My heart is so sad right now…I just received the call that my dad has passed. The memory that comes to my mind is him attempting to kiss my cheek with the little strength he had last week. His greatest desire as a sober man was to have his kids know he was sorry for all he had done. The beauty is that God is faithful, and heard my dads prayers. All of us have been able to sit by his side, see the healing God had done in his life, and return the greatest gift God has given us, FORGIVENESS. Even after all the years of bad choices, Gods love and mercy abounded still towards my dad, towards all of us. He is quick to forgive and His desire is to restore and make new. In these past three months I have experience more tears and brokenness than I have in a long time, maybe a lifetime. I have been broken to my core. It is at that depth of brokenness, we step aside and God steps in. It’s the refining process where He can purge us of all the junk we carry as people, and purifies us into something so beautiful. It’s where we can see the wrongs we’ve done and the wrongs we’ve put on others and start the process of change. I like my dad, don’t want to go back to the old person. I want to cling to God and His word and see all He can and wants to do through His pure vessel. We as believers of Jesus, have the assured hope of eternity in heaven with our Lord. It is why Jesus suffered such eminence pain on earth, paving the way for us. In heaven we will have no more tears, no more sorrow, and no more pain. My dad woke up this morning to that beauty, a restored body, a restored man and standing before God, with the greatest of joy. I’m a little jealous that my dad is dancing with my Jesus right now. Save a dance for me dad, and know I will live my life with the gratitude of God restoring our relationship those years ago. It wasn’t easy, but it birthed in you a changed life and in me, a purging of my old life. God had a wonderful plan that day I sat with you on the streets. It was so hard to see you like that; I had to trust God had His hand on you. As much as I wanted to fix everything for you, it had to be God. He did such a good work with you! I’m so proud of you! Today, I challenge you all to hold those you love so close, so near. It is that love that changes people and nothing else! May the love we have for others become the stepping stone to the change we all need. My dad would want you all to know God is so in love with you. No amount of wrong choices, failures or pains could ever stop that love from going to you. I love you all too. Thank you taking this journey with me. I’m such a private person, I’ve learned to do that to hide and keep my walls up. God has been doing a work tho, and I new those months ago, it was a challenge to me to open up to all of you. You have all been so wonderful. I am a blessed girl for those God has placed in my life. Please keep praying for me and my family. I need God to touch my heart. It needs to smile again, it needs a lot of work, but He is doing the work. William Hill (Daddy), I love you (I will share in my next post what has been going on with my family and my dads story).
I recently spoke at a Women’s event with the theme, “The Voice”. The idea obviously stemmed from the popular TV show. If you’ve ever watched it, the contestant comes out singing. As they sing, the judge’s backs are turned towards the singer. They sit waiting, not seeing, just waiting for something to grab their attention enough to make them push their button. Someone pointed out to me that after the button is pushed and the judge is facing the singer, a light comes on at the bottom of the chair stating, “I want you”.
I can’t imagine what goes through the singer’s mind moments before they perform. There must be so many unknowns, doubts, even the question of being good enough or not? They have to swallow all that and move forward with their performance. They have to find the strength to give it everything they have because they only have 45 seconds to entice the ear of at least one judge.
- I think this idea of the voice is so applicable in our lives. If we were honest, we all face the voices of defeat and failure at times. Some more so than others! I remember when I first started hearing these voices myself. I was in the 7th grade and I was extremely ill; I had spent the year in and out of hospitals, visited several doctors who could not figure out what was going on with me. My mom wouldn’t give up though; even as a few doctors suggested that maybe I just wanted attention. I’m thankful for the instinct God gives moms, when something isn’t right with their kids, they know!
She searched constantly to find a specialist for me. Finally we found the doctor who would save my life. He was at Children’s Hospital in San Diego. By the time I got to him, I was at my sickest. After seeing him, I found myself (the next day), having an eleven-hour operation. They had to rebuild my stomach in order to save my life. I woke up with a feeding tube out my side and a nine-inch scar down my stomach. Instantly, I went from being me, to being me in a flawed state.
As I lay in the hospital bed, I would see my exposed stomach with clear tape over the wound. They had to keep it open in the event of any complications. I remember in the countless hours I was in that bed, I would begin to hear the voices that, to this day, I battle with. The ones that say, “You’re flawed, you’re scarred, you’re ugly.” It would be those voices that would help to brew some of the greatest lies and insecurities I would face about myself in life.
I think it was a deep issue for me because it was coupled with the wounds of the abuse I faced as a child and being abandoned by my father. I had a loving mom taking good care of me, but when one parent leaves, a child still feels like it was their fault. I was shy, quiet and insecure and now, I bore physical scars to match the emotional scars. I have met so many people who have been in bondage to the same lies. Who, basically, believe the lies about themselves, and can’t see beyond them.
As a speaker, youth leader and minister of the gospel, I can share the beautiful truths of God’s word about worth, value and love, on platforms far and wide. I believe those truths to the core for those I counsel with…I know in the depths of my soul that it is truth. I don’t for one second doubt God’s plan in the lives of others. I watch it lived out in and through them all the time. Truth be told though, I often don’t believe it for myself. I look at myself from the perspective of a wounded, timid little girl, thinking, “It couldn’t be true for flawed me.”
I’m sharing this not because I want attention, or for people to feel sorry for me. I’m sharing it because I know that if this is true in my own life, there must be so many who are privately battling the same thing. I want to have a willingness to be transparent with you; it’s so important! People admire those who are given public platforms, thinking they have it all together. I want to honestly share today, that we don’t. We battle the same voices as others do, maybe even more than most. That’s just being real! Someone dear to me shared, “Spiritual warfare is not easy, that’s why it’s called warfare.” I believe the goal of the enemy is to take those voices and cause defeat. So often we are ashamed of our struggles and we keep them tucked away in the closet, yet every time the door is opened, there the lies wait. We need to clean house, clean out those closets and fill them with truth.
This isn’t always an easy thing to do. I will tell you this though, if you don’t do it, the lies will not just affect you, but will affect the most valued and treasured relationships you have. You will look at each person in your life through the veil of those lies, placing the lies on others and ultimately, that will impact those relationships. I wonder how many relationships have been forever defeated by this very thing. It’s not fair to you or me to be in bondage to them. They have done enough damage in and to you!
I have learned that the only way I can silence the lies of defeat, is by the truth of God’s word, coupled with prayer. God’s Word is not truth for others only; it is truth for you. He loves you, He does have a plan for you and He desires to see you soar in Him, nothing else! My prayer through everything I have faced is that the Lord would use it for His good and glory. That He would bring purpose to the pain and healing to the broken. Only He can mend us! I have been coming to terms with this and felt a desperate need to share it with whoever is reading this.
I want to remind you that the truest voice came to you and I, hitting the “button”, before coming out of our mother’s womb. Christ looks at you and me saying, “I want you, and I chose you.” The things that have happened to us, in us and through us were never meant to harm us, but to bring light in and share it with the darkness of others. I never believed I would find someone who would love me with scars. Yet the Lord one day quietly asked me, “Do you not love Me because of my scars?” The answer was, “Of course not. When I think about you Lord, I don’t even think of Your scars! If I were to though, they only make me love you more, I know they were for me.” God said, “I’ve called your husband to love you with a love that is pure. He will see past your scars and will love you in beauty and truth. God wants to hush the insecurities that keep us from moving forward. I think sometimes it’s so hard for us to let them go, because we become comfortable with them. We hold them close and dear because we have given them a home in us. We forget the wonderful feeling we get after the hard work of cleaning house. When clean, we find ourselves enjoying our homes again. God wants to strip us of the lies at home in us, to make us at home in Him.
How many unnecessary tears have you cried because of the voice of lies? Let’s not cry anymore. Let’s soak up the Word of God and surrender those lies to Him. He wants them, He died to take them! Let the truth of the Son set you and me free today! I love you and am praying for everyone who reads this and can relate.
Leaving my family after the holidays is always a difficult time for me. This time seems to be the hardest yet though. There is so much uncertainty, sickness and trial at home. Everyone seems to be going through a struggle or major sickness.
When I’m home, I try my best to divide my time equally with everyone, bringing love and support, that, often they go without because I live so far away. I spend time praying and encouraging them, helping however I can with the needs they have. We laugh, cry and hug. We sit talking for what seems like hours, catching up and sharing about life. This time is always so fulfilling for me. I enjoy it to the core!
I moved to Kauai 13 years ago. Thirteen years, wow! Before I moved, I felt the tug many of us have felt, the tug to go and make a difference. I knew there was a great need on Kauai, but I didn’t know the ministry God had in store for me there. Leaving home was hard at the time, but I counted the cost; serving God was what I said yes to. There have been days during those years that definitely were hard and lonely, but God has always shown himself faithful and got me through them.
On this trip, I felt so burdened, so heavy, almost as if I couldn’t spend enough time with them. To protect their privacy, I won’t go into detail of their personal trials, but for some, the future seems bleak. I guess on this trip, I have been reminded of the value of life. Our days are never promised to us, and numbered by God, only He knows how many we have.
When you live far from home, there is such a greater meaning to the word family. There is nothing sweeter than a hug from a family
Member. A hug from someone who has known you their entire life, and they are still willing to hug you. Haha, I’m sure some miss the beauty of what I’m talking about.
As I sit in the airport writing this, I find myself wanting to fix things for everyone. I want to solve all their problems and take away all their pain. It’s easy to want to carry the burden for them. As I thought this, I felt the whisper, “you’re not meant to carry the burden, I Am.” This is what Jesus came to do, to carry the burden; to make light the heaviest of moments with the peace that only He can give.
Don’t worry about anything; instead, pray about everything. Tell God what you need, and thank him for all he has done.
I won’t for one second say this is easy to do, it isn’t. It’s the hardest lesson one might ever learn in life. I make myself sick with worry sometimes. When stress is upon me, I can’t get it out of my head. It literally consumes me. I’m a big baby at times, I’ll cry and cry and cry because I can’t change a situation that is stressful in my life. After all the tears, God, in all His grace, doesn’t give up on me, out of frustration of my stupidity or lack of faith. Nope, in a sense he gives that loving touch of a mom, who tucks the hair behind your ear, and whispers, “it’s gonna be ok, it’s always going to be ok.” Within a week of my life seeming as if it’s over, I find myself living out this peace; I’m relieved over whatever I was facing and it truly is all ok.
I want you to know that God doesn’t waist the things we face in this life. He is with you and I believe with all my heart that we go through trying,’hard times to bring us to a better understanding of our Lord. In them, we understand His beauty, love and nurture. He shows us that even though we can’t, He can.
The Lord delights in those He loves. He loves you and I so much. Even in the turmoil of life, He holds you. He is with you and He will never leave you. Never!! My challenge for you (and myself) is that in this New Year, when you receive bad news, are fighting cancer, struggling to pay the bills, battling addiction, or frustrated with life, that you take a moment to write down 7 times God showed himself faithful in your life. Then pray, thank Him for His faithfulness and trust Him with your uncertainty. Cling and feel Him lift you up. I may be far from my family, but my God is very near to them! I can trust them to Him. Love you all.
Bethany and I, in partnership with Friends of Bethany, Wonderfully Made and Maranatha chapel, recently held a one day girls conference in San Diego, CA. We were joined with close to 3000 girls at this amazing event! Our goal was to remind young girls of their value and worth. My schedule has been so crazy, I have not had a lot of writing time! I thought you all might enjoy seeing what we have been up to and watching this incredible event first hand. Know you are loved and so precious to our Lord!! Click here to see the event: <a href=”http://player.piksel.com/player.php?p=gbg16w71&wmode=transparent&wmode=transparent” target=”_blank”>
The waves were huge and the storm rough. My arms were so tired from paddling; they felt as weak as noodles. Getting past one large wave; another one was on the horizon. I paddled as hard as I could, trying not be overtaken by the huge surf. There was wave after wave; I didn’t think I was going to make it. As I gasped for air, I found myself gripping the board ever so tightly. I was paddling circles in the midst of the stormy sea. I couldn’t help but wonder why I paddled out; why did I want to conquer the big waves? When I finally got back to the shore, I had no strength left in my bones. I lay there in the sand shocked and frozen, gripped by the fear of what I had just been through. Often we feel this way in life…overtaken by something or someone in such a way that we cannot see beyond it. The mind so full of emotions that you just feel like you can’t escape them. You’re not alone; you are in the boat that is tossed to and fro by the waves of life and need the storm to be calmed.
The tragic loss of a very close friend during the holidays was very difficult. For me, this started a season of storms that gripped me so tightly. I found my mind consumed by my circumstances. I couldn’t wait to get home to my family during the holidays, hoping for that moment to be still. Often it seems when I have expectations of peace and rest, God has other plans though. The day I landed in California I got news that my friend’s husband had committed suicide. My heart became even heavier. I found myself on a trail of unexpected ministry needs and opportunities with friends and family. This isn’t a bad thing, but when you’re feeling weighed down, it can be hard.
I’m the kind of person that loves to help people, especially when there is a need or someone in trouble or hungry. I can’t help but be emotionally moved by the things I see around me! If it’s in my capability and power, I will do something about it. So I often find myself carrying the weight of the world and forgetting to give it to the Lord. I was emotionally broken by all I had seen and endured. I had forgotten one key component; we are never called to carry the heavy yoke, but to find strength through Him. “I can do all things through Christ who strengthens me,” Phil.4:13.
In any kind of water training, you are taught when saving a drowning victim to put a flotation device between you and the person you are trying to save so they do not pull you under causing you to drown with them. I wasn’t making sure Christ (my flotation device) was between me and those I was ministering to. This can be true in so many different aspects of our lives! Our human nature tends to cling to the idea that we, in some way, can fix things, circumstances, people, or ourselves. God then becomes secondary or obsolete all together.
That is exactly where the enemy wants us to be. At a place where we become so overwhelmed by the situation at hand, we grow weary and faint. In weariness, we are discouraged and often find ourselves in a very dark place, looking to grab anything that comes into reach to satisfy or numb what we are going through. Before we know it, we find ourselves being pulled under because we didn’t make Christ our anchor. Hebrews 6:19 says, “This hope we have as an anchor of the soul, both sure and steadfast.” You and I don’t need an anchor for calm seas. The rougher the weather, the more important your anchor! The rougher the circumstances we face, the nearer we need to draw to Christ.
God began showing me that if He wasn’t the source of my strength, then I labored in vain (Ps. 127:1). It is so important to put God first in all you are facing and going through. He has never brought a storm so great that it ceased from ending. There is always another sun shining again. When He is who we turn to, we find ourselves not needing to be overwhelmed. Sometimes He is waiting for us to surrender all to Him. To literally let go of whatever it is you are gripping so tightly and to just let Him.
Maybe you are trying so hard to find the perfect man…let go, seek Him first, and trust He knows what He is doing. Maybe you are saddened by the loss of a loved one and you cannot move past the pain, lay the tears at the feet of Jesus and let Him carry you through it. Maybe financially you have no clue how you are going to make it. Go outside and look how He provides for the birds of the air; will He not much more take care of you? Maybe you feel alone and forgotten. Do you know He can’t get you off His mind
(Ps.139:17-18)? Your life serves a purpose; look to Him to know what that is. Maybe you are fighting a cancer and you don’t know what the outcome will be. He does and His strength is made perfect in your weakness. Trust Him. No matter what you are going through today, remember that our God holds the span of the universe in His hands. We are so small and our problems hold no merit in comparison to His ability. Let go, casting all your cares on him and know how very much He cares for you. He’s got you, He loves you and He will never leave you!!
Is He your anchor today? Is He your flotation device keeping you above water between you and your situation? If not, I encourage you to say this prayer with me:
Lord, forgive me for not making You the core for my strength. Help me to trust_______________ to You. May You help me to keep my eyes on You and to remember when fear seeps in, that You are greater. Help me to see things from a godly perspective. May my circumstances never be bigger than You. Thank You Lord, for being my shield today against the storm. Amen
I encourage you to go watch the sunset or sunrise today. Go get away from everything and take a moment to be still before Him. It is in that stillness you will hear Him the most! Aloha.
Waking up, there was a thickness that could not be escaped. Moment by moment, each breath was so painful. Full of confusion, despair and disappointment, each second seemed inescapable and hard. Drifting deep into the sheets, there didn’t seem to be an end in sight. The heaviness consumed the day and brought tears streaming down her face.
Why me, she thought…why do I have to live this life full of trial and pain? The very thing that brought identity, acceptance and purpose now drifts far away like the seas tide, taking with it her hope. In the dark hours, she contemplated the very life she was living. Feeling so lost in the emotions of it, she could see no end to the pain ahead. If this was the best life had, she no longer wanted to live it.
So often in the hardships we face, we too can find ourselves in this place. The dark abyss that often brings little hope. Those times where every breath we breathe hurts and we find little strength to keep going. It could be in a moment of awful news, loss of a loved one, the pain of divorce or a break up. It could be in the moment of confusion or loneliness. When that financial crisis comes at the worst time. It might be in the shape of a backstabbing word that cuts the soul. No matter what your moment was, we can all agree that this life can be extremely difficult. So what do we do in the dark hour? How do we find light in the dark tunnel and the strength to move forward?
As I met with a close friend the other day, she shared with me the darkness she had been facing. She told me she didn’t want to live any longer. She shared that this life had become too painful, and she could no longer take it. While she shared with me, it brought me back to a painful time in my own life. A time where I really didn’t feel there was a hope to keep living! A time where I felt as she did, that life handed me a bad hand and I felt like there was no point in living any longer. While she wept bitterly in my arms, I felt the Lord place it on my heart to share about the day I escaped my own suicide.
Right out of high school, I had what I thought would be my future all mapped out. I was to play water polo in college, study sports medicine and, like anyone, start living my life. Two weeks before I was to start college, I went to a beach house with some close friends for one last hurrah that summer. As I was walking down to the water to surf, I felt care free, not a worry in the world. The waves were good, the sun was shining it was truly a beautiful day!
As I went to duck dive under a wave, I was tossed backwards and landed on the back of my head on the bottom of the ocean. Immediately my face went numb and I thought I had broken my jaw. As I made my way back to the house in the hot sand, I had to keep putting my board down and stand on it for a few seconds to relieve my feet from the heat, then pick up the board and continue walking. I am not sure what happened by the time I got to the house, but the next thing I remember is being in the ambulance, headed to the hospital.
When I arrived, I remember being in a panic, not over any injury I might have incurred but over the fact that I did not want them to cut off my new rash guard (I was successful at saving it). I was taken into the x-ray room and waited for the doctors. The diagnosis at that time was that I had a sprained neck and was told I needed to take it easy. My neck felt really bad; kind of like a bobble head. That night I sat up all night in a chair, with the worst pain I had ever known. The next morning I was in a daze. My friends took me home, where I sat stiff at the end of my bed, waiting for my mom to come home from work.
The moment she walked in, our eyes locked and like any mom, she saw something was very wrong. She rushed me to another hospital, where I was called a miracle and told that I had a broken neck and back. It was so bad, they had no clue as to how I walked in there and told my mom that going that long with my neck broken the way I was, I should have been paralyzed. All I can remember in that moment was crying. Crying for so many reasons, but mostly because I knew this meant I would not be playing water polo.
The first few weeks seemed okay. I had everyone I knew coming to see me. That soon changed, as all my friends went off to school. One of the hardest moments was when my new water polo coach called me to go over the upcoming schedule and I had to tell her I would no longer be on the team due my accident. After that call, I was so sad. The days grew longer and when you are down and out, I believe you start to feel even more sorry for yourself. My life had never been easy; through the years I had to over come numerous obstacles life handed me. Abuse from my father, the pain of a broken home, and numerous surgeries from numerous illnesses I faced. As I replayed all these memories in my heard, I grew into a deep depression.
I remember one day telling the Lord, “If this is the best you have for me and my life, I am over living it.” I was at a place where I just saw no end in sight. I really was ready to just give up! I remember seeing a Bible on the nightstand next to me (by no mistake from my praying Mom, who I am sure, left it there). I grabbed it almost in one last attempt to hear something. I said, “God, if you are real and are here, I need you to speak to me, if not, I’m done.” I opened the Bible up, I had no clue to where. I just opened it and saw one verse in red writing. It seemed almost to jump out at me. It was 2 Cor.12:9, And He said to me, “My grace is sufficient for you, for My strength is made perfect in weakness.” Therefore most gladly I will rather boast in my infirmities, that the power of Christ may rest upon me.
That verse definitely spoke to me. As I read on, I found myself captivated by the next words. Paul went on to talk about that because God’s great grace was so sufficient, he would boast in all the trials of life, knowing that in his weakness, God was working in him strength. I felt like the Lord allowed me to come to this place of brokenness so I, like Paul, would see that God was with me always. I felt like the Lord said, “Sarah, if you give Me your life, I will bring purpose to all your pain. I will use it to bless others and to show Myself faithful to you. That day was a life changing day for me. It was in those words of comfort, I found a reason to live. I really believe I was forever different after that moment. I no longer lived in light of the trials, hardships and pain but in light of the cross.
Suicide is a very heavy topic and I deal with it all the time in the ministry I have. You see, if we are only looking at the dark hours we are in, there can be little hope ahead. It is the lie of Satan himself that says you are not loved or important. The lie that says you are all alone or your life was a mistake. He desires nothing more than to leave us in our depravity, without hope. Suicide is such a horrible thing that leaves the world robbed of all you have to offer it.
Your life is so important and has so much purpose. God has placed you here to do something amazing and great for Him. I think of Jeremiah 1: 5 where God told Jeremiah, “Before I formed you in the womb I knew you, before you were born I set you apart; I appointed you as a prophet to the nations.” You see God is telling Jeremiah that before he was even born, He knew him. Before Jeremiah lived one day on this earth God had a plan for him. There was a purpose for Jeremiah’s life, just as there is a purpose for your life. “I know, I know,” the inner voice is saying, “but this is to Jeremiah, not to me; God had a plan for Jeremiah’s life, but not mine.” LIES!!!!! You are here for a specific purpose… what that is, I am not sure, but guess what, God does! This verse is not just for Jeremiah but for you and me today!
Ephesians 2:10 say’s, “For we are His workmanship, created in Christ Jesus for good works, which God prepared beforehand that we should walk in them.” Workmanship is translated “masterpiece.” You are God’s masterpiece, His best creation. God thought through to make you as this masterpiece because there are things He wants you to do. He created you to do something amazing, that no one else can do. You were made specifically with a purpose in mind. YOU ARE NOT A MISTAKE!!
So with that, what do we do? We trust God. We get in the Bible to fight off the lies with the truth. We grab ahold of God’s promises and walk in them. I would have missed out on the blessing of God using me to lead others to Christ. The people God has allowed me to impact for His kingdom has blown me away. I would not have realized His purpose for my life, if I had selfishly taken the “easy” way out. Today, I would not change any part of my life. Seeing all that the Lord had in store has brought complete peace to all the storms I faced and continue to face. God has given me so many opportunities and has faithfully brought purpose through the pain. If you are in a dark place and need help, know there is help! Any of the following organizations are available to you to offer you help and an ear to listen. You are loved by me and more importantly, you are loved by God! Only He can turn our ashes to beauty.
Isaiah 61:3 “To give them beauty for ashes,The oil of joy for mourning,The garment of praise for the spirit of heaviness;That they may be called trees of righteousness,The planting of the Lord, that He may be glorified.”
I recently found myself doing, as so many in the world do, accusing God of the injustices this world has. Being one who normally goes to bat for Christ, I now sat on the side of the age old question…”If God is a God of love, why does He allow….?” I’ve heard this question far too often and have attempted to, on many occasions, answer it with some sort of theological answer. I was so bothered by what I saw this summer, I too accused Christ of injustice.
I took a small group of kids on a missions trip to Mexico in July. This was not a new thing, as I have led such trips yearly, and most recently in October of 2012. Some of my kids were so moved while on that trip, that they wanted to go back this summer. It was their passionate, steadfast desire that led us to move forward with the July trip. There were moments we thought about cancelling the trip, like when we saw the price of airline tickets to fly from Hawaii to the mainland and we questioned our ability to raise the money. But the kids persisted, feeling more assured each day that we were to go. It is a great thing to see the faith of the youth, who are not worried, nor question God’s ability to provide. And provide He did!
As Americans, anytime we go into Mexico, we are broken by the poverty that lies beyond the fence dividing the two countries. It is a great thing for young people to see just how good they have it living in the U.S. We were eager to see how God would use us on this trip. Within a day it was clear it would be a powerful trip! We went to visit an orphanage that we have been helping over the past few years. They were not expecting us; therefore we were able to see the needs they had in the rawest form. So often, as Americans, we come to meet the needs of others in the most gluttonous ways. What I mean by that is, we bring toys, clothes and candy with excited smiles to bless the little ones. That’s good to want to bless those in need, except when you see that the young ones most basic needs aren’t even being met. It changes your perspective!
We hurried out of our vans. I was holding a large box of granola bars that I couldn’t wait to give to the little kids. They all ran at me as if they had not eaten in days. Two and three year olds were begging me for food. I could not pass them out quick enough. As I looked down at these little beaming eyes, I couldn’t help but notice the filth they were covered in. Dripping noses and raw sores on the faces, diapers that had not been change for days and clothes that reeked of human waist. Little ones pulling on every side of me begging me for more. Many were extremely sick and clung to members of our team. We couldn’t carry enough of them! Within minutes they would fall asleep in our arms; maybe the only place they felt safe. The older kids were sneaking bars in their pockets, trying ever so hard to steal a bag of bars to go hide for later…truly so heartbreaking.
After leaving that day I was so sad, broken and disappointed. No young child should ever be faced to live in those conditions. We went and bought a ton of diapers and food to bring back with us. When we revisited the orphanage, the kids were so grateful to see us and once again they clung to us. When given an opportunity to love these little ones, you forget about any stench that accompanies them. You embrace them and flood their little faces with kisses. I held a very sick little boy (maybe a year and a half old) in my arms. Covered in dirt and so sad. I took baby wipe after baby wipe to clean his little face and hands. I then got a cup of water to try and hydrate him. The moments following still make me weep like a baby. Within seconds I was surrounded by toddlers begging me for “aqua” (water). They would take the cup of water and gulp it down as if it was the only drink they had in days. They were fighting each other for sips, I couldn’t keep the cup full. I also couldn’t hold back the tears that quickly turned into anger.
How can a God of love allow this to happen? How can these little kids be left to live like this? This is unjust and wrong! There are so many injustices in the world, so many heartbreaking sights and so much pain. If God is all loving, why does he allow this to be the case?
A week later I was visiting my uncle who in the past year was diagnosed with cancer. He is a man of faith, but I wouldn’t say that he passionately pursued the cross. A while back my aunt and I were talking on the phone and she shared how there was a bit of a somber feel in the house. “Unk” was feeling down and she asked me to pray for him. I encouraged her to play worship music in the house. I began praying for God to bring him a unexplainable peace in this time.
When I saw my uncle, I was blown away by his new found passion and love for God. He was on fire. I could see a difference in him. He was sharing a story with me about sharing his faith with a random guy in Nordstrom. One day after one of his treatments, my aunt needed to grab a couple things. My uncle went along and sat on a sofa in the store while my aunt did her shopping. There was a man a bit older than him, sitting in a chair next to him. As they began to talk, my uncle brought up Christ. This old man said, “I use to have faith and believe in God, but not anymore.” My uncle asked, “why not?” The man said, “Well, because I don’t see how a God of love could allow innocent people in Africa to die!” My uncle went on to say, “Sir, I don’t understand why bad things happen; however, I know God is faithful and loving and his heart breaks for the evil in the world too.” My uncle then said, “Sarah, what would you have said?”
That question was still being a very raw topic in my heart, I looked at my uncle and said “you responded perfectly.” I began to share with him about accusing God for all the evil I was seeing in Mexico, as these children begged me for basic needs. You see the hurts of this world should anger us enough to do something about it. I must say though, that as I questioned God that day, I felt Him speak very loudly to me. “Sarah, I have you here to quench their thirst, so give them water until they thirst no more. Instead of seeing the injustice, see My heart and be My hands and feet to them today.”
As believers, we are to be the shadow of Christ. We are to be a reflection of Him to the world around us. The most unfortunate thing is much of the church is not being obedient to respond to the calling of those in need. We sit ever so comfortably seeing the needs and hurting people, but often don’t do anything about it. A Christian is supposed to be Christ like. He met the needs of those while He walked this earth and left us with the Great Commission.
To go a step further, believers and unbelievers alike sit on our high thrones blurting out accusations about God when we ourselves do nothing about the world’s situation. We act as if we have a better way or act so high and mighty that we say it’s God’s fault. It is not Gods fault, we are not all-knowing and all-seeing. We have no clue how many people God sends out to meet the needs of others. We can not see how many (like we almost did), that sense the call but don’t go. Instead of responding to the tug on our hearts to go, we have a list of oppositions or requirements vs responding to the needs of others. This summer, had we, as leaders, not heard the call placed on our high schools students hearts, or had we not believed, with their faith, that God would make a way; had we not lived as sacrificially as they did, to give of our summer, we would have missed the opportunity to quench the thirst of nearly 100 kids that day.
Had my uncle not ever faced cancer, he might not have ever known the joy of passionately pursuing the cross. Without that passion he might not have been in Nordstrom that day, nor had the ability to restore the faith of one who once believed. God knows what He is doing. Don’t think for one second that His heart does not break for those who have need, and even more so for all those who have been called in some way, shape or form, but never go. It is not an issue of God failing, but us failing to follow the call.
I have recently been so burdened to share this huge lesson that I have learned from this experience. My encouragement to you, dear reader, is to go out and make a difference today in one life. It doesn’t take big bucks, big faith or a big name. It takes a willingness of one to quench the thirst of those put daily in our paths.
The everlasting God, the Lord, The Creator of the ends of the earth, Neither faints nor is weary. HIS UNDERSTANDING IS UNSEARCHABLE . He gives POWER to the WEAK, And to those who have no might He increases strength.
And we, who with unveiled faces all reflect the Lord’s glory, are being transformed into his likeness with ever-increasing glory, which comes from the Lord, who is the Spirit.