Prepare yourselves for the ugly version.
Currently our lives feel like a million moving pieces.
Each option relies on another, everything seemingly floats above us and we fail to strap any of them down securely.
And yet, when we do, its only a stepping stone. Our feet land and we stare again into the ocean of outcomes.
Just months ago we returned from Congo and from Tanzania, our hearts filled to the brim with stories, friendships, new perspectives and new dreams, such a truck load of raw emotions.
I’d like to tell you I came home from this year abroad filled with thankfulness and an inspiring passion.
I came home extremely broken.
I was pretty miserable. I wailed into my pillow every night and wept ugly cries to God at the things stirring in me, for the people I bound my heart to and left.
My spirit was broken.
I wrestled through the things I saw, the brokenness, sadness and injustice - it filled my thoughts and haunted my dreams.
Then something changed.
A coldness crept in over my tears. It trickled into my conversations and I began to notice a deep anger brewing in me. I titled it ‘righteous anger at injustice’ when those close to me began to point it out.
Sometimes I could cover it up.
I even sat at the local news and shared my thoughts with boldness, hoping that ‘righteous anger’ could actually change people's perspective.
And maybe it did to some extent.
But that so called righteous anger took a turning point as it remained unsurrendered, and it brewed further into an ugly judgmental spirit.
It was no longer an instrument of change but a clanging gong without love.
This judgmental spirit began to spill out onto those closest to me and push them away.
Though most people saw my big smile and bubbly self directing the summer camps and pouring myself into the eager bundles around me - my heart was resentful.
My mom kept repeating these words, “Human anger does not produce the righteous living God desires.” They stung because I knew I wasn't living the way I ought to even though I felt I had the right to.
I couldn't make sense of it. I felt so angry by the contrast I witnessed.
It wasn't alright to not make a big deal about it.
No one stood up for the poor. Everyone around me kept drowning in their selfish living.
Something had to be done.
The little malnourished babes I had held needed a voice. The kids forces to drop out of school needed a voice. The neighbors dropping dead from malaria needed a voice. I couldn't just sit still.
But just being angry - that wasn't the voice I needed to encourage others to hear the cry of the forgotten.
Two weeks after being home this lady was praying over me that I wouldn't allow the enemy to use judgement as his tool to condem - and yet I totally had. I had used the righteous anger of God and channeled it into judgement rather than boldness, a voice for justice, surrender and sacrifice.
I had just soaked in prideful judgement.
I knew I needed to change that. I knew I could be a voice for justice with fierce love rather than harsh anger.
That righteous anger at the injustice I saw is still bubbling, or rather raging within in me. But rather than being overwhelmed by it I want to follow the advice of my mother who coaxed me to be inspiring, with deep love.
I was reading in the book of Amos and it talks about ‘the powerful and wealthy’ lounging on ivory beds, eating rich meats, lathered in lotions and perfumes, unaware of the ruin of the nation around them. The cycle of humanity never ends. But the Lord says, “Instead I want to see a mighty flood of justice, an endless river of righteous living.”
That’s what I hope to do. Inspire others with righteous living, a flood of fierce love and justice.
So I will keep being a voice for those I love: the suffering, the orphan, the abandoned, ‘the least of these’. I will dare to hope that others too will rise up and that change is possible… a change that goes deeper than nods in agreement but rather, allows for heartbreak.
Iv’e begun to see it now.
Sometimes when I look around I wipe away the frustration and I see there are others. There are people standing up for the neglected and fighting for justice. There are people all around me willing to help, to love and to give, and my heart is encouraged.
that’s my story, my confession.
Jesus broke my spirit because I was focused on me.
He allowed me to see, to be broken.
He let me trade in my life for a heart like his. And I’ll never be the same.
“Compassion isn’t merely a vague sense - but a feeling so strong that it causes you to bend. It shapes your body, your life, into a response.” -Ann Voskamp.
Oh Jesus, forgive us for the ways we have put ourselves first and not stopped for another… where we have chosen money, possessions and comfort over choosing surrender to you. May we draw nearer to your heart. May we be more aware of your spirit and in tune with your guiding. May we learn to love like you. Show us today how we can love those you've placed around us. Thank you for your overwhelming and constant grace for us.