It had been a busy day running from one end of the city to the other. Appointments from managing vacation rentals out on the island to phone calls scheduling our next Taking it to the Streets event. My mind felt scattered.
I knew I had an upcoming video interview lined up to talk about why I had become part of a church on the inner city of town and what prompted me to make that move. Needing a few moments to reflect, I sought solitude.
The memories flooded back.
The unfulfilled stirring in my soul leading up to the whisper of God calling me to new territory. The emotions of leaving the familiar behind. And wrestling with God over why he would call me to another location when my children were active and serving where we were. I wanted to be where they were watching them grow in their love for Jesus.
But God insisted this move was nothing about me, but yet about serving others. I knew He wanted my obedience although I had no idea what I was doing. This was not easy for me. Totally NOT easy!!
I remembered the first weeks, the first month and the first encounters I experienced in that community. It all wrecked me. It wrecked me then. And it still wrecks me to this day.
The video shoot.
I walked in ready. Well kind of — I don’t like cameras. Ok — I love my camera, but only when I’m behind the lens. I felt prepared and prayed up.
They began to talk about the questions they’d ask and from the pits of my soul I could feel emotion welling up. I began a silent prayer. It was actually more of a quiet begging that God would calm down these crazy emotions. I just needed to tell my story. Nobody needed to see this crying mess of a women break down on video. Nobody! And in the back of my mind I wondered why I was still so emotional after 5 years.
That silent pleading for dried up tears was working until the question was asked, “Tell us the difference between where you live and where you serve.”
I sat staring at the camera or the back wall or somewhere — it’s all a blur. I think my soul wanted to scream because I knew I couldn’t do that. There weren’t words! My inward silent begging was full throttle because that question shot through my soul and I could feel a tsunami of tears fixing to spring forth.
I opened my mouth to say something intelligent, I’m sure, but all that came out was a silent muttering. Words wouldn’t form and then it got ugly. Contorted face, big sloppy messy tears, and the absence of dictionary words that would make sense.
I couldn’t do it. I couldn’t tell them.
And I can’t tell you either.
As I write this the drops of tears form again. You see, I want to tell you. I want to tell you the stories. I want those stories to change your life like mine has been changed. I want to inspire you to step out and risk so others will know Jesus and the hope He gives. I want the perfect words to do all of that.
But I can’t.
Stories are great and learning from others is a blessing. But when that’s the only way you are hearing about the other side of the street (read my book Graffiti written with a homeless man) and what serving a messy world is all about then you miss out.
Not only do you miss out, but those needing to be served up a dose of encouragement and hope miss out too.
You have to come see.
There are some things that are just too miraculous and amazing to share with words. Dictionary words don’t do justice.
My words can’t adequately describe all the wrestling that has gone down while serving in a place I’m not familiar with. It’s not just the serving . . . it’s the emotions, thoughts, questions, and continual mourning of my soul of “Why, God, why? Why so much poverty? Why so much injustice?” It’s the things you do that you never would have done before. It’s about seeing poverty up close and personal and wrestling out the thoughts that come and tear you apart.
You see, you will never learn what you need to from a story I tell or from a missionary living elsewhere. You just won’t. Your heart might be stirred. But you won’t be changed.
Seeing changes you.
That’s why I continually ask you to come join me in serving in the inner city.
That’s why I long for you to join me in Guatemala. (Yes, there are still a few spots left – sign up here)
I want you to see. I want you to wrestle down your former way of living and thinking. I want you to be changed.
Then you will understand that there are some things that you wish you could talk about and tell, but you can’t. You will want to tell the stories, but you’ll realize those who haven’t been there won’t understand.
But you’ll surely see and know once you’ve seen that you have been changed!