You can read how I came to be living in the mountains above Port Au Prince again here.
I came back to GLA this spring when I found myself in a situation that I needed to distance myself from quickly. I desperately needed a place to go home to and I knew there was only one place in this foreign land where I would find that. There are absolutely no words to express how humbled and thankful I am over how I was received. The entire staff graciously opened their lives and hearts to my daughter and I and gave us a place to call home. More importantly they gave me people to call family while my own was so far away. I cannot imagine what my life would look like today if I didn’t have these people supporting, loving and encouraging me.
Last November I came to GLA for a Thanksgiving visit. It was my first trip back after almost 2 years in Leogane. Driving up the mountain road a longing in my heart began to grow. I realized just how much like home this felt to me, how good it felt to be here. I pushed fought myself against feeling too much, instead listening in rapt attention as the devil whispered lies into my ear. He told me that if I wanted to serve God it had to be painful, it had to be full of hardship, loneliness and discomfort. Stupidly I bought into his lies, I thought that not having electricity or consistent running water or a single friend to turn to, meant I must be doing His will. Suffering for Jesus, you know.
Even after God called me back and I moved here, I continued to fight those feelings of guilt. It shouldn’t be this beautiful to be his servant. It shouldn’t be this filled with joy, all those blessings must be a mistake, or maybe a test. The lies swarmed in my mind and captured my heart until I had no choice but to cry out for The Truth. Searching His promises, I found myself enveloped in a sense of joy and peace. Did you know that the very God who created the universe, created you and I with longings, hopes and desires? He planted them in our hearts, sewed them into our souls while He knit us together in that secret place. Did you know that He longs to give us the desires that He planted in our hearts? Did you know that He loves when we come together with others in fellowship and worship of Him? Did you know that it’s not a sin to enjoy little comforts of life? I can honestly say that I did not believe those promises until I searched them with an broken and weary heart. Until I closed my ears to the lies and soaked myself in His word. Now I believe, wholeheartedly that goodness and joy are what He offers His children.
My 6 months here have taught me that goodness and joy do not mean a life devoid of sorrow and hard things. Babies are still dying, children are still starving, families are still broken by poverty. I grieve over it, I am broken to it. Some days it fills every one of my physical senses. I still look at this place and in the same breath exclaim the beauty of His creation and the longing for His return. This world and especially this country is a hard and hurting place. I see it with every turn of my head, but I can go on because I am filled with a joy that I once heard about but never felt. A joy that is not dependent on how happy I feel or how discouraged I am. A joy that does not grow and waver in my circumstances.
I have been depressed, clinically depressed and medicated for that depression. I believe that depression was real. I believe it was a chemical imbalance in my body that needed to be fixed with modern medicine. Those days were dark and hard. So hard! They were days of purposelessness and wandering, full of self pity and self loathing. When my medication started to work and the fog lifted I felt like a new person. Like I could face the day, that I could crawl out of bed before noon, like I could handle a shower and clothes other than sweatpants. I felt like a “normal” person again. I didn’t, however, feel joy. I felt ok, I felt happy but that deep down in my heart joy, I hadn’t found that yet.
So slowly that I didn’t even notice it happening that peace and joy began to overtake my heart. As I starting setting aside, even the tiniest amount of time each morning for a short devotion, as I started to sing songs of praise in a place where 2 or more were gathered. As I felt his presence fill up my senses it happened. In the past 6 months my grown up faith has matured in ways I am still only discovering. This is not the faith of my Dad or my Grandpa, it’s not the faith that my mother told me about when I was a little girl. It’s not the faith of Sunday School class or even church services as a young adult. This radical, life filling and joy giving faith is mine. It’s in my heart, it’s overtaking my life. It’s incredible.
I am not saying that this change happened because I moved back into this house. This was a divine work of God, He didn’t need this building, this city or even these people to set His choosing on me. He didn’t need anything but for me to open my heart and accept it. To let his awesomeness fill my day to day life. I believe that He chose to bless me with these comforts and friends in order to remind me of His promises, how much He cares about my human heart.
In those promises and in His joy I have found myself with desires and dreams met. Those longings that He created in my inmost being well on their way to being fulfilled.
God wants me to have a family to support me. Here in this place I have a group of friends, sweet sisters and brothers, who make up something unlike any human relationship that I have ever known before. We all make our home in a place that is a foreign land. We live and eat and work and worship together. We grieve together, celebrate together, annoy each other and do our best to bless each other. We grow together in our Savior’s love and we encourage each other when one is slipping. It’s not the family with whom I spent my childhood but it is the family where I have grown in, from a child into an adult. These are the ones who watched me learn how to be a mother, graciously accepted the mistakes I made along the way and encouraged me when I felt like I was doing everything wrong. They are the ones who knock on my door and ask if they can take her for a while and give me a break. They are the ones who have allowed me to be the mama I want to be because I don’t have to do it alone!
Seriously, these friends are incredible…
I can’t wait to tell you how my Beautiful and Gracious God has written this story, bringing together all the desires of my heart while blessing me with the family that I was longing for. I can’t wait to show you what He is doing next in this weak but willing heart of mine.