Saturday, May 29, 2010

Without Expectation

BEFORE I start...go back and look at the first picture..the word in Arabic written behind that woman says "beautiful"...isn't that amazing?

In a few weeks, I will be heading home to see my family for a brief, but crucially needed time. It will have been almost 8 months since I bid them farewell last November. From the moment my funds were finalized, until I stepped on the plane was just a few days, and the shock was still fresh during my final goodbyes. Drastic life changes I didn't expect and couldn't prepare for directly around the corner.

The car was loaded down with my 7 boxes and mom and I were on our way to the airport when she said to me, "You are going to change...there is no way you will come back the same Christy that is leaving today." I couldn't tell at that moment if she was happy about the thought of me changing, or if it made her sad. I couldn't read her.

As I boarded the plane, my mind was racing and so consumed with fears of travel details that I was able to push the pain of leaving family deep inside as a coping mechanism. I was afraid my stuff wouldn't all make it through, that I would be overcharged, that I would get stuck in London, that no one would be there to meet me in Egypt...I allowed these concerns to replace focusing on walking away from loved ones. Well, here it is, months later, and the emotions I felt leaving them, are surfacing...and I just want family. Skype has become my means of seeing my nieces and nephews petite faces fill out and their vocabulary expand. The fact that they recognize me sends happy shivers down my spine...thank you Jesus that they know their auntie.

Being home will be short, but being separated from Egypt will assist in helping me put together and process through the chaos which is now life. My work here is divided into several different projects. Most of these fall into the realms of teaching....local Egyptians, Sudanese, expats, and orphans all are the faces of people I get to serve. All these souls contain different challenges and varying struggles...but all have contributed to the forming of my call.

I don't understand what HE is up to in all the miniscule details of where I am pulled day to day. I have stopped trying to reconcile my "purpose" for the point of momentary solitude. Waking up...asking the Lord for an obedient spirit...an open mind...a soft heart...and a controlled tongue are the daily duties I am sure of. Sounds simple...but never have I felt so challenged in meeting the requirements of the call. I can't put it into a simple chart...a summary...or even a friendly conversation. What HE is doing in me has burst the seams of my expectation upon arrival. What HE is doing through me is His business...I have stopped worrying about it. That doesn't dismiss the sharp reality that I am anxious and cannot seem to release the need to control the details. What is He up to? What is right around the corner? Why can't I decide what is best for me? Who is He making me to be? Where is He taking me? How is He using me for His purposes? Why can't I make perfect sense of all this? Simple: sanctification at its best


Monday, May 10, 2010

The Sting of Death

Shock. Drama. Agony. Joy. Butterflies. Solitude. Sadness. Hope. Death. These are just a few of the words that describe my life the past 11 months beginning with the loss of my job last May and then my sudden move to the Middle East. My world was transforming because my Father was at work...writing my story by ending a chapter and beginning the next. I wish I could paint the emotional rainbow I have encountered...

In the past 6 months during my time in Egypt, one theme has been consistently in the present, something I had never really faced, been forced to process, or to put it simply...ever had to relate to. DEATH.

January 21st was the day I lost one of the most important people in my life. That was the day my dear Aimee got to finally see the face of Jesus. Shortly after Aimee's death, it seemed I couldn't escape the news of people dying. These were not people close to me, but they have families left in pure devastation. Losing Aimee introduced me to a new world of agony, and I had never taken the time to process that people are dealing with it daily...everywhere. It was new to me, but not new.

I have watched a friend of mine here in Cairo process through the death of 2 brothers in 3 months, and now witnessing her own husband deteriorate from an aggressive cancer. When will it end for her? Or will it? This weekend I received the news that a family we know back home lost their 9 year old son after a long battle with Leukemia. Nine years old...I have never met this boy, but my heart shattered for this family. Immediately my 10 year old brother, my nephews and the boys in my class came to mind. What would I have done if it had been one of them? What words would I have had for God? Let your will be done? Yesterday, I received the news that the orphanage I volunteer at was mourning the sudden loss of the young priest who runs it. He is a father figure to those children....very involved in their lives...their example...he was their daddy. I froze...REALLY GOD? You took a father away from children that were already orphaned...and then rescued?

A couple of weeks ago, while wandering an old cemetery at dusk, a friend of mine and I sat down amongst old graves. "I don't understand death," he said. Looking puzzled, I thought..."who does?" I had no idea why he thought he should understand it. "I don't understand how we are supposed to feel about it," he stated. Now I was getting his point...and I agreed. I don't know how to feel about it either.

My heart is more confused about death now than it ever has been..but why? It has always been a factor no one can escape...it's always been there...lurking daily as our possible destiny. But the other day, as I was thinking though these horrific tragedies while doing the dishes, something struck me. What if God is smiling at death in how He has redeemed it? What if He is just looking at us and thinking...you're not ever going to understand it...but that doesn't make it wrong. People are being passed into glory..into GLORY...we don't get it. The earth stands in our way...our own humanity is blinding us. We don't get it. I mean, if He allows it, then it must be right. It must be perfect in the present even though it is the ultimate result of sin. It must be. In my anger, I lost sight that God controls death...death doesn't control God. We are not meant to live on this earth forever. Our families aren't meant to stay units here...some get to go early. We can't change that this is part of God's plan...and that as believers we have to grasp that it is a joyous occasion. Maybe not here, just north of us and not far, there is singing...there is rejoicing. I am not saying it is wrong to be sad...to be devastated. I know I will be faced with this agony again. We cannot make our minds comprehend that this is good...because we only see one side. But flip the coin over...and there it is ....