists, taken and ravaged with the disease of some man's mistake, children pulling at their ankles. It is hard.
I get where they come from.

And where they are.

And where they are going.

Sometimes the sacred is here too.

My daughter of mine, she is hurting. I can see it in her eyes. The longing to be declared innocent.

A heavy-winged thing. The hurt and the hope.

Will I come to her rescue?

Is there any justice in this world of ours?

And I hear Jesus' words ring:

“Where are your accusers? Didn't even one of them condemn you? Neither do I. Go and sin no more.”

The release of this grace, like a prison door sprung open.

Undeserved favor.

“Kindness also, working by the law of love, has often changed the most unworthy, and therein proved that it is not a factor of evil.” -Charles Spurgeon-

It is HIS kindness which leads us into repentance.

Always the father/mother welcoming the son/daughter home.

At the end of it all, I hold her.

And she says, “God bless you.”

And I know that grace, that love, is the only answer to this problem of our hearts.

The goodness of God slips stealing and steady into her heart and I know she will come home.

Is there somewhere where you can spare a little grace today?

"The only counter force against sin is grace; so my text tells us, and we may learn the same truth from a hundred texts besides." -Charles Spurgeon

Wednesday, March 14, 2012

my african queens

For some reason, before this year, I had never actually watched the African Queen. Which seems absurd from someone who spends most of her time in East Africa. I decided on my sabbatical that this was a wrong which needed to be righted. What struck me most was the determination of Catherine Hepburn. She had a dream and she was going to hold tight to it, no matter what storm or marsh or rapids she had to face. I spend my life so close to the Nile which that tiny boat traversed down. It reminded me of the wonder in it all.

Of the adventure of living this raw, simple life.

Last month I spent sitting in a snowy refuge watching the icicles suspend from the roof of my retreat. And this month, I returned to my beloved town, which has changed in my absence, my town born of dust and dirt.

And heat.

I spend a day cleaning the dust from the clothes and shelves. 3 months worth of absence. Dry season here, and yet me, so full of hope.

Because this is home.

This place where if you eat the wrong thing you might poop on yourself---yes, this is it. And when people ask me why I love it, the only thing I can say is because it makes me desperate and clinging to my Father for fresh bread every day. 

Things are different here. The girls have grown 2 inches overnight, I have two American volunteers, one who is my Assistant (whoohoo!) I have staff that have left and new staff that have joined us. More women who needs jobs, more children who need a home. There are holes which need to be filled. The need for healing which seems ever more present around me.

But then there are the blessings.

Our women have grown and changed. A team has come to encourage us. 

We walk through the narrow, muddy slums to the women's houses to pray. It takes us many hours to reach them all but we do it with joy because the reality has gone deep into our bones. Whatever we do for them, we are doing for Jesus. The team washes their feet. And I want to cry at the extravagance of love.


The women open up and are vulnerable and reveal to us the secret things which require prayer.

So much in their lives which could leave them hopeless:



Broken relationships

Sick children

Not enough school fees 

And yet the smile when I greet them in the morning at work says they still believe. 

Elizabeth, one of our Imani women, has taken 4 children into her home which are not hers. She cares for them as a mother. 

These are the beautiful ripples of love lived out and given away. As it's been received. These women are my African Queen's. Strong. And they keep fighting. 

What remains the same is the relationships and the love between us. It is not about numbers or results for us. It is about the woman or child in front of us, who needs love. 

I find that the burdens are so much easier to bear, because Jesus is carrying them and I am letting him. 

The mornings before the sun rises is hallowed ground.

There are still budgets, and deadlines, and too many people to meet with for 3 hours, and children to hug, and people to be encouraged, and hospital trips to make, but I find my orientation to it all has changed. 

My Father gives me this piece of bread to give away for today. 

He meets with me today. There is enough faith for this mountain today.

Enough gold He puts in me for today. So I can give it away. 

And tomorrow, tomorrow will take care of itself. 

I can enjoy this journey down the Nile into the heart of the unknown, with a mission and a dream.

Because after all, there is always a Rescuer. 


**We would like to say a special thank you to all of you who gave towards our Van. God provided all the $20,000 we needed through people like you! We are overwhelmed with gratitude for this supernatural provision. 

**You can still sponsor an Imani woman for only $25 a month a receive a free necklace in the mail.