Tuesday, July 23, 2013

On Celebrating 4 Years of Mercy!

Lives transformed, hope restored. 

That is their slogan.

God's unfathomable grace in my life testifies that He can indeed transform and restore, even for the one convinced her mess is beyond the sacrifice made on the cross. 

I find myself today, sitting on this hard mattress, mosquito net encamped around me, gazing out over little brown bodies running with bat and ball, cows grazing quite contentedly amidst the trash, and the rooster squawking away at the most unaccounted intervals. This place is colorful and confused, as millions of gods are plastered across most buildings covered in the bright brilliance of turquoise and purple and orange. The government turns off the power pretty much whenever they feel like it and in those hours and days, life becomes far more simple. I love these people too much to leave. And in spite of it all, God is at work in this place.

How in the world did I end up here? I cannot wrap this finite mind around such infinite grace [apart from which I am still that girl, bound and broken].

Today, I am in the middle of nowhere India and all I have is the gospel that says Christ saves and frees us captives. When I walked out of the doors of Mercy Ministries four years ago today, I never imagined this is where the Lord would bring me. Or that He really did that—bound up the captives and proclaimed liberty to the prisoners. Like forever. 

But I promise you, He does. And we need it on both sides of the world.

What a blessing to reflect upon these past four years [and even the dark ones prior] from half-way across the world in a place that the holy spirit is very much alive and the gospel very much in demand.

I actually completely forgot the four years had come and gone. It wasn’t until my teammate randomly had on my i-pod and listened to my Mercy graduation recording that I thought about it.

As I listen to graduation day, I am so incredibly thankful for the staff and my mercy sisters. I am thankful that Jesus grabbed a hold of my heart in those months and that I have not had to spend a day apart from Him since. I am also glad they didn’t make it easy for me to leave, during that very first week after I decided I didn’t want to be at Mercy [after hundreds of people had prayed me into those doors, of course].

Graduation Day [July 24, 2009

A Day In India [July 24, 2013]
God had me at Mercy for a purpose far exceeding anything I could have ever asked or imagined at the time. Like literally, I was just so hopeless and consumed by my eating disorder and abuse and kingdom of self that I didn’t even know [or care] what day of the week it was, more or less the significance of “those plans I have for you.”

I had a plan—death.

As I stood behind the pulpit (to give testimony) yesterday, no shoes on my feet and a saree wrapped around my body with my back exposed, my eyes filled to brim as I glance out over all of my brown-skinned sisters and brothers, the brokenness and the hope in the their eyes. I told them how I ran after death in pursuit of filling up the hole deep inside and how that race led me straight to the bottle of pills. I told them how God saved my body from destruction that night and how it could only have been Him alone. A few stood and all cried out praise to His holy name. I had to breathe deep just then, as even I could not praise Him enough for such a life lived in and through His grace alone.

Don't worry, sisters, I am so far from perfect I wouldn't know it if it hit me on the head! I still wrestle plenty. The lies consume here and there, and it's real. Like the way I haven't had a fresh vegetable in a month and the men that view me as a commodity to be used every time I step out in public. India presents all kinds of new challenges and I cry a lot. But I know there is a way out. I can always choose life. That kind of hope is something I never had before.

And so, four years later I love Jesus more. I know His word more intimately and I need it more then I ever knew. [After all, no matter how hard I try, I do NOT have it all together!] I am more of a hot mess then I was then, but His grace, well, it covers that too. My sin is continually being revealed and I just keep thinking one of these days He will give me a break! I guess it will all come, when we see His face, yeah?

At Mercy Ministries, I fell in love with Jesus and He continues to guide me in this messy life on earth. I have reason to rejoice, hope and testify--only because of Him. I long for the day when He makes all thins new, and yet in the meantime I am so incredibly thankful for a life that is no longer consumed in myself, a life where I have the option to choose life over death. An option to share it with others consumed by death too.

Without my time at Mercy, I am quite certain I would not be on the other side of the world, burdened for needs and confusion of this broken nation. Without the Jesus I came to know through my time at Mercy, I don’t think I would be alive today.

(Thank you to those faithful women of God who serve with this ministry. Each of you have imparted wisdom into my life that still impacts my walk with the Lord today. And of course, my family and friends still on this journey with me--I am so thankful for you. Mercy sisters, we are blessed and I pray each of you would know His grace is sufficient [so boast all the more gladly in your weaknesses] today!)
Sarah, so thankful for you!!! 

And if you feel like reminiscing with me...

On Celebrating 3 Years of Mercy! [Mercy sisters and sister in need of Mercy, this one is for you!]

On Celebrating 2 Years of Mercy!


Sunday, July 14, 2013

When All I Have is Love [India]

We sat in that little living room for hours, it had to have been. This was the first home we had visited where the conversation was fluent, minor a few snags in pronunciation of course. He is the dad to two boys attending the school where we teach, and his own duties of research and school inspection and teaching English qualify him to communicate well. His dreams of studying in America came to life in our midst, and upon the discovery Syd’s dad is indeed a teacher his grin could not stretch itself far enough. It won’t surprise me when he calls Sydney’s dad, asking for the job.

They fed us salty cake and when we’d had our fill, more cake appeared. We drank sprite and later on some Chai. We laughed a lot. And yet there was a grieving stirred inside too. This day off for us from teaching at the school was a celebration of just one of the millions of God’s worshiped by our Hindi friends; and this family had been completely sold into the deception with no glance back.

As he gawked at us, mouth open wide, when we explained that our parents are not married, our moms are re-married, our siblings are also a more complicated web to explain than English meeting Hindi can make sense of. 

Does your dad love you, sister? He kept asking, as he couldn’t reconcile the love of a man defined by leaving our moms and not supporting us completely until marriage. And in the moment, we assured him of our parents love for us, despite brokenness. But I won't forget his words. We told him that we hope to offer a different legacy to our future kids. We explained that because of Christ in our lives, there is much love we hope to offer. He nodded and smiled, yes sister, I think you will. 

Thank you friends, for your prayers. 

Saturday, July 6, 2013

In Which I Am in India

A year ago I remember writing about the colors covering up the dirtiness of this bustling city in the heart of this nation that I love. I remember being captivated by them, in fact. I remember the beauty of the women and the promises of God to bring redemption to these people being so near to my heart, an undeniable really.

This time though, I am met with a darkness behind the colors and I feel it lingering tonight, feasting away at the light inside of me.

It’s obvious in the men that gawk and smirk my way, as if a quiet message of my belonging to them or something. Not as evident perhaps, but I see it in the women scampering along the street edges with their eyes down, quiet and out of the way. I recognize it in the little boys on either side of our taxi uttering pleas that transcend language with fingers outstretched.

Sometimes, it’s too much and sometimes I need to remember I cannot save the world—nor is it my job.

We took a walk just several blocks out from our hotel last night. It felt safe and these legs were begging to move, these eyes hungry to see. There are so many people on just this little street in this one small area of this one huge city in this growing nation. We’d made it several blocks before I saw them ahead.

Continued over here on our India Blog...