Wrestling to get Ready

Missed the "T" but a plate decorated at Canaan Christmas Party 2010

Winter always surprises me. It rushes in with a whir and retreats just as quickly. One day we will enjoy a cool but “no coat” kind of day, and the next the bitter north wind stings, seeps to the bones in our humid Southern air.

As winter takes its turn outside today, I sit warm in the place God has given me---because all is from him.

I don’t deserve this comfort with every convenience of the modern age. I have already put the second load of laundry in the washer. Soon the warm first load will tumble out of the dryer and I can fold up fresh, clean clothes washed in clean water with no effort from me. The dishwasher was filled last night and awaits an unloading to fill cupboards and drawers with plates and utensils that held a simple Sunday night supper after an afternoon of decorating for Christmas.

I sit here on this laptop writing words. Clicking away, I write down my thoughts, correcting my mistakes with a backstroke. Highlighting, rearranging, erasing, re-thinking what I will share today about a life that longs to bring glory to God but feels so small in this great big world.

I think of women who won’t wash clothes today because water is for drinking, and they won’t wash dishes because there isn’t food to fill them. This day I know I am rich, but my heart is thinking of the poor.

In a couple of weeks, I will leave winter behind to go to Haiti to celebrate Christmas with the kids at Canaan Community. I will load up with eleven other people to go to the poor, the orphaned and I try to prepare my heart because I know that I cannot give them enough or change the fact that they don’t have parents. I go realizing Haiti is a place that faces a long road to find a way out of its distinction as the most impoverished place in this hemisphere. How will a week spent with them help them? What is God up to? This question hangs on the edge of my heart as the days draw closer to our time to go.

So this morning, I started a packing list:

rubber gloves
work gloves
steno pad
contact lens
***find the little Bible
***borrow a hiking backpack

I wonder if it is possible. Can I prepare my heart?

Yes and no.

I can pray and know that there is purpose in all things, even God sending me to children whose lives I can touch for a week. So amazing that He has chosen me to be a vessel of love to the poor even though I am rich. But can I really be prepared for what the reality is for these children that I will share life with for a little moment in time? I am preparing to be flexible and to be amazed.

Like Jesus, I must become poor. He left heavenly riches, laid glory down, to become poor, to be acquainted with our poverty of spirit, his image-bearers lost in the devastation of sin. Sin is the worst sort of poverty. Yet he did not sin, but he took the penalty of it---death for sins, life for sinners--the great exchange.

If I am to become poor before I go to these who have so little on this earth, then I must repent of my sin---for the anxiety I felt because one strand of lights on the Christmas tree went out, and the annoyance that the clothes are beeping to be folded while I sit and write. And I growled under my breath that I need to write another list for groceries----the kind of list those children in Haiti most likely will never have an opportunity to write. Jesus died for my lack of joy in the gifts of this life. Is this not the sin that weighs heavy this morning? The fact is that I am so easily irritated by the very obvious blessings of my life. And last week, I was "thanks-living?" Who do I think I am?

The enemy crouches at the door waiting for an opportunity to strike a blow. He hisses, “Who do you think you are--- you the American Dream Come True, serving the poor is to serve yourself. You do this so you can feel like you are doing something! What you do won’t really matter!”

I heard the accusation but I won’t bite. I don’t believe that lie---I don’t and I won't!

I am a sinner saved by grace. I was placed here in this time and this place for the purposes of God. Each day I seek to love him and give my life to his service. I am not here by chance. My circumstances were known before my first taste of earth air. I go to the poor not because I am rich, but because I am called. I pray I will be a blessing and that I will learn the lessons of the Teacher on my journey of preparation and on the mission. When I return, I trust I will have become more like the Savior who gave up rich to be poor for me.

I wrestle today to get ready.

He says, “Whom will I send?”

"Oh my Lord, send me.”

Today I join Ann in Counting Graces:

Thank you Lord for:

- Laundry in machines
- Clean dishes
- Lists
- Opportunities to serve here and there
- For battles won in heavenly places
- For laying down your riches to take my sin
- For the incredible life that comes from knowing You
- For the works beforehand that I should walk in them


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