I’m sure I sound like a broken record when I say that my time here hasn’t been easy. There have been many sleepless, prayer-filled nights. There have been battles, not only between girls, but between ME and girls as well. We seem to have a “crisis” every day, and I used to let them shake me and defeat me. It is easy to begin to believe the lies that Satan wants to feed me and the girls when chaos seems to strike as often as it does and peace seems absent, but, thanks to God that He is giving me endurance and teaching me that because I stand on the rock and lean into Him I shall not be moved.
Living in the “immovable” state can be very tricky, like I mentioned, when it seems like we are in a constant, offensive battle with darkness and spiritual forces. The girls have had struggles in all sorts of different forms and the Lord continues to call me into intercession for them FIRST, instead of searching for an answer to the problem that often times I don’t even come to in the end.
When I come to Him and declare my weakness and doubt, in surrender and confess that there feels as though there is NOTHING I can do His answer has been, “I CAN…. It is POSSIBLE for ME.”
I repeat this within as many times as it takes for it to sink further and futher into my soul and heart, growing my faith, my confidence, my ability to call on the authority and power of the Holy Spirit when it is clear that we need a change in atmosphere, attitude, behavior and relationship.
The other week I was told that I was going to be doing school with our middle school girls (five in total) in the afternoon for around 3 and a half hours.
I started to panic.
It was the day before my two days of rest I get on Thursday and Friday and I had been in the house for six days straight.
I was tired, my Spanish was failing me, and all the discouragement from the last week had been welling up within. I doubted if we were even going to be able to do anything that afternoon and felt panicked.
I told the girls during lunch that we would be doing school while the little girls were with the other teachers and got instant backlash… They weren’t up for it. Neither was I.
I went to one of the nannies…
“So… I’m supposed to teach the girls this afternoon, yeah?”
“Yep, that’s what Greci said.”
“Well, I told the girls and they were already grumpy and complaining about it.”
She just shrugged her shoulders in a “that’s life” kind of way and after that I knew I wasn’t getting out of it.
Afternoon class is always started with a devotional time. When the afternoon teachers arrived I told the big girls to go and begin class all together with the little ones and I would be up there after I was done finishing washing the dishes to start math class.
When I went up there 10 minutes later to join them they were all in the bedroom and hadn’t joined as I had asked them to.
Here we go… I thought… fear of conflict began to well within.
I asked the girls why they weren’t in class as I had told them to and they answered…
“Can we do our own devotional time in here?”
I could be frustrated at them for not listening to me, or, I could take this time with them and really see what the Lord might have and thank Him for a possible opportunity.
We got out the Jesus story book bible and began to read together. We each took turns reading. The story that we opened to was of Jesus washing his disciples feet. After we finished I began asking a question and in the middle realized that I already knew the answer to it:
“Has somebody washed your feet before?”
The girls all looked at me and smiled,
“Yes! You!” they told me while giggling.
I loved that they remembered so immediately. The first time I came to New Hope in 2014 I washed the girls feet the final night I was with them in the house and read to them the same passage that we had just finished reading that day. I began a conversation about it. I asked them what that experience was like for them. They told me it was “raro” which is weird in Spanish… They used an expression that would mean something to the affect of “it sent shivers up my spine.” I loved their answers because they were true. I’m sure that’s how the disciples felt at first…
What is going on?! How could someone come this close to me… This is personal… This is real…
I explained to the girls that their feelings were valid because what we felt physically says something about what is being done inwardly and Spiritually. The fact that someone would do an act as personal as that, to come SO CLOSE to us reflects a willingness to go beyond the dirty, messy, and often forgotten part of us and choose to enter in.
We continued reading and the next story was when Jesus was telling His disciples that He was going to go to the cross, that He would be leaving them and they were all so awfully confused. We read about the purpose of the cross, why He needed to die, that He died for EVERYONE, ALL PEOPLE.
Another question came:
“What is it that Jesus died on the cross for that you are still carrying? Something that is too heavy for you to carry, that you were never meant to bear?”
As I asked the question I began to realize that how these girls saw me had become so important in my every day life with them. If one of them gave me a bad attitude after I asked them to do something, it was a personal offense. If they laughed at me or disobeyed me, a seed of anger or resentment would be planted and it would take time to uproot it and let it go in the Father’s hands.
I told the girls I was never meant to carry their feelings/thoughts towards me… It was too much to manage, too much to handle. I realized that I needed to let Jesus take them over so that I could be freed up to love them more and be myself, be who God is calling me to be and do the things He is calling me to do.
A few other girls shared after and we had this rich time of prayer afterward, there was agreement on all fronts and we were coming to the Father together, in unity.
I wanted a moment to cry after we finished because it was just so beautiful. I was stilled, at peace, but once I realized we had three hours left of school to do, that nagging of panic began to emerge once again.
But you know what… God continued to heap on the provision... And we were able to do it.
Sure there were ugly moments…
But there were so many more beautiful ones.
I saw maturity within them. They chose to listen, they chose to learn, they were intelligent and ambitious. I cheered them on in their studies, I helped them when they were stuck and they helped me big time when my Spanish was failing and I was so mixed up because of exhaustion.
We finished those three hours and I felt as though I could have celebrated for the next two weeks because of how smooth it truly went. I told the girls thank you. Thank you for doing this with me. I told them I enjoyed myself and they even told me that THEY enjoyed it which was something I wasn’t banking on from the beginning.
The next morning I was having my time with the Lord and I was reflecting on school with the girls the day before. I was praying and asking the Lord for more times like that, not necessarily teaching but being able to be with the girls in this kind of manner where we are growing together and in an environment that is healthy and safe and open. I asked the Lord to speak to me that morning and give me a word, a phrase that would lead me and help me and continue to grow me and equip me in this experience. As I waited in silence I received these words:
“Don’t fight, use wisdom.”
I could understand what He was meaning by the first because there had been so much friction between me and the girls and it was so easy for “fights” to arise… But I needed more. I wanted to know WHAT wisdom He was talking about. As I sat there and continued questioning I thought to myself, “Well, I’ll go to the book I KNOW will have guaranteed wisdom… I’ll start in proverbs and see what the Lord does.”
I began reading from the first chapter. I’ve read it many times, I’m familiar with the content and always love the part where wisdom is calling out on the streets and the beautiful language that is included.
But that wasn’t the part that gripped me… It wasn’t until the last verse that I was able to understand why the Lord had lead me there.
“But whoever listens to me will dwell secure and will be at ease, without dread of disaster.” Proverbs 1:33
It hit me so hard… spoke so directly to what I had been living in the last couple weeks. Because there had been so much conflict, so much fighting, so much attitude and out-of-control behavior I felt like every idea, plan, and even moment could and WOULD eventually lead to disaster. I was becoming afraid to offer anything to these girls because there was so much unpredictability and so much room for uproar that it was beginning to not feel worth it any more.
But then… those words…
Whoever LISTENS to Him will dwell secure… They will be at ease, without facing anxiety… and they won’t have to DREAD DISASTER because their home will be in the Lord and He will be the one speaking, working, moving, anointing, calling the shots, etc…
I realized that I couldn’t let fear get in the way of loving, of doing, of BEING. I couldn’t let that reign in my relationships with the girls and haunt me everything I set out to do.
I am grateful to have a God that sees a greater picture; that wants love and justice and grace and peace, that He isn’t a God of confusion but rather a God of clarity and provision and great victory and mercy. He is showing me that it all comes from HIM and in this I believe there is a confidence welling up inside of me that will find its way and burst forth as I continue to listen, to yield myself to Him, to trust Him and believe that it’s possible.
I’m grateful that when I still myself before Him and ask Him to speak, He does. That His word is true and when I seek Him I find Him and there is great comfort and peace that He is ready to give and let grow in my heart if I simply enter into His presence and wait on His truth to fill me. Let us wait upon the Lord together, because surely He sees us in our every situation, surely He is bigger than our overcoming circumstances, and surely He is the greatest advice-giver that we could ever sit and listen to.