Thursday, January 26, 2012

Falling Sky

Several months ago I sat in church one Sunday morning and listened to our church's mission team coordinator talk about her trip to Medellin and Bogota in Colombia just weeks before. She talked about many things, both good and bad, but of them all I can only recall the story of heroin addiction and other abuse among children as young as six years old. As she talked my eyes filled with tears and I could see nothing in my mind except my own six year old son, accompanied by the image of a grown man or woman injecting a narcotic filled needle into his precious arm. I quietly began to sob as I sat in my chair and listened to her speak. I wanted to go get my son out of the childcare room and wrap him in my arms, but I wasn't able to move from my seat yet. Little did I know at the time, God was keeping me there to hear every word for a purpose. I kept listening, and as I did I saw more clearly than ever my son's face, but I didn't see it as it is everyday. I saw it as one of the children's faces over in Colombia that was being described from the front of the church. In my mind, he was bruised, battered, addicted, and recruited into a life of crime as a child soldier. He had a bomb strapped to his chest and was sent to be killed as the bomb he wore killed those around him. With just the right amount of heroin flowing through his veins, he did as his recruiters instructed and without arguing. Moments after following orders, his life exploded. This was the horrific image I saw as I listened to our mission team coordinator describe this lifestyle for kids my own son's age, and this is when my heart shattered and my sky fell.

The image of children recruited into drug addiction and violence is enough to make anyone sick, but until I pictured my own son's face as one of the children being used and abused in this manner, I had never been so ill that I was willing to get involved beyond an online donation to some charitable cause. But this time was different. As I heard more of the message, I pushed back the building vomit in my throat and continued in my quiet but increasingly uncontrollable sobs. I silently screamed to God to "make it stop" but none of my pleading was strong enough to force the images out of my head. I wanted nothing more than to get outside of myself and my own thoughts, so I sat the remaining church service out in the fellowship hall and tried to pull myself together, but it was too late. My son's face as one of the abused was seared into my mind and heart and when I tried to push the images out, I only cried more. Barely able to stand under the weight of the visuals in my head, I sobbed until I couldn't sob anymore. Several people walking by asked if I was okay, but I couldn't even put into words how I felt. I could barely speak. I left church that day with an anchor to Colombia on my heart and a new overflow of love for my own son but until recently I didn't know just how invested I would become in the future of the Colombian children.

A few weeks later, we had a guest speaker from the church in Colombia and as she talked about the love of God for children, I knew what I had to do. During the service and with tears in my eyes, I leaned over and whispered to my husband that I wanted to go on the next mission trip. To follow it up I approached our team's coordinator in prayer about it after service and left with an application in hand. Within 24 hours I had completed the application and was ready to turn it back in, but once I did I let the whole thing go. I stopped thinking about it and moved on to what God was doing in my life in the here and now. I became so busy working on other things in God's ministry that I scarcely gave the trip another thought. "Well, if God wants me to go, He'll reveal that along the way," was how I left it, and until I attended my first discipleship orientation meeting last Sunday, I don't know if I ever believed He really planned to send me - but now I know.

I woke up from a nap Sunday evening and as I lay there, it hit me like a ton of bricks. I'm really going on this mission trip to Colombia, but "God, how did I get here?" I whispered as I tried to wake up. Suddenly, what had been a month long process, felt as though it had all happened overnight. I couldn't remember how I wound up applying to go, when I was accepted, or what made me apply in the first place. I began to panic. Thoughts of leaving my son for two weeks made my eyes well with tears, my heart break all over again, and my sky once again fall. "God, I don't think I can go," I slowly retreated, and with that I entered a back door to hell. The next two days were spent battling satan as he infused my mind with fear, doubt, and mistrust. I cried over and over again as I envisioned leaving my child and never seeing him again and him never seeing me again, because "what if?" God's Word promises me a future of good plans (Jeremiah 29:11), but only a fool would deny that bad things happen to God fearing Christians who truly love the Lord, and with that thought satan had the stronger hold on my mind - but not for long. I began asking God for confirmation of a plan that I was beginning to hope wasn't His. "God, I'll just send money or books, or supplies, but keep me here with my son," is very much the type of thought that started to spread throughout my mind, but as quickly as I asked for confirmation of His will, He began confirming. Suddenly, my receptors went momentarily on overload because He began pouring in affirmation quicker than I could document it, and because of His faithfulness, the place in my head where my doubts and fears once ran wild, His peace and joy have since moved in.

It's not that I don't still have moments where fear tries to creep in, but as I fight the fears with the sword of His Spirit (Ephesians 6:17) I am cleansed and renewed in His strength. What I fear more than anything is telling the God of the universe "no" when He has told me to go. Can you imagine? If God stood before you in this moment and told you to do something that you didn't want to do, would you really tell Him no? Or is He not that real to you? Not so long ago I made a commitment to the Lord and told Him I would do whatever He asked and go wherever He told me to go. On what ground, shaky or firm, would my commitment to Him be if I now changed my mind? "Sorry, God, but I only meant that I would serve you when it didn't involve risk" is not commitment to God, nor would my heart be right with Him if I chose to stay after He clearly revealed that He wanted me to go. Be careful when you make a promise to God because He will show you just how committed you are and humble you to your knees if you proclaim your love for Him but then refuse to follow Him. It's not an easy walk, but it is worth it, and it has taken this entire week, but He has finally brought me full circle and I trust Him completely and I'm ready to go. He has a very specific reason and purpose for sending me to Colombia, and only after I go will I know what that purpose is, but what we can't forget are those moments where our sky falls and God allows our hearts to be broken for what breaks His. My sky fell and my heart broke when I listened to the stories of Colombian children as young as six years old being injected with heroin so they can be used as human shields. In their stories, I saw the possibility of my own son's face. I have my son, and he's safe and healthy, but if he weren't - would you come to help me? We have to learn to personalize the atrocities others are facing or else we'll never get involved to make a difference, and if we're not getting involved, how will change come? To let someone else "take care of it" isn't good enough when we're capable ourselves. Let your sky fall and the world as you know it change for God's purposes, for once you do, a new, brighter sky will appear to you. Your falling sky isn't the end; it's just the beginning. Oliver Wendell Holmes Jr. said that "A mind that is stretched by a new experience can never go back to its old dimensions," and it is my sincerest hope that as I experience the upcoming weeks of spiritual warfare and mind stretching leading to my team's departure, that you'll all partner with me in prayer that God's will be done, both in my life and in the lives of those we minister to in Colombia. If you are interested in making a donation to help fund my trip, please click on the "Donate" button on the homepage of this blog.

"Give justice to the poor and the orphan; uphold the rights of the oppressed and destitute." - Psalm 82:3
It is not enough to pray for God to send someone else to rescue the oppressed when you are very capable. What if God has already chosen you and He's waiting on you to decide if you want to help? What if your impact could prevent even more people from being taken advantage of? Wouldn't that be a remarkable legacy if you could make a difference, even if it was only in one person's life??" - -Taken from a Daily Devotional

"Have I not commanded you? Be strong and courageous. Do not be afraid; do not be discouraged, for the LORD your God will be with you wherever you go." - Joshua 1:9

You Tube Video taken from

Falling Sky Photo taken from

Colombia Photo taken from

1 comment:

  1. May The Lord richly bless and protect oy, provide all your needs and guide you in accordance with His holy purpose for your life as you pour out His Love and Grace to those who need rescue. PJ