I met a woman in Uganda. Her name is Peace. A tall woman who speaks four languages, has a college degree, teaches teenagers and gives her time as a donation to Compassion every week. A learned woman, Peace has chosen a path many in the USA would say is beneath her. She’s chosen to help those without, giving them tools of education instead of a high paying job for herself.
Peace was born into a turbulent household. Her childhood was filled with wounding and angst. Instead of allowing the circumstances to control her outcome, Peace chose to fight her way to freedom. That fight took a different look when as a teenager she met her God.
She learned about true peace and worth in her King. Peace found that beauty did indeed come from ashes and her worth, her value was not in what other’s thought but in her very essence; SHE was the CHILD of the King of Kings.
As I hugged Peace good bye, we shared our stories arm in arm. Our tears blended as I heard the hard words of her life. As she spoke, I was overcome with deep shame.
I had arrived with my therapy, my words, my heart ready to encourage. I walked away from that day instead shaken to the core that I had so much to learn about my worth and my place with MY GOD. Through a story told in a tearful embrace, my heart was touched in deep places I’ve not wanted to venture towards. I saw my selfishness and desire to have everything in my control before I am willing to reach out and help others.
Peace has 3 biological children and 5 soon to be 8 adopted children. She breathed to me as we said good bye, “Pray for me. There are three Sudanese refugee children who need a home. Pray that we will know if we should bring them to our home.”
Her prayer was not about the impact these children would have on her marriage. It was not about the emotional terror that might run rampant in their home because of these children’s deep wounds. Her prayer was not about the medication and therapies they’d need to seek. It was not even about where they would sleep. It was a simple prayer. “We don’t have enough food. God will provide. Pray we will believe that.”
That is when my shame arrived. I was deeply convicted that everything I do is prefaced with “how will this affect me?” In our North American country, we are selfish. Why do you think there is no toilet paper currently available anywhere? We think about OURSELVES well before we think of others.
Living in a world of less material things and more people, Peace has allowed her circumstances to create wide open spaces in her heart. Instead of closing in on herself, she’s opened her heart to embrace more pain and more people.
I sit here at my kitchen counter, surrounded by COVID-19 alarm and near hysteria. I did not buy toilet paper and we are about to run out. I have Kari Jobe on Alexa reminding me of God’s promises. I am deeply humbled by the privilege I had, two weeks ago, to meet Peace. I am reminded today that God does not allow us to handle more than we can bear. BUT he also gives us more than we think we can bear because he knows we can handle it.
It is my choice. It is your choice. What do we do when faced with hard things? Or do we turn inside and self medicate? Do we try to fix all our problems ourselves, relying on OUR resources and OUR plans to make it all better?
Perhaps like me, you needed a reminder today that we aren’t in control of our lives. Instead, the lion that is seemingly ready to attack is actually just a mirror for the whirling control and panic inside you. Instead of charging forward with all your weapons, take a minute to sit quietly, meditate on PEACE and HOPE that at the end of the day, all things do work out for GOOD. That journey can be very long. The valleys can be deep and uncomfortable. BUT hold on, breath and let go.