Monday, December 26, 2011

Reentry

“One-Size-Fits-All”

Reentry has been more difficult than I anticipated.
We arrived home from Uganda over three weeks ago, and I still haven’t quite regained my equilibrium. 
It’s hard to focus.   I feel conflicted. 
I am keenly aware that there are (here in Raleigh) people, ministries, causes, and needs that require me—my attention, my concern, my interest, my assistance.  
And I begrudge none of them. 
As a matter of fact, I fully and joyfully embrace them.
I can’t seem, however, to get the snapshots of the children of Uganda out of my mind. 

(they had spent hours being held and brushing my hair)
They have become indelibly imprinted upon my heart. 
The children at Bukaleba appear, without warning, leaving me shaken and longing. 
Fierce maternal instincts have, once again, been awakened, stirred, and intensified,
by the memories of children yearning,

needing,

to be held, or fed, or comforted, or listened to, or empathized with, or advocated for.

I want to call them by name, and affirm to them
that they matter. 
I want them to know that they are loved by their Creator,
and not forgotten by His servants. 
I want to kiss their boo-boos and dry their tears.   
I want to celebrate their victories, and mitigate their losses. 
I want to multiply their joy, and eliminate their fear.  I want to play peek-a-boo with them, and sing silly songs with them, and hear them belly laugh with the kind of exuberance that
transcends their circumstances.
I want them to know that there is a Savior Who longs to adopt them into His family.  I want them to grow up, secure in the knowledge that they can never truly be alone with God as their Father.  I want them to anticipate, and expect, a future filled with purpose and significance. 
I dream of the day when they are finally able to see that God
 did, indeed, redeem what He allowed,
that He was faithful all along.

At the end of the day, though, I am here, and they are there. 

Oceans separate us.  
Logistics separate us.
Circumstances separate us. 

The all-prevailing, sovereign will of God separates us—for now.
So, for now, I will intercede.  I will remember.  I will wait for God to orchestrate my return.  And until He does, I will be faithful.
 I will be His woman here:  Present, joyful, and submitted.  I will follow God’s promptings, I will listen for His voice, and I will seize the opportunities He orchestrates, to be His hands and feet, whether I am here, or in Uganda, or some other far-flung place.
I will allow the people and children of Uganda to inhabit a heart that, surprisingly, never runs out of room.  They will join the countless others, already residing there, whom God has allowed me the privilege of meeting, and knowing, and loving along the way.
My consistent, faithful God holds me fast,
He propels me gently,
and He continues to add to my “one-size-fits-all” heart.


Friday, April 1, 2011

Glimpses

Can You See Her?
In my experience of loving, serving, and working alongside women, I have discovered that most women do not simply jump into ministry.
Often they must be coaxed, prompted.
Uncertain of their value, they must be convinced.  Doubtful of their calling, they must be persuaded. Unsure of their ability, they must be affirmed.
I grew up with pronounced buck teeth … and a crooked mouth.  Have you noticed that a person’s life can pivot on the smallest hinge of time?  That each minute whispers either promise or warning, and contains the potential for momentous change? 
My name is Beverly, and I experienced just that early on in my childhood.  One day, at recess, someone decided to call me Beaverly.  In their estimation, it was really quite brilliant:  Just change a short vowel into a long one, and, voilĂ , Beverly becomes Beaverly.   It was a simple change, a playground diversion, a seemingly innocuous taunt,
but one whose consequences reverberate even today.
I was—sometimes am—the woman described in the first paragraph.  I was—sometimes am—Much-Afraid, the main character in “Hinds’ Feet on High Places”.  She, interestingly enough, also had a crooked mouth.   Few of us may share an affliction that leaves our appearance marred, and our confidence diminished.
Many of us, however, share the common feeling of being Much-Afraid.
Afraid: That we’re not good enough, or smart enough, or valuable enough.
  I long to share with women the truth God used to set me free.  Years ago, He gave me a glimpse of the woman He intends for me to be.  He gave me a glimpse of the woman He had in mind before He ever knit me together in my mother’s womb.
And, guess what? She looks nothing like me and everything like Him! How I look now matters far less than who I am, and Whose I am.  I am being transformed!  Into His image!
  I began to exclaim to the Lord, “I Can See Her!  I Can See Her!  I can see the woman You mean for me to be.”
He faithfully responded by proclaiming,  
“And I Can Help You Be Her! I am the reason you can see her
And I can help you be her.”
It is a promise of transformation.  It is a promise that emboldens crooked-mouthed, buck-toothed girls, who are now women.
Women:
Who have cast off the hurts of yesterday, for the promise of tomorrow.
Who have exchanged ridicule for redemption, fear for faith, and reticence for resolve.
Who will take God up on His offer of transformation.
Who may look the same, but will not be the same. 
The Glimpse Will give way to Glory.
The Vision Will become Reality.
That, dear ones, is a guarantee, because Our Father Wills that it be so.
That is the truth that set me free, and the promise that spurred me on, to serve and to love.  That is the promise that rendered me usable in His hands.
Can you see her?
I can.
 Her mouth may be crooked, but her heart is fixed.
Her scars may be visible, but her hurts are healed.
Her memories may intrude, but her value is assured.
Embrace her, today.  Bask in the love of God, your
Vision-Giver, as He plots your paths, and orders your steps …
All the Way to Glory.
This inaugural posting was prompted by an offering that I found on Ann Voskamp's blog. Her writing is truly annointed.  I am entering a contest for a scholarship to a SheSpeaks Conference that will be held in July in Charlotte.  I have heard wonderful things about the conference, and know many women who have been encouraged and empowered to employ their gifts as a result of what they have received at these conferences.