Thursday, November 15, 2012

When I am Stronger

I never can tell the age of a Filipina. One could be 45 years old, and I would think she is 25, and really, I look older at 23.

But I always think she is older than she really is. A hard life has a way of inscribing itself in the lines of the face. And her eyes… they look at me, sometimes they trust me, sometimes they are unsure, but they are always far away. She will be in the middle of conversation when something triggers and the rest of her face will follow her eyes, lost in the memory.

She has been through more pain than I can ever imagine, resulting in a mind that is confused. Really, can anything be more terrifying than when the mind rebels? She lay in the bed beside me, while I kept watch for her, reassuring again and again she is safe, no one is coming for her, she will be ok.

White walls, brown floor, crowded spaces, and I am pretty sure at times that I am a snap away from landing on the bed beside her. So afraid… she just wants to be safe, to rest, to go home.

And this little one… the one who has been my charge for the past two weeks. Her face is a story of pain and fear, and sickness she doesn’t understand that has taken control. I am trying to find the balance… how far do I push and when do I let go? Sometimes I expect and demand too much of her, and then she giggles, reminding me she is just a child. She made us promise to take her to the mall when she is stronger.

And that is the phrase, the promise she keeps repeating to herself…

“When I am stronger…”

Funny how she speaks aloud what my heart can barely whisper.

The pain comes again. She cries and I rub her back, trying to understand, trying to fix this. More calcium, stop the calcium, less potassium, bananas, bananas, bananas. We research and test and wait for results and research some more.

You can only imagine the picture when solving a puzzle with missing pieces.

She cried out for her mother when the pain became overwhelming. Funny, me too.

I have to detach in order to be good at this. I have to leave emotion at the door so I can make good decisions. I can’t be the one to fall apart when crisis comes. I must be calm.

But it’s hard, hard to separate my heart from my work. And the weight of those decisions is revealed on my face by dark circles and tired eyes.

Because really, you can’t help but bond with the little one who snuggles beside you as you tuck her in, the one you carry to the bathroom when her legs are too weak to move. But how do you love and give without being destroyed yourself? I know Jesus did that… gave until it killed Him. But He is God, and I am not. I don’t know how to do this.

Sweet little one, please hold on. 


I look in the mirror at this face… 23 years old with its lines and curves, already witnessed more than I could ever have imagined. And I can’t help but wonder how I will do it. I don’t know what I am doing.

And I whisper to myself “When I am stronger… when I am stronger…”

But therein lies my problem, a problem that has become the struggle of my lifetime. The struggle to do everything myself… to be enough on my own, the rescuer, the fixer, the one with all the answers.

I can’t do it. Dear God, I just can’t.

And I was never meant to. I was never meant to be superwoman, Mother Theresa, my director… I was created to be me.

In this moment, I am to be Jordan, 23 years old, discovering the talents, the gifts, the weaknesses He has given me. Remembering this is a journey, a process.

And I am so grateful… that in my weakness, He is strength. That every failure He uses to teach me and soften my heart into something gentler, open. 

Today it means I pray over her before I go to school. I sit and absorb the lectures that will make me better at what I will do. I dream of the future and take this one day at a time.

One day at a time. When I am stronger… No, when I let Him become stronger in me.

So the tired eyes will reflect His joy.

The lines on the face will reflect a life of hard decisions, but decision never made alone. Lines from years of saying yes, and always choosing joy in the midst of the pain.

You can only offer freedom to someone if you are being continually set free yourself. If I had this journey down perfectly, then I would never be able to offer anything.

But all I have are these broken pieces scattered about, forming the mess of who I am. And He takes them, refines them, and molds something beautiful.

For these precious pieces in my life, I pray they find what I am discovering… healing, wholeness, restoration.

Strength. In Him.

Thursday, November 8, 2012

I will not call you selfish...

I will not call you selfish…

There is an ongoing debate in the country where I was born. It’s a debate over choice, who is right and who is wrong, who is alive, and who gets to decide.

In the country where I live, there are monuments dedicated to those who have died as a result of another’s choice… in a country where this choice is supposedly illegal.

We scream, we shout, and I admit that I was among the first to exclaim, accuse, and heave a giant stone at those who thought to disagree.

But no more.

I will not call you selfish…

Because, dear one, there are enough of those voices on both sides, and my yelling will do nothing to ease your pain.

I will not call you selfish…

Because I don’t know your story, your fears, your heart.

I don’t know if this was the result of your choice or forced upon you by someone else.

I don’t know your background, your support group, your education, and who will be there to pick you up after your fall. I don’t know who is there to wash your wounds and heal your bruises.

But I will not add to your scars or multiply your hurts.

I will subtract my judgment to mend your divided heart.

I will not call you selfish…

Because in a split second, your world came crashing down around you, whether it was expected or not, whether it was the result of your will or not.

And I understand, as a fellow human being, when my world is breaking down, I want to cling to whatever I have left… my ability to choose.

Honestly, the thought of someone taking away my ability to choose terrifies me.

And that probably makes me selfish. I want things my way. I want some form of control. Some thread to cling to that will preserve my dignity and keep from adding the shame.
I will not call you selfish…

Because He would never do that. His kindness leads to repentance. His grace is a free gift offered to bring life. He does not steal, kill, or destroy. He brings life, and life everlasting.

I will not call you selfish…

Instead, I will take a good look at my own heart and turn my eyes away from your sin to mine. I will seek freedom from my own chains, and then I will walk with you to find yours. I will call out my own pride, anger, hatred, bitterness, and lust. I will cast the stones and crucify my own flesh. And in doing so, I will have no time for yours.

I will not call you selfish…

If I took a good look at my own life, then I would see my selfishness.

Because if I am truly serving the Author of Life and valuing life, then everything for me must change.

I must be willing to adopt little ones, take in unwed mothers, and walk with couples who didn’t see this coming.

In calling you selfish, then I am ignoring my own accountability, the fact that I am not allowed to be a bystander because when He gave me His name, I joined the fight.

I will not call you selfish…

However, I will call you as He does:

Radiant, Restored, Healed, Free, Crowned with Grace, the Apple of His Eye, His Dear One, Treasured, Full of Life, Overcoming One, Worth every ounce of shed blood.

I will tell you of what He has done for me.

I will show you my little ones… the ones deemed not worthy of the world, but really the ones of whom the world is not worthy. I will tell you of his goodness.

I will walk with you. Even if you stumble again, and even if you hurt me in the process. I will grieve with you, hold you, love you. We will find freedom together.

I will not call you selfish.

I will call you a Daughter of Redemption.

I will call you free.