When You See Me – Part IV

I’ve been dragging my feet.

feet for blog

Or at least resting them  for too long.

Finishing up this series about our trip to Ukraine hasn’t been easy. I would rather de-crumb my van with tweezers than finish this story. Not because I don’t want to tell you, but because I’m not sure that I want you to know.

The truth is, what I learned at camp doesn’t seem to equal what I learned while traveling and that makes me feel like a big wimp.

The fear is, that my story is all about me, which seems indulgent.

Not-measuring-up and not-enough are the bookends on my heart and I’m terribly afraid that the middle will be disappointing,  so I’ve written nothing.  I have some other projects I want to work on though, and I’m more afraid of being an empty-handed quitter than a half-handed finisher. So, I’m here.  I’m showing up and hoping that my subconscious has something profound that’s itching to surface.

Though it wasn’t one bit funny at the time, I think the story of our travel is absolutely hilarious and I wouldn’t trade one hot hungry minute of it. It’s a story laced with the utter graciousness of God.  His favor, provision and protection.

I don’t think United Airlines could have worked any harder to ensure that our trip was more complicated, they’re just not that conscientious.

I think that the collective enemy of our soul targeted our team because of the healing power that it represented.

Healing in the individual lives on the team, healing in the lives of those who serve with MTU, healing in the lives of the families that were represented and served.  The story that I share about Ukraine is uniquely mine, yet I feel selfish because I’m in the big fat center of it, like I’m qualified to tell someone else’s story. {sigh}

Our  stories are powerful, and we tell them because they’re essential to making sense of our messy world.  We tell them because we’ve all been encouraged when someone else had the courage to share theirs.  I’m hoping that a small piece of this will help you this very day.  That’s why I write, because I believe that God uses people and stories, music and art to speak to us every single day of our lives.  But we have to be looking and listening for Him. We have to be expecting Him.

We were in Ukraine for 10 days and most of the people I met there I will never see again.  I have no way to know the lasting affects of camp on their lives. But I will always remember their stories.  I believe that for years to come, details and moments from our trip will be brought to my mind to encourage me or to teach me something new.

The 17-year-old who brings her brother to camp.  She’s a caregiver balancing her dreams with a needy brother, an angry father and an emotionally absent mother.

The woman with the gorgeous eyes trying to justify to her older children the attention she gives to her five year old daughter who fights cancer.

The expectant mom who wore bright head-scarves sharing her years of abuse and the radical peace that entered her life when she chose forgiveness.

Team members, both American and Ukrainian, who opened their shadowed stories with the hope of encouraging others.  They were at camp to help wipe the tears of  the campers, but they wiped mine too.

I’m back in my busy comfort zone and will readily admit that if those same people showed up in my church with their stories, I probably would nod politely, think “how nice that they shared” and plug on through my day unmoved.

I think that the safety of our own little world makes us terrible listeners and it took a trip to help families Ukraine to begin to open my deafened ears. We smile, nod and compile our grocery list at the same time. We don’t take the time to really listen and to see.  With anesthetized senses, we race through our days  talking about good luck and coincidence. We may even acknowledge God without ever taking time to notice that He is with us.

He’s in the words of the lady saying thank you at the grocery on a horrible day, or the go ahead from the man at Sams when you’re short on time.  On a lonely weekend,   he’s in the last-minute concert with a friend.    The card in the mail that pictures Monks on a Roller-Coaster and brings a chuckle? He’s there too.

His compassion is in the face of orphans living in Romaniv and the face of my neighbor in the airport. His comfort comes through the stewardess with a warm cloth and and the team member encouraging rest .  He hugs us through broken children and weeps with us through their mothers’ tears.

He is close to the brokenhearted and saves us when were crushed to smithereens.  That’s me and if you peel back the some of your layers, you might find that it’s you too.  We’re all just a big mess with bookends of emptiness and fears of not-enough.

If we take the time to really look for him?  We see Him.  And when we see Him?  We find strength to face the day.  It’s through that strength that we find healing.

Have you seen God in your day today?  If not, would you consider asking Him to show up?

I promise He’s there.

I’m excited to tell you about a challenge I’m taking on in October.  At the end of the week, I’ll tell you about it.  For now, I’ll just say that I’m going to need a lot of coffee next month.

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I'm a forty something women managing a busy family, working as a hair designer and trying to use my big-girl words.

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