My Lens –
So often I look at the world around me and only see things through my lens… My view of those around me is influenced by MY experiences, MY hurt, MY accomplishments, MY circumstances… This isn’t bad, God uses every part of us and our life experience to make us who we are; but rarely do I stop to reflect on what is going on around me and really try to see it through God’s lens. Not that I can even begin to understand God’s view–
“…(His) ways are higher than my ways and (His) thoughts are higher than my thoughts.” Isaiah 55:9
However, if I slow down enough, if I am quiet, if I wait expectantly, He is gracious enough to show me a glimpse.
Just Be –
During my recent trip to Project Canaan in Swaziland, Africa, I was able to sit in God’s majesty each morning and just be. I was able to experience extended time cut off from the hustle and bustle of our typical lives; cut off from email, social media, television, and texting. I was able to focus more on relationships and less on tasks and to-do lists. In the midst of this time of refreshing, I was able to see a glimmer of God’s bigger picture.
Because I live in America, I naturally view the world through a very “American lens”. I wasn’t prepared for how much God would challenge my view. I knew before visiting Project Canaan that the children who live there will grow up there. Many people said to me before leaving, “Don’t you think you want to bring a child home with you?” and every time I heard this comment, a part of me felt sad knowing that adoption can’t happen for these children.
Know Their Story –
A part of me felt sad thinking that these boys and girls will not grow up in a family. As I type these words, I feel foolish because I couldn’t have been more wrong. These kids have a mom and dad who LOVE them! I got to watch Janine & Ian (their legal guardians) interact with them and listen as they talked about each individual child. One thing Janine said stuck out to me, “I’m their mom–I feel like I should know their story.” And she does–which is a tall order with 143 kids (and counting!)
These kids have Aunties & Uncles who play with them, love on them, and speak to them in siSwati. They have teachers who are dedicated to giving them the best education possible while keeping their Swazi culture. Long and short-term volunteers push them on swings, blow bubbles, play tag, and more. These kids celebrate every birthday with a cake and singing. They spend their days in a loving, fun, safe, and structured environment. I can’t feel sorry for them… God has a plan for each of their lives and they are in the midst of living out that plan.
God Is At Work –
I expected to go to Africa and see extreme poverty and hunger. I did. But in the midst, I saw God’s redemption–literally, I saw how HE makes beauty from ashes. Beautiful, smiling, precious children that have been rescued from trash heaps/abandoned/left for dead. GOD IS AT WORK! He doesn’t need us to accomplish His work, but He lets us be a part of it. I was blessed to look into these sweet faces of HOPE and see God’s transformative power.
The problem with seeing the world through an “American lens” is that we feel sorry for others and often leave it at that. We take those sad feelings as a good sign that our conscience is working, but we don’t let those feelings lead us to action. We stay paralyzed because we are indecisive or afraid. The truth is, our “sad feelings” are often helping no-one. These precious children don’t need me to feel sad for them, they need me to be the hands and feet of Jesus–wherever I am! Whether that means a trip to Africa, selling ornaments, serving with Feed My Starving Children to pack manna packs, or inviting my neighbor to church. We all have choices to make every day–large and small. Make a choice to be JESUS!
Coming home is hard. It is hard to look through God’s lens and not be changed by that experience. My heart aches to be back in Africa. I wish I could take my family with me and live a slower life, but for now, I am here.
The best way I can honor the truths I have learned is to love others well, starting with my children. God has placed the children at Project Canaan in a loving home where they can be well cared for. God has placed my 4 kiddos in a loving home where they can be well cared for, and He picked ME to raise them. He chose ME to teach them how to live well and to love others. He picked ME to show them JESUS and to raise them in God’s word. Today in my weekly “mom tribe” bible study we came across a quote from missionary Jim Elliot that perfectly summed up what I was feeling,
“Wherever you are, be all there.”
Written by Kristina Gorsch