Sunday, November 25, 2012

How Blessed Are You?

I've been back from Haiti for about two weeks now. Although this is difficult for me, I can't put it off any longer. I've had time to digest and reflect and now I must react. God used me for His purpose and I have to admit that if I've learned nothing from my failed marriage...I've learned to be very careful what you wish for because you may very well get it. When I happened upon Isaiah 6:8, I claimed it as my own solemn prayer and I raised my hand to God and wholeheartedly volunteered. It was the least I could do after walking in sin for over 40 years without Him.

And just as I typed that last sentence, it brings me to tears because He was with me. He saw everything I did and heard everything I said and thought...again, tears. What enormous shame when I first realized that. How blessed are we that with repentance comes grace and forgiveness?

*Disclaimer: Before I begin to share my journey remember that I am in the flesh and with that comes imperfections and oftentimes ignorance.

When I first arrived in Haiti, my excitement quickly turned into attitude adjustment, personal opinion and a certain degree of fear. It is a bit overwhelming spending a week with people when the majority don't speak "your language."

And as I typed "that" last sentence I just had an epiphany: While I was looking at "them" it never occurred to me what they possibly thought of me. "Did the on lookers think that we were spoiled, self righteous and somewhat judgmental with our obvious stares?"

To continue: There were two separate but very heated arguments in the airport, both in French. The cop in me was wondering if anyone had a gun, completely forgetting we'd just past through the security booth. Well, what they call airport security.

In addition to that, there were men dressed in red shirts that did not work for the airport but were desperate to carry our luggage. In their culture, if they touch your luggage, with or without your consent, they were expecting payment. It was quite intense.

After finally making it to the School bus/Shuttle bus...which was also the Church van and our taxi for the next week, I was certainly wondering inside my head about the date of it's last vehicle inspection. (Just being honest)

The ride to the hotel was about three hours and one by one, we began to undress ourselves. Beneath the layers of knitted scarfs, hats, tights and down coats, we started to resemble clothing that coincided with their current climate.

The sights were completely jaw dropping. Tents were everywhere. My eyes could not grasp the living conditions, my nose could not discount the smell and my heart could not believe that God was there in the midst of that "mess." Did I mention that tents were everywhere? Instead of apartments, town homes and housing developments; there were villages and villages of tents. No kitchen and no bathrooms. Just tents as far as the eye could see. In addition to that, there were shacks and tepees.

I surrendered my life to Christ over four years ago and because I live "here" and because "my" journey is unlike anyone else's, (each one being unique) I never questioned God. I was only grateful that He waited for me and that He "saved" me.

While riding the bus and observing thousands of tent homes, I questioned God. Immediately after I questioned Him, the Holy Spirit said, "It's not God, it's the Government. Soon after I heard that, I looked up and felt the presence of peace. He was there and He did care. The sky was amazing. The sun was bright and warm as ever and the mountains were similar to the ones I'd just seen in my recent trip to Alaska...BREATHTAKING!

*Note to self: At some point in our lives, we will doubt God. When that happens, stop what you're doing and look up. He cares. In the midst of death and destruction...He cares.

IF and only if the Government, We as Believers and the non-believers would love one another as Christ loves us...there would be troubles, but together, WE would overcome them and overtime restore homes, hunger and heartache.

If the majority does nothing then the minority receives nothing. If the majority lives in his/her selfish little go to bed hungry. As we eat until our heart's content and then throw away the rest, kids go to bed hungry.

I was NOT a believer in tithing because I had no personal relationship with God. When I did speak with Him, I asked for "stuff" but gave Him NOTHING in return. Once I received His gift of Salvation, I let Him into my heart, my life and my bank account. It's true, HE does increase your finances when you take your focus off of money. I am living proof!

It cost $106 a year for a child to attend school in Haiti and it cost $20 a month for a child to have a plate of beans and rice three times a week. Yes, they eat on Monday, Wednesday and Fridays at the local Church. Exhale and continue.

The Father blesses us so that we will bless others. The paycheck, tax returns and discretionary income is not so we can "have" the things we's so that we can take care of our "bare essentials" and then see where can we help and who can we help.

What I'm about to say is not to boast, it's to Glorify God. To show you how mighty the Father is. I used to hold tight to "my money" fearing that no one would take care of me and my children in a time of crisis. Note: A crisis never came...but I kept "anticipating" one and wanted to be prepared.

After my salvation and over time, I began to release the money I held so tightly. I donate to my favorite Pastor's ministry, Dr. Charles Stanley, I donate to the Central Union Mission, The Calvary Women's Shelter and the Water Well project. I also support a little boy named Sunny in India and while in Haiti, volunteered to send a 12 year girl to school. Her name is Lady and she has dreams of becoming a lawyer.

In the midst of all that, God provides me for daily. I spend way more than I should on coffee and eating out, but I balance that with not going to the mall. I've never been one of those people. Some people go to the mall not needing anything, but are either filling a void by shopping or have become entitled to having "stuff." Not judging, just saying...

God will meet our every need. Specifically, when you make a wholehearted attempt to meet the needs of others. I don't know about you, but when I get to heaven and see MY Savior face to face, I long to hear, "Well Done my good and faithful servant."

I cannot imagine hearing, "Depart from me, I never knew you." Sadly, a lot of people will hear those very words and a lot of people could care less because they don't BELIEVE in Him.

Allow your heart to mediate on ways you can serve (with time and/or money). The end of all things is near. Therefore, be alert and of sober mind so that you may pray. Above ALL, love one another deeply, because LOVE covers a multitude of sins. (1st Peter 4:7-8)

While in Haiti, the below scripture is what God revealed to me in my hotel room. I was crying out to Him during my morning devotion:

Isaiah 61:1
"The Spirit of the Sovereign Lord is on me, because the Lord has anointed me to preach good news to the poor. He has sent me to bind up the brokenhearted..."

Myself along with 9 other Volunteers Praised and Worshipped God in the presence of strong, courageous, faithful and loving Haitian Believers. The hugs and smiles were unbelievable. You felt like you were hugging members of your extended family. ALL their hope is in Christ and you could feel it, see it and hear it. The singing and dancing touched me down to the marrow. I was embarrassed to be exhausted from Praising God. It was physically draining. I kept telling myself, "Look at them rejoicing with all their might. You better not sit down." Lol



A Lady's Life said...

Haiti is a terrible situation.
They received so much aid money and the people got nothing but another storm.
Seems that side of the island gets the worst of it. Short of being there and giving a person directly from your hand to his, don't expect much help for these people. I think maybe the government doesn't want to use the money because it is a waste. The moment you build, Mother nature will come and tear it down. Maybe the people should leave Haiti and move to safer places.I really don't know how they can be helped if the government doesn't cooperate.Even the church can't feed every one.
In Canada people come to ask for money too and sometimes you give and sometimes you don;t depending on what you think they will spend it on. Sometimes its better to buy a lunch than to give money cause it goes on drugs.

Myriam said...

Good morning dear loving China

A life changing mission trip this has been for you.
And yes from the airport - it's an overwhelming feeling. Poverty speaks very loudly. The look on the children's faces hurt - for a moment we can even see through their souls. And we know He's there in their midst - still in such poverty and suffering. I get flashback even thinking about it.

What were they dealt with this hand on side of heaven While I will never know - one thing is for sure I am not any better than any of them but such grace was bestowed upon me, you, and many others.

Then it's hard not to do something. Anything. A point that you raised about giving is right on. Our excess is not to go to the malls and get more 'stuff' while living in such 'evil' days.

Thank you for the reminder. The angels rejoiced over you for accepting the call to go (Isa 6) and Your Father will continue to sing over you for 'going'.

Grateful for your contagious faith.

I love you dearly.

A Free Spirit Butterfly said...

My Lady you are so right, putting the money directly in the hands of those in need would be much, much more easier and personal. I was a sadden by the fact that I didn't bring "enough" money. A little voice whispered, "How much is enough." Even when we cannot give financially, when WE UNITE in PRAYER, amazing things happen!

I believe the average person is 1-2 paychecks from being "somewhat" homeless. If they're not, they're probably up to their ears in debt. We, as a society haven't been very good stewards w/the money He so graciously provides. I used to be one. My job description changed and then I had to wear suits. I went overboard switching from the uniform to personal clothing. When I moved many regrets w/my spending habits.

But, He is such a good teacher of "life" when we trust in Him. He shows us the error of our ways and only a person with a discerning spirit takes heed. I'm so grateful I'm finally listening to the small still voice that calls me His own.

Love to both of you and I truly appreciate the commitment you've shown to following my life's journey. You're both women of wisdom and I APPRECIATE you!

WynnSong said...

What an incredibly special and moving Testimony. To see you, so giving, so selfless and so humbled, but so blessed with a loving heart. You inspire me to a deeper core of giving. You share your heart whole heartily and God's Love so beautifully. I'm so glad you were given such an opportunity in Haiti and God showed himself to you in such a momentous way.....

A Free Spirit Butterfly said...

Hello Wynn,

I cannot take credit for this giving spirit that I now possess. It's His love working through me. The old me was very generous but I realized much later in life that "my old way" of giving was motivated by fear. Wanting to liked, loved and accepted.

Once you truly grasp His love, the giving flows so naturally. In the end, truly...what can we take with us. And now that I type that...when we get to the Kingdom of Heaven, we'll have all we need.