Monday, May 6, 2013

Reintegration. Never. Easy.

I'm fairly sure I feel this way after every single trip back to Ethiopia.  Today it hit me like a ton of bricks over something that seems so "normal".  My precious mother in law was here helping while I was away.  My Father in Law joined her a few days before I returned and we spent the weekend together.  It was great to be with them and I was able to temporarily "ignore" the realities screaming in my head.  I avoided stores, I didn't want a "trigger", my father in law treated us to brunch and we commented on the mass amount of food and how it could feed an Ethiopian village.  I was grateful for the recognition that we have so much.  We walked on the beach, my thoughts consumed me.  My husband patiently waits for each part of my processing to come through.  He's still waiting as bits and pieces come out.

This morning my inlaws were preparing to leave, going over where things were at in the household and what things had been gone through/used up.  As my mother in law rattled off the staples we were out of it hit me.  With those needs I knew a trip to Costco was in order as I made a mental note.  I went to shower and there it was, flooding through my head, leveling me to tears.  My kids need sustenance and for me filling that need is a simple trip to Costco.  For a mother across the globe meeting her kids' needs looks a bit different and rather horrifying to us.  In order to get a wee bit of bread she must beg, walk up hill with a load of sticks, or sell her body each day just to feed her children or even herself.  I wonder what she does when her teenage boy is hungry and goes through a growth spurt?  For me its a 5 lb bag of hamburger patties and a whole lot of buns so my growing 14 year old son can eat a burger for a snack.  For her she may not be able to beg enough to get him what he needs.  He may be shining shoes so his mother can eat when he should be going to school.  Wrestling hard with this reality today.

I know several on my team are wrestling with this same reality.  What now?  Obviously we can't ignore our families but we also can't ignore what we've just seen.  The faces we've touched, the hands we've held, the dances we danced, the smiles permanently etched in our brains.  The human beings struggling each day just to survive.  Just to have their basic needs met.  Just to hang onto their children.  Just to be.  I know that all of these things are known by our Heavenly Father, we know that He grieves deeply, as a team we asked that God break our hearts for the things that break His.  I believe with every ounce of my being that He did just that in each and every person on this amazing team.  I firmly believe that He will work in each person differently, every single one will be called to something different, each will take action differently.

Over the next few days I'm going to write about each ministry we visited, the things God did there, and what those ministries are doing in Ethiopia to make a lasting difference in the lives of His children.  We don't go on these advocacy trips with any preconceived idea that we're going to somehow change everyones circumstances, solve the poverty crisis, or bring world peace.  Not at all.  These trips were born out of a desire to honor my King, to connect people with sustainable gospel centered ministries, to raise awareness, and to pour out on others just a tiny bit of what God has poured out on us.  

For now, I'm wrestling.  My heart is hurting, this hurt is about others and how *I* can do more.  Give more.  Sacrifice more.  This is about people whom God has placed in my path.  This is about what He's asked of me.  This is about being His hands and feet.  Father wreck me for your glory, don't let me be comfortable.  Mold me to be more like you.

“I have one desire now - to live a life of reckless abandon for the Lord, putting all my energy and strength into it.”  - Elizabeth Elliot

But now, O Lord, you are our Father;
    we are the clay, and you are our potter;

    we are all the work of your hand. 
Isaiah 64:8


Cortney said...

Praying for your day and looking forward to hear all about your trip! Reintegration is SO hard.

Meliski said...

Wonderful writing. I have realized- with joy- that we can use our family resources to relieve another family's burdens. It will never be fair, I will never be more deserving of this blessed life than so many hard-working families struggling just to survive a day. It will never be "okay" with me. Our lives look different after Ethiopia...and living in a 3rd world country during the early part of our marriage. I wish we could do more, but we do what we can. Part of what we can do is give a voice to those who normally wouldn't have one. I look forward to hearing more about the organizations partnering with families who are struggling in a way we will never understand.

Sarah said...

Such a humbling post, truly wish I was there again with you. Its such an experience thats hard to put words to, but knowing that God is involved and working in the lives of all you came in contact is million words in one...Thanks for sharing this!