Friday, October 31, 2008

"I [have come] to see that it [is] in my brokenness, in my powerlessness, in my weakness that Jesus [is] made strong. It [is] in the acceptance of my lack of faith that God [can] give me faith. It [is] in the embracing of my brokenness that I could identify with others' brokenness. It [is] my role to identify with others' pain, not relieve it." -Henri Nouwen

i think this quote is a quite fitting summary of the week.

it's so interesting to me how the Lord continues to be faithful all the time despite my unfaithfulness. i know that i have by no means been making the Lord the first priority in my life, and as much as i hate it, i cannot change it. however, i'm thankful i finally woke up to that this week. i have been blessed beyond what words can describe this week through unexpected conversations with people, through laughter, through being spontaneous, through chicken curry in baldwin, and through simply being reminded of the fact that i am His beloved.

isn't that just like him to show up in the most unexpected ways?? sort of life in practicum this week...

as i rode in the car with my case manager and client, i couldn't help but laugh when the client called his neighbor an "ass hole" for not sharing his tomatoes with him even though he stole them in the middle of the night. but when i looked deeper at the client, my heart broke into thousands of pieces. i saw a man who was so paranoid he could barely function, i saw a man who wanted to support and love his family so well, but his illness often prevented him from doing so. what would it be like to live a life like his, in constant fear, constant confusion?

her hair was dyed and frizzy. she sat next to my case managers desk with her wrinkled hands folded nicely on her lap, and with her deep and raspy voice she began to explain her story. as i listened to her worries and her struggles, i began to question; why her? why not me? she doesn't deserve this, and how in the world am i going ever going to make a difference in her life; let alone in anyone else's life that i come in contact with in the field of social work?

and then it hit me.

it isn't my responsibility to relieve other people's pain nor could i if i even tried, but i love what i'm doing so much there is no reason i should even question whether or not i am making a difference, because the Lord's plans are far better than mine.

i love where i am at. i love what i am learning. i love being a girl on a journey to draw closer to the Lord each and every day. what a blessing, honor, and privilege it is to know i am His and His alone. who knows where he is going to lead me next...

(i secretly, or not so secretly, hope
and pray that is it back to india...)

Sunday, October 26, 2008

this morning in church we sang Great is Thy Faithfulness. it reminded me of the walk down to the orphanage with Johnson after we asked him what his favorite hymns were.

for a second, when i closed my eyes, i felt like i was back there.

the ache of missing the children and everyone else there has not changed. i suppose all i can do, though, is continue to pray that i will be able to go back there next summer or sometime soon. how sweet it is and will continue to be to trust in the One who is always faithful.

Friday, October 17, 2008

it seems as though there is something about being home that makes my heart long for india more than ever before. perhaps it's because i have longed to be at home while i've been at school, and now that i am home i am longing to be at my home away from home.

oh how i miss my children...

Tuesday, October 14, 2008

it's always so interesting to me when i can see how the Lord is answering my prayers. it truly does make me stand in awe of him.

since india, i have consistenty been praying that the Lord would give me a sense of wonder, and He has definitely done just that. as i sat in my social work class this morning at the awful hour of 7:50, i looked out the window and saw the contrast of the leaves changing color with the dark grey sky, and i was astounded. it was beauty at its finest and probably simplest as well, but breathtaking beauty to say the least. last year i may have noticed the colors and appreciated how it looked, but i don't think i would have had a second thought about how those vibrant, contrasting colors truly show the Lord's creativity and desire to woo us into a deeper relationship with him.

another prayer that i have consistenty been praying since india is that my heart would break for what breaks his. now, i am fully aware of the danger that comes with that prayer, but it is one that i have not been able to get out of my head or off my heart for quite some time now. and as i sat in an apartment this afternoon with my case manager, i think it is safe to say that i had another heartbreaking moment that gave me just a small glimpse of what the He goes through each and every second.

his walls were yellow, stained with smoke; the only white spots on the walls were where pictures must have once hung. his bookshelf was filled with bibles and commentaries with layers of dust covering them. his living room consisted of two chairs covered with sheets, a television, a makeshift desk and a stool with a rip in it. his black cat is the fattest cat i have ever seen, and more than likely his refrigerator was half empty due to him being more worried about paying his bills than eating, because after all, the last time he ran out of food for three days, he lost 11 pounds.

as i sat there, listening to him and my case manager discuss how he was going to handle his finances for the month of november, i saw him in agony as he was overcome by anxiety. i listened to him talk about being afraid of going down to the "club", because he knew he was going to either get shot or beat up. i listened to him say over and over again that he would never buy another thing because he had really screwed up this last time, but when you cope with your anxiety by buying things how else is one suppose to survive? when you are a paranoid schizophrenic who has severe anxiety and obsessive compulsive disorder how do you function in a world that is not made for you and has little to no tolerance for people like you either?

it isn't fair.

he didn't ask for these illnesses, and although i may never understand why these things have had to happen to him or to any of the other clients i have interacted with over the last four weeks, i do know that the Lord has used them to impact my life; in these cases, He has used the clients to break my heart for what breaks his, to have empathy like never before, to become completely uncomfortable in homes that aren't the cleanest and with people who smoke, and to have strength to laugh so i don't cry when the days get rough.

and although i know my heart is only going to continue to break as i continue to embark on my journey to social work and in what the Lord has for me, i will praise him for the fact his power is made perfect in my weaknesses, and that although i might not be able to change the whole world, perhaps i can help change some individual's worlds and in turn leave the world a better place when i am gone.

may he continue giving me the strength to love boldy, to entrust people into his care, and to trust so very blindly.

Sunday, October 5, 2008

i think that once you catch the vision of the needs there are all around the world, your life is drastically changed for the rest of forever.

it's hard when most people would describe you as rather unemotional to know that when you see pictures of people in third-world countries that your eyes are almost guaranteed to well with tears and that you just want to be with them in order to know their stories and in order to be a support to them in a way that they may have never experienced before. it doesn't matter if you can or can't speak their language; you know you could communicate with them enough to hopefully make them feel special, unique, loved, and appreciated.


the three of us girls talked to our beloved Thatta this past week. thinking of hearing his laughter on the phone still brings a smile to my face; i hate, though, that we weren't there to see him throw his hands up above his head or his belly jiggle as we were talking and laughing. he told us that the children are now bathing in the canal that runs alongside the road of the orphanage. i can just imagine them playing in the water together, laughing and chattering the whole time.

i miss their joy. i miss the simplicity. i miss the warm nights, under the stars, sitting on the steps, waiting for the children to pile on my lap after they ate dinner.

i hate that i am becoming restless in the unknown of what next summer may hold. i need to be reminded of the importance of trusting blindly, and i need to remember how important confident hope is. may i never forget the lessons i learned this summer or the people who are truly my family living halfway around the world from me, but may i rest in the fact that his ways are far above mine.