Saturday, January 7, 2012

I am just Me

January 7th

I am ordinary. I am a 33 year-old woman, a wife and mother. I am someone who often would prefer to stay in bed rather than face the day, especially if cleaning or hard work is required. I am someone who can end up in tears after a trip to the grocery store with my three children, because I've had to race to the bathroom twice, wrestle my son who escapes from his seatbelt, and I've completely blown my budget. I am someone who throws mini tantrums when my husband suggests we eat at Burger King and I would rather go to Arby's. I am someone with insecurities, fears and selfish desires. But I am also someone who loves God. And for some reason, God looks through all my flaws and still says He loves me. That is absolutely incredible to me. But even more surprising is that he says I am qualified to represent Him. And so, in Jesus name, through the power of the Holy Spirit that lives in me, I am also a woman who has witnessed miracles. And its not the miracles that I'm in love with, but God who performs them. And because I love him, I like being a part of what he does and getting to witness other people have revelation of their Heavenly Father's love.

I have seen a stroke victim regain feeling and movement in her arm after praying for healing in Jesus name. I have heard God tell me that the man before me asking for prayer to heal his asthma needs to rebuke and bind the spirit of addiction and ask Jesus to give him the strength to quit smoking. I have been given the image of a red wagon or cart, and this strong feeling that we should pray for whoever was in it or pulling it, then to end up meeting a man in a red wheelchair; when my husband and a couple friends and I approached him to see if we might be able to pray with him, two ladies with him excitedly proclaim "you showed up at just the right time! We were just telling him he needs prayer! God sent you here!"

God is willing to use me if I am willing to be used. It was hard for me to really believe that God could or would use me in any special way. But one night in early September, after reading a book called "Glory Invasion; Walking under an open Heaven," I was overwhelmed with the presence of the Holy Spirit and the feeling that this book would change my life. It talked a lot about the book of Acts, and how we as Christians are called to move in faith and love (just like Jesus) to bring God's Kingdom to earth. It talked about spiritual inheritance, and lots of miracles. SO I asked God "Is this what you would have for me? Is this what we have in store for us in Africa?" AND his reply: he turned my alarm clock on to a worship song. Paul had the alarm set for like 6:00 am, but at nearly midnight, it instantly turned on as I finished my line of questions. I don't know the name of the song, but it goes something "earth and sky, everything will be praising God." AWESOME!

God is real. He loves us. He sent his son Jesus Christ to die for us. He longs for a relationship with us. He will live within you if you simply ask him to. The Holy Spirit is a living guide for every day. We are not alone to carry our burdens. We were not created to have lonely or even boring lives. God wants so much for us! Before Jesus ascended into Heaven he said, "In this world you will have trouble. But take heart! I have overcome the world." John 16:33

At the end of the day, I am still just me. I can do nothing in my own strength. I remain ordinary. And I am perfectly content with that. But Jesus commissioned me to be an ambassador. And I will not settle for an "ordinary life" anymore. I want to see God's will be done here. I have tasted little bits of Heaven, and I crave more. And I think you all do too.

Tuesday, January 3, 2012

Who are God's Children? Meeting Isaac, Kathriana & Nurses

Bethseda is a Hospice Home and Children's Home... a place for people waiting to die, and for children who either have medical conditions which make it too difficult for their families to care for them, or who have been neglected/abandoned. Many with HIV, severe Epilepsy, Fetal Alcohol Syndrome etc.

We spent some time visiting with some of the residents there, helping feed some of them, praying with some, and just loving on the kids.

Isaac is a man in his mid thirties who has severe epilepsy. He is conscious, but doesn't speak or respond. He has been at Bethseda for some time now, and they don't expect him to live much longer. He was allowed to go home over the Christmas Holiday, but was not given proper care, so bed sore wounds were not treated etc. The nurse mentioned to us that his body had severe burn marks on it. She said it was not uncommon for his culture to lock epileptics in dark rooms and things (due to spiritual beliefs/fears). Not until recently did government money start being granted for families, so neglect was a huge problem. When praying over Isaac, his breathing would steady a bit, and he would even make eye contact with me for little bits of time. As I watched him breathe, so frail and sick looking, I tried to just fathom how much it must hurt Jesus to see him this way.

Kathriana is a 3 year-old girl abandoned by her parents because she has a cleft palate and some other issues as well. She is smaller than Liam, unable to walk or talk. The cleft on her face actually divides her mouth and nose, so breathing is strained for her as well. Surgery to repair the cleft is on hold until some other health issues are resolved. I don't know the whole story. But she is quite a happy little thing, with a huge grin, and she tries to sing along to songs, and just soaks up attention... she'll lock gaze with you and make lovey eyes like you wouldn't believe. We sang "Jesus Loves Me" over and over, and I felt rather guilty to put her down.

This place is amazing. It is staffed by wonderful people who have adopted a vision to care for those in need. Day after day, they show up to love the people who have been rejected by their own families, and to graciously and couragously offer them care and hope as many pass from this life to the next. They invest their time and hearts into the place. ANd its the founders and workers who take it upon themselves to raise awareness and funds to meet the many growing needs there. For example, there are currently 8 cribs in one room for small children, and they are desperately wishing to expand. So the head nurse is starting a brick campaign to hopefully persuade people to donate just a single brick. And so because of her passion, brick by brick, space will be created for more sick children who do not receive care from family. I will try to get more info about this in case anyone wishes to donate to the cause.

I am still trying to take everything in from today. I am asking God for balance: I want my heart to break for what breaks his heart, and yet I also want to be guarded from being overwhelmed by sadness. What can we learn from the people here? How can we be a source of Hope in this? Only God can see the full picture, and so I have to just accept that I may never understand.