This post is not easy to write, but it’s been on my heart for many days now. I’ve only been here for a little over two weeks. But the Lord is stripping me clean. Some of you know that I was expecting these three months in Belize to be a shade of Hell. I knew God wanted me here, and I knew Satan did not. Both God and Satan have proved their agendas over and over. These months are a combination of God molding and making me, and Satan trying ever so intensely to thwart the process. It’s war.
Thankfully, God’s promises ALWAYS hold true. There is not one of them that fails, because if any part of God failed He would cease to be God. So when He says that He’ll give me strength to withstand temptation, He will. When He says that He will not give me more than I can handle, He won’t. His aim is not to make me miserable–it is to refine me and purify me with fire so that I am exactly who He wants me to be. His love is unending and unfathomable.
But the breaking? It hurts. It’s excruciating. I can’t even describe it. There are ways in which He’s breaking me that I never thought were even possible. Some of them I expected, but most of them are a surprise to me. The stripping of close friends started over a year ago, which I now see as being preparation for being here. Loneliness sinks deep and it hurts. Yet I’m learning to cry out to Jesus even more and talk with Him even more. Make Him my everything–beyond what I thought I knew.
The dirt and poverty and bugs… I didn’t think those things would be a means of breaking. But as I sleep on the couch with tiny bugs on the floor and sheet and geckos on the ceiling or on my neck and cockroaches that crawl out from no where, and huge spiders in the shower–these can make me crazy. And the sweat comes constantly; an ice-cold shower only helps for a few minutes, because the second I step out the sweating resumes. Why can’t it just be clean?
My question every day has been: How? How do you deal with four adopted girls under the age of 12 who don’t get along? How do you love them when they cry and scream and shriek and use infinite other means to tell you how hard their lives have been? How do you smile at and love people who don’t appreciate you or treat you kindly? How do you communicate with people who need help but don’t speak your language? How do you express how homesick you are in a foreign country and how all you want sometimes is to be back in the place you know?
How do you have joy in the pain of a broken people? How do you love people who yell at their children and get so easily angered? How do you praise the Lord when Satan is visibly so against you and earnestly seeking your destruction? How do you live for three months in a place you know you’ll never return to again–how do you build relationships and love the people and stay strong in spiritual warfare that you’ve never experienced before? And how do you desire the plans God has shown you when you’re not sure you’ll even survive the next two and a half months?
How do you go through a day that seems utterly pointless? How do you submit to things you don’t agree with–at all? How do you get past your own selfishness to cuddle and hug lice-ridden heads and sore-ridden bodies? How do you find the good in everything? How?
Jesus. Jesus, Jesus, Jesus. There is absolutely no other way. His strength is enough. He died to bring victory–He overcomes in ALL circumstances. His sacrifice gives victory over everything. I’m not writing this post as a pity-party or a means of drawing any attention to myself. I am sharing the realities, because I can’t sugar-coat them. I can’t ignore them. There is pain, yes–excruciating pain. But there is Jesus, who is always more than enough. I have to decide to not live by emotion and circumstances. Instead, I must live by faith. Living without faith is exactly what Satan wants me to do. Therefore, I must allow the Spirit to enter me and fill me with all riches, because He wants to. Oh, what a Savior!
Please pray. As you read this post, pray for the things God lays on your heart, whatever those may be. And thank you. Thank you for being faithful.