|Orphaned children gathering water from a well.|
I will be honest with you.
I thought I would come to Africa, fall in love with it, and wish I were a missionary here. I thought this trip would make me want to sell my possessions and give them to the poor, adopt a dozen children, and live on rice and beans forever for the sake of giving my life away for Christ.
Instead, this trip has brought me face to face with the truth: I am selfish. I am a sinner. I am so in need of God’s grace to shape me and change me.
God keeps revealing the ugliness of my heart, and I am surprised by it. The frustration I feel when Amelia will not sleep at all and refuses to be quieted or comforted. The hesitation I feel about leaving my clothes in Africa for those who truly need them — even though I’ve seen the poverty with my own eyes and know that I live a life of ridiculous excess. How I hunger for American food and familiarity more often than I do for righteousness.
|Mama Sara hand-made this colorful straw mat for Amelia, whom she
calls her “daughter”. It was a beautiful gesture of love. Amelia truly has
been given special treatment at her baby home — an answered prayer.
And on top of these things, I never imagined I might feel insecure about my ability to parent Amelia. Some days are great, and then other days, she rages. She is set off by nothing, and then will be comforted by nothing. It is as if she preferres the orphanage to her parents’ loving arms.
I remember a year ago reading that “Uganda will reveal to you a thousand gods you never knew you had.” I longed to come here to have my false gods revealed to me. And now, I see them. Many. Ugly. In my face. Worse than I dreamed.
But I am not worried.
Instead, I am joyful. Expectant.
I know a secret.
I know the happy ending, and it is this:
|Amelia & I at an orphanage I will write about later.
I still haven’t formulated my thoughts!
Amelia and I both wish for the wrong things. Amelia wishes for the orphanage instead of parents who love her. I wish for my American comforts and selfish desires, instead of a life planned by the God who loves me. But that is not the end of our story.
Jesus nailed my selfish, sinful thoughts to the cross. He nailed Amelia’s suffering, abandonment, and life as an orphan to the cross. All of these ugly things died on the cross along side of our Savior.
And then, Jesus conquered death. He lives. He lives to redeem the ugly in our lives.
He lives to give Amelia new life as our daughter.
He lives to give me new life as His daughter.
God is going to reshape my worthless desires (& Amelia’s) and mold them into beauty. Beauty from ashes.
Yes, my heart might house materialism, selfishness, and a love for false gods. But something even stronger lives in me, and He will redeem my evil desires into a life of praise to God. By the power of Christ, Amelia and I will be made new. God wins in the end. Praise God. I cannot wait to see it unfold.