Saturday, June 18, 2011

*gulp* F-O-R-G-I-V-N-E-S-S and an IDOL

Welcome this day to a piece of my heart that has been open, wounded, sored and then calloused and then revived! Did I loose you, walk with me a bit.
When the chief and I came back from our first adoption of little Ruby. I was ruined, gloriously but ruined from what I saw in Ethiopia. No longer were theses photos on the other side of my computer screen. I had seen faces, touched hands, and the memory of these burnt me. For a few years I had lost touch with the world around me. I did not want to be in the world around me. The only thing I can compare it to is being in a war (I was never in a real war) but my Father was and when he came back from Vietnam it changed him to the core. My mother says that he slept with a knife under his pillow. He was disturbed, never to be the same again.
In our time in Ethiopia we went to a Mother Theresa's Mission of Charity hospital. We were the first group to travel with our agency and the coordinator in Ethiopia wanted to show us the clinic. We were game with that, I mean how bad can it be? We left our children at the transition home and went to town. We were dropped off at the hospital that was behind a closed gate. She (the agency coordinator) got out chatted with the hospital director a French Doctor and then told us she has errands to run. PAUSE. Have you been in Africa to run an errand, now I know this takes ALL DAY! :) The French Doctor took us on a hospital tour, the doctors and nurses here were all volunteer workers. Many young adults mostly from Europe, with gloves on, and compassion in their eyes. We began very quick to smell something familiar and disturbing. Injera bread and rotting flesh. I know nasty. I can never forget the smell. We entered the hospice ward where we thought the French doctor would just pass. We ENTERED IT. The beds were full, full of dying people with full blown AIDS, I had never seen a person with AIDS before, and then Leprosy. There were beds and beds. Most of us held our breath, the stench of it would literally knock you over. All the while trying to not hold our hands over our face or even grimace. We exited, and thought that with the look of shock on our faces we would not continue through the halls of hospice. We went through a corridor, thank goodness. Then this is what changed us for forever. We entered the children's Hospice room. A familiar feeling of loosing our son Hudson drew tears to my eyes and a great lump in my throat. A sudden shock to my knees I did not want to be here, I did not want to see this, remove me and do it fast oh please. A child came towards us with open sores covering her body. Fleshy sores, she held out her hands to me, the closer she got the more alarmed I grew. What is going to happen she will give me her leprosy, oh my good God! She came closer and I realized this child about 7 was blind. Her eyes were almost closed shut she did not stop. She touched me and I pulled her closer and so did another young girl on our team she was an American teenager in Ethiopia with her mom to pick up her siblings. Talk about life changing for this teen. There were more kids, with more leprosy all craving to be touched. My sense of freak out was super naturally calmed.
We walked into the building full of children in cribs, crippled, blind, lepers, I can not tell you that my body just standing because Christ was holding me. It was as if I walked right into the Gospels in the bible itself. I wanted to cry from the top of my lungs, "JESUS HEAL THEM, Take my life, take me, heal them!" I looked around at the other parents, forgetting I was in a room with other Americans. Not a dry eye, and no words. We just had no words. I asked the French doctors many questions about there care. How will they be saved, who will help them, can they be adopted. He answered me Many of these children will die, we are doing what we can to make them comfortable with what we have. No one will adopt them.
What felt like hours in this room was probably only 30 minutes then our ride was here. No one spoke, not a sound. It disturbed me for ever.
All that to say, when I came back to the United States, everything I did, said, were tinged through what I had saw. The little girls face would come up in my mind in normal day circumstances. When I went to Bible Study and moms would ask for prayers for there busy schedules to not be overwhelmed with life because they had to much going on,I wanted to vomit. When I was in a circle of women and we would chat about mundane life, and one of them would complain about needing more room in their house maybe a playroom and a quest room, I wanted to scream "WHO THE HELL CARES; DO YOU EVEN KNOW WHAT YOU HAVE YOU SPOILED BRAT!" I didn't yell it. But I just removed myself, I could no longer relate. It was a lonely place and I could only at that time relate to others like me who have been shaken into action.

Lets skip a few years to today. The Lord has been doing something in my heart that has been hugely hard. He has shown me how much a good thing can turn into an idol. Even if its a noble, amazing, humble, righteous, and completely selfless. I read this a few weeks ago from my friend Laura. Little by little the Lord had been showing me, that in my desire to seek less of those around me because I can not relate I have became unapproachable. I have also alienated many around me because I felt they have alienated me for being this person. In the forgiveness that I have to walk in each day just like my friend Amy speaks of here she also mentions how the forgiveness has taught her not to hold grudges. Grudges are easy to have when you feel righteous in your actions. The Lord had asked Chief and I to do something BIG that would shake the foundation of our being. Bringing our kids home we have done that. We have had many criticalness come our way, and that is very normal for others following a grand call like this. It would be way too easy otherwise right? Since when has the Lord been for Easy?! What stands to great love is the ability to love and forgive when the words have slayed you, or not holding it personal because it is His to take offense. I took offense greatly. This is the part where some major surgery is in the works.
I am still this person, this completely crazy passionate for orphan care, Africa, and the poor, chica. I will always be this girl. This lesson my great God is teaching me is not to become less of that person. Its to become more of Him through this passion, with love, with forgiveness, and not letting it take over my entire thinking, letting HIM take it over. It can, some days it does. Its okay to be knocked on the side of the head, most times very necessary! I wish everyone could have been there in Mothers Theresa that day, for perspective. It won't stop me from sharing, reaching, educating about orphan care when I can. Our family was chosen to be a walking testimony after all!
It does change my heart for others that don't share the same compassion. The grudges in my heart have become almost non-existent to where I am free to love. Only because of Him.Forgiveness has washed away my bitterness and with the Love that has helped me with that, I am hoping that others on the other side of that grudge would also walk in forgiveness towards my offenses towards them.


Timmy Rogers said...

Nice Blog.... I stole this... good stuff... Something I do everyday... Long Marathon - Peace Teabo Tribe... Timmy

Forgiving is a journey.

Some people suppose that you should be able to forgive everything in a single minute and be done with it. I think they are very wrong. God can forgive in the twinkling of an eye, but we are not God. Most of us need some time. Especially if the hurt went deep and the wrong was bad. So when you forgive, be patient with yourself.

When you decide to forgive you first make a baby step on the way to healing. And then you go on from there. You may be on the way for a long time before you finish the job. And you may backslide and need to forgive all over again.

I once was in a rage at a police officer in the village where I live for abusing my youngest son for no good reason. I stomped about my house for several days in a fury of anger at the officer. I knew I would be miserable unless I forgave him. But I did. I did forgive him. I forgave him by going into my study and getting on my knees, and saying, "Officer Maloney, I forgive you. In the name of God, I forgive you."

About a year later I saw this same office drive by in a patrol car and I had to do it all over again. Only it was easier the second time. Then, a few years later, I heard that he had been fired from the force for abusive conduct. Hearing that tasted sweet as honey to me. I secretly smacked my lips with vengeful satisfaction. Then I realized I needed to forgive him one more time. Which I did. And, who knows, I may have to do it a few more times before I’m over it.

Nobody but God is a real pro at forgiving. (LOVE THIS!! So TRUE!!!) We are amateur and bunglers. We cannot usually finish it the first time. So be patient with yourself. Make the first step. It will get you going and once on the way, you will never want to go back......

...And remember this: The first person who gets the benefit of forgiving is always the person who does the forgiving. When you forgive a person who wronged you, you set a prisoner free, and then you discover that the prisoner you set free is you. When you forgive, you walk hand in hand with the very God who forgives you everything for the sake of his Son. When you forgive, you heal the hurts you never should have felt in the first place.

Heckert's Highway said...

Beautiful Nat!! I love your heart, and appreciate all you had to say. We will never be the same after seeing all that we have. I'll be forever undone. And I wouldn't have it any other way. Hearts broken with the things that Break God's heart.

I love what Timmy wrote also, and it encouraged me in my journey of forgiveness. Thanks!


Sophie said...

This is a great post. Even though I haven't experienced what you've witnessed first hand, my heart has been forever changed by our adoption. I must admit sometimes I get consumed with the orphan crisis that I may loose touch with the realities at hand, and other times I feel like vomiting when I hear what people around me are bothered with.

I don't think it's necessarily a bad thing but I've realized I need to be forgiving of peoples hang ups because I was like them at one point in my life.

I love this post and I love your heart!

Timandem said...

Love your true-heart Natalie! You are awesome for being willing to keep going no matter! Yay, Christ in us, the hope of glory!!

Anna Sams said...

Wow... what a powerful story and a humbling story! I needed to read this today. I have been to Haiti on a mission and I am praying about going to Africa in the Spring for a medical mission... I love your blog... and I can't wait to read more! How amazing our God is and sooo glad I found you! Drop by our family blog when you get a chance.

Anna Sams

Murphy Momma said...

Nat, to this day I choke on those same tears I did back at Mother Teresa's. That little girls face haunts me and we never will be the same. It's so easy for all of us to disconnect here in light of what we've seen but God compassionately loves us as we try to gain a footing in both worlds. It's such a journey and I'm sure there are others who've experienced more horrible things who think I'm shallow and unconcerned. God's grace covers us all.

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Pray for sweet Abby Riggs!!