Thursday, September 15, 2011

This Beautiful Wait

"Does the fact that I do not forget Jim indicate that God does not want me to, or is it my own unwillingness to forget that has kept God from answering my prayer to that end? Or does He want me to remember-- to 'suffer me to hunger' so that I might fully learn to find all my satisfaction in Him?... Can it be that by a show of what Paul calls 'will worship' I should crush the bud of a flower of God's creation? I know no prayer other than Thy will be done."

                                                              --Elisabeth Elliot, written while waiting for her future husband, Jim

I have a habit of reading certain books over and over again. One book, Passion and Purity by Elisabeth Elliot, I like to read about every three months.

Maybe it's because I am now the same age as Elisabeth was when she details her courtship and marriage to Jim. Maybe it's because circumstances in life have led me to identify with her in a deeper way than when I first began reading this book years ago. Maybe, like Elisabeth, I am finding myself in a season of waiting, a season of uncertainty and longing for something beautiful.

When the will of God crosses that of a man, someone has to die. I don't remember who said those words, but they have always stuck with me, reminding me that I cannot serve both God and myself. I want so badly to make things happen... I want to pick up my phone and dial numbers to hear the sound of his voice. I want to spring things into action, fast forward time, and I want everything now. I want so badly for the things weighing on my heart and mind to go away. I want answers. I want peace.

Yet, one thing I have realized is that if I speed everything up, have everything answered quickly, then I lose a precious gift... the gift of waiting.

Normally, this is a gift I despise and wish God would return for something in a prettier package. After all, with the waiting comes the questions, hours of struggle, a waging battle by my flesh against my spirit, loneliness, humbling, and brokenness. Eventually, after a long period of pain, my exhausted body falls down in defeat and full surrender. I hate it.

But what if waiting is not intended to be a bitter pill to swallow, a wrestling match where the stronger man wins? What if this time of waiting is instead intended to be a time of molding and shaping? What if instead of a struggle that brings exhaustion, it is intended to be a peaceful surrender from the beginning?

What if, instead of waiting on the Lord's timing, I had picked up the phone and taken matters into my own hands? Then, even if things might have turned out the way I wanted them to, I would have missed out on the blessing of realizing I am defined by no one else other than Christ. I would have missed out on a beautiful full moon while driving home tonight and talking to my Creater because I would have instead been spending that time with someone else. I would have exchanged the sacred for the cheap. There is pain in both waiting and rushing... yet one is earned by sacrifice and soothed by joy. The other robs the sacrifice of its rewards and steals the joy. One brings a polished beauty, as by fire. The other wears away the soul into a crumbling sand.

There is so much He wants to teach me. So much He wants to show me, and all these beautiful little ways He is captivating my heart. Beautiful moments, just He and I, time I would not trade for the world. Like tonight... when I desperately wanted the sound of another and He instead gave me His full attention, and words with which to glorify Him.

In all honesty, I feel so much like Elisabeth... I am waiting for answers. What is the purpsoe behind my dreams and my hopes? Are they promises of things to come, or are they to serve as a fire to drive me closer to Him, to seek Him for answers, and cling to the only thing that is steadfast in this life?

I am finding the beauty in waiting, in trusting. And my heart is finding peace, sweet peace.

I know no other response, no other answer or words to utter than Thy will be done. And for now, that is enough.

Monday, September 5, 2011

Feeble Words to Express His Goodness

     I am unsure how to write this. How do I convey in words everything she means to me.... this little person who snuggled into my heart and never let go?

     My first day in Malabon while doing outreach with Gentle Hands, I met this tiny seven year old girl. She sat on my lap, told me her name, and then walked away. I thought I would never see her again.

     A few minutes later as we were walking to the basketball court where our cars were located, Ate turned around and said, "We're taking this one". I don't know why, but for some reason, I reached down and picked her up, carrying her tiny body the rest of the way to the car.

      She was so sick with tuverculosis and other problems. Her mother didn't want her anymore, so she came to live with us. And from that moment, she has been my heart. In the past two years, I have watched her heal not only physically but also emotionally. Her once dull hair is now long and shiny. She is always playing jokes, always laughing, and so very ticklish. Her once lifeless eyes sparkle with joy and mischief.

      This little girl, the bravest little girl I know, changed my life forever. I think God knew we were both hurting when He brought us together. As I held her in my arms and learned to love her, my own heart healed. It's funny because I prayed so much for her healing, all the while God was using her to heal me.

      I learned how to love someone completely and with everything I have. I learned how to serve with no thought to my own comfort or happiness. I learned how to trust. And this sweet little girl became my little sister.

       Today, she met her new Mommy and her forever family for the first time. As I sat in church yesterday, reflecting on this, tears filled my eyes. He is so good. Dear friends do you know? Have you tasted and seen? This beautiful little girl now has a family. She has been restored to life and has an incredible future ahead of her. She deserves everything beautiful in this world. And God, in His love and faithfulness has led her to a family where she will fit perfectly.

      There will be challenges, and her journey is far from over. I will not stop praying because she has a mom now. Rather, it's only the beginning.

       But my sweet baby girl has a home. She is safe where she belongs, in a beautiful life story that could only be perfectly orchestrated by the Creator of the Universe.

       And my dear little sister, because you are in my life, my story is so much sweeter. You're my heart.