We have been going non-stop for the last two months. I have to look at the calendar every few days to see what day it is. Life goes so fast here. Days can be overwhelming but so full of His grace.
I tend to not process my emotions very often because I never want to let them control me. So I suppress. I keep going. Then I break.
Today I broke. My flesh was raw and every emotion from anger, self pity, selfishness, exhaustion, and sadness flooded over me. It started with a good-bye. The last few months the Lord has been so sweet to me and sent friends that have been walking their own journey here but we have all seen how He has purposefully placed us all here together to remind us that He never leaves us alone. He has sealed our hearts together as we have faced bends in the roads that we did not foresee. We have fasted, we have prayed, laughed, cried and felt even in the storm, He has been here. I have found that this place brings more good-byes than I have ever experienced. Good-bye to visitors, good-bye to children that have become like my own as they begin with their new families, good-bye as our friends see His face for the first time with true Healing…it prunes my heart. As I have said good-bye to two women that have been rocks for me here, I have one left standing with me as we waved good-bye to our precious friends who paths only crossed due to this place.
Another great challenge has been discovering that it is very hard for me to be my “true self” here. Even though my Ugandan friends and those I serve with have told me countless times, “Dacia, we want you to be yourself” I have struggled through days wondering what was wrong with me? I felt like I could not be 100% Dacia, the Dacia that everyone knows at home. Through many days of grappling with frustration and emotion, I have realized that I will never be able to truly be myself here. The Dacia in America cannot be the Dacia in Uganda…I am being transformed. There are times frustration rises up in me and I just want to be in a place that is familiar, where I am understood, where I don’t have to work at putting off my culture to embrace another. To speak my heart and know it will be fully understood. That was yesterday.
Two precious little girls are found in the village by the team and brought back home. Miriam is 8 years old and her father has two wives so the head wife was not feeding the child. She looks similar to what I have seen in my history books while studying the Holocaust yet she had a smile that said her heart could be mended with His love that only flows through us, His vessels. No matter how many times your eyes see it, your heart is pained just the same every time.
I was at the end of myself. I was done. Exhuasted physically and emotionally. I just wanted to sleep and be alone but just as He would plan it, I needed to go get some work done at the Babies Home. I get in the car with a smile on my face but my heart was not so pleasant. I placed my headphones in and I was just ready to drown it all out on the 45 minute ride to Bukaleba…wallow a bit. Amen? I though felt drawn to pick up my Bible. I really didn’t want to because I knew He would speak and I honestly just wanted to sit in my frustrations and own frame of mind just for another song. I couldn’t. I opened up the Bible in what I would call a random spot but not at all random to what He was going to speak to my heart.
In Matthew 20:20, a mother asked Jesus what her two sons had to do in order to be seated next to Him in Heaven. Jesus responded with this; “You do not know what you are asking! Are you able to drink from the bitter cup of suffering I am about to drink?” The mother said, “Oh yes, of course they can drink from the cup.” I love how we are so quick to respond with “of course we can do this”…when we cannot fathom what suffering He is speaking of. The Disciples also inquired about this question and when I read this passage this morning, driving to Bukaleba it was spoken over me into my tired heart. “You know that the rulers of this world lord it over their people, and official flaunt their authority over those under them. But among you it will be different. Whoever wants to become a leader among you must become your servant, and whoever wants to be first among you must first become your slave. For even the Son of Man came not to be served, but to serve others and give His life as a ransom for many.”
Once again, He speaks into my situation. He reveals to me that there is no way I can possibly know what His suffering looked like, unless He revealed it to me and let me just get a tiny taste of what it means to be in a place that is not your “home”, to be called out for a higher purpose. I don’t believe the hard times are as much about shaping my character as it is about Him revealing His heart to me. How can we know what it means to take up the cross, if we have never tasted suffering? How can I know what it means to be called to come over and serve the people of this country, if I don’t first grasp that my Savior, my Redeemer, the Creator of all things didn’t come to this foreign place to be served but to serve those who mocked and rejected Him? Give me a picture of your grace, show me the measure of your grace.
But to serve others. To serve others. I hear His words flooding over my heart as I am driving down the roads of Africa, surrounded by families who have never seen what my eyes have seen and have not tasted of my tangible material blessings. I look to my left and a little girl who is dressed in rags, barefoot, comes running towards me and I see what is being spoken over me in her face. She doesn’t have to be from America or a privileged country, she has joy. A few feet down the road I see a mother bathing her littles in a bucket, He is the same for her as well, He has come to serve her. As I look over this lush land, I am reminded that He is ALL to us. His suffering, His Redemption, His saving Grace, His joy…He came to wash all of our feet.
If we are enduring suffering, could it be possibly that He is revealing His heart to us so we can grasp what He went through to rescue us? How quickly I lose focus and appreciation sometimes. If we are overwhelmed and feel like we deserve more credit, an easier road, better circumstances could we remember that not even the Lord God Almighty needed those things….He came not to be served but to serve. And lay down His life as our Ransom.
These Orange Roads keep leading me to Him.