There are things people never tell you about entering a life in the mission field. There are moments and situations that are impossible to prepare for and you never know how you are going to react until you're facing it head-on.
Some days are inexplicably incredible. The moments you wish you could forever freeze in time to remember how truly beautiful creation and humanity can be.
Yet, there are equally as many, if not more days when you find yourself crying to sleep, being slapped in the face by issues and problems you thought were long since forgotten.
And there you are standing with only the bones of humility, which you have been stripped to.
This past week, Reimagine Haiti took in two new cases of severe malnutrition. Each of these children are infants, unable to walk, talk or do much of anything on their own. They are completely helpless prey to the savage beasts of hunger and disease.
As I've watched these two babies be nursed back to health over the last several days by their incredible mothers and our outstanding caretakers, I have been overcome by deep emotion. In observing the sheer devotion of each mother for her child and the countless hours spent to administer the care they need, I've not only been blown away by the continued breaking of stereotypes and assumptions made about parents in developing countries, but I've been faced with my own malnutrition.
My emotional and spiritual malnutrition.
Each child finds themselves in a life or death predicament. Without proper nutrition, medical care and attention, it is unlikely they will survive. Hence why they have been admitted in the Reimagine Haiti Malnutrition Center. But the main reason these children have an increased rate of survival, is because of the love of each of their mothers and their commitment to continue to fight.
Two mothers who have given everything they can to ensure that their child will be restored.
Two mothers who have lost weight, sleep and even seen a decline in their own health to be there every second their child cries out for help.
When you become a missionary, it is very easy for your identity to become wrapped up in the work you are doing and the assumptions people make about you. It's easy to forget how capable you are of making huge mistakes, saying the wrong thing, doing the wrong thing, forgetting important tasks and other normal mishaps that come with being a human.
You are automatically revered as someone of great character, humility and integrity. Ironically, that pedestal allows for some of the greatest moments of pride and self-exulatation.
Now more than ever am I aware of my weaknesses, my flaws and the areas in my life in dire need of maturity and wisdom.
When you prepare to embark on a life of going forth, you don't realize that with that comes with deep loneliness, episodes of anxiety, discouragement and doubt. You begin this journey thinking you are capable of doing anything, when really you can't do a single thing on your own.
Just like our precious babies, I daily need the love and guidance of my Father. I need my spirit to be fed and my heart and mind calmed by His truth and peace.
Somedays, all I can do is cry out to Him with painfully humbling words.
I am weak.
I am poor.
I'm broken, but Lord I'm Yours.
One of my favorite songs is "How He Loves" by singer/songwriter, John Mark McMillian. In this timeless song he writes about his personal realization of his own helplessness and disparity and how despite being completely undeserving of this furious love of the Creator, He is JEALOUS for us, with a love like a hurricane, drowning us all in a sea of His grace.
Yes missionaries have broken the mold of conventionality and mediocrity, but we are anything but perfect and blameless. We are all messy and broken individuals trying to figure this so-called life out and do it by serving God and following a call we believe in.
Every day I have to wake up and ask God to show me how to do this. How to accomplish whatever it is He has ultimately sent me here for. And how to do without making 7500 mistakes in a day.
Most days I can't help but be sheerly overwhelmed by how great His affections are for me. How He truly knows my every need. How I can feel His arms of love, wrapping around me as I sit at my computer and spontaneously burst into tears. How even though I find myself frustrated by the battles with issues I thought I long-since overcame, He is there loving me all the more.
Many people in Haiti would encourage the mothers currently in our clinic to abandon their babies, seeing as the sickly children are only added burdens to the already painstakingly difficult lives they lead. But no, these mothers have chosen the narrow path. They have chosen to give all and unrelentingly fight for the health and survival of their precious little ones.
And as I write this, tears flood into my eyes with the realization that this is what my Father has done for me. So many times He could have given up on me. So many times He could have left me alone to figure it out all my own and to suffocate under my filth and shame.
But oh, how He loves us.
He didn't give up on me and now my life gets to be a love song in reverence and adoration of His unfailing love, undying devotion and amazing grace.
Just as baby Michael and Betsy will be testimonies of their mothers' love and the support and care of the staff of the Reimagine Haiti Malnutrition Center.
If grace is an ocean, we're all sinking.