They wander around looking for someone to beg. They've studied people; they easily judge who has the most wealth and they make a beeline for those with light skin. Persistence. Their entire life involves looking as pitiful as possible -- whether by their choice or someone else's. Sometimes their fingers, arms or legs are cut off to provoke more pity, and hopefully money, from people.
When I see them I am filled with rage. Holy rage. Not at them, but at their master. Not a human, but a spirit of poverty. Slavery. I rage against the thing that has so many convinced that they have to beg just right or look desperate enough to get attention from people.
But sometimes, I think just like them.
And that thing, that dark master is found all over the world. I have seen it in India. I have seen it in the States -- in churches. I have seen it in the Middle East, in Africa, in Europe, and in Mexico. And though it is very visible here, it is much deeper than that and goes far beyond a haggard and beautiful hand reaching out for a coin. But they need something they didn't know they could ask for. And did I mention that some people don't even have hands to beg with?
What master is this? It is the master that says, "You're unwanted. Get out of here. You're a burden. No one really loves you. There's not enough room for you. Don't even bother speaking, because no one will want to listen. You're hideous. You're not worth showing yourself to anyone. No one would even enjoy the real you. Stop dreaming and stop your hoping for love. It's preposterous."
I am appalled by how common it is for people to form their lives and beliefs around these things.
But grace is in the business of undoing...so consider me undone. And there is more.
The master of grace, who is full of truth, says this, "You are always welcome and always wanted. Be at home. You don't have to beg; just receive. You are worth enough to be seen and being seen does not deter love from you. Rest. You don't have to work for what can't be earned. Everything is paid for; just enjoy."
I have never been more aware of His grace than I have been the past few months. It's not because it wasn't there before, but because He made me aware of it...and it's honestly changed everything. It's not rarely given; only rarely received. And even being able to receive it is a gift. So it's all-around marvelous and baffling because Jesus chose to bring Himself glory by bringing us joy at a greusome cost that He absolutely did not have to go through...and now we desire what He desires because He changed us so that He could share His joy with us even though we all might as well have been the ones who drove the nails into his hands.
It's just good news, people.
It's the thing that changed everything for me.
In the words of a friend of mine, "Let us trust in Him, because when we trust Him we receive His love and when we receive His love then we can rest. Know that He wants us to rest in Him."
I hesitate to post this as-is because there is so much more.
To be continued,
A heart captured by grace
Tuesday, November 15, 2011
You remind me of a queen. Beauty flows from you as Light adorns you. Love fills your heart and overflows. You are such a treasure. Whatever joy is in the air is multiplied when you are around.
You are an old soul. I love how obsessed you are with Jesus. When so many other six year olds fall falsely in love with celebrities and fictional characters, you have made Jesus your hero. I still love to remember the day when you tied a cape around you in a super-hero-like manner and went around "healing" the boys who were playing dead with David Uncle. Laura Auntie asked if you were a doctor. But you said, "No! Jesus Christ!"
I savored every moment and cherish every memory with you -- just because you are who you are. I especially loved lying next to you on the middle bunk as you told me stories about Jesus when you were supposed to be sleeping instead. You understand things. You told me in excellent English -- which is your second or third language -- how He was beaten and killed because we do bad things. You demonstrated the evil one with two fingers and said, "This one...don't say his name, it's not good name..." Your face lit up and your voice changed when you said, "Auntie, after three days -- Jesus wake up-ing!" You kept interrupting yourself to say, "Auntie, this is such good story...beautiful, beautiful story."
I never knew whether to laugh with delight or cry tears of joy when I was around you. Something about you reaches to the deepest part of my heart and awakens it, frees it, to come out and play in the Light. You are beautiful in every way and you beautify the world around you just by existing.
And child, those eyes...they shine. You love. I have learned much from you and your freedom from self-concern. You are genuinely one of the funniest people I know: Saniya Kangaroo.
I love hiding behind the church room door with you -- or from you. I love that you let me hold you, spin you around, and hang you upside down by your ankles while you shower the room with laughter. It amazes me how you love me -- which says far more about you than me.
I will never forget the day during lunch when I asked what you want to do when you become older. "Nurse? Teacher?" I asked. "Mother," you replied. And it made my heart sing.
My prayers for you are often and my thoughts of you are sweet. May nothing hinder you from telling everyone about your Hero. May shame or fear never come upon you. Live joyfully as His precious daugher, knowing that you are always welcome and always wanted in His presence, which is always with you. Thank you for being a beautiful example of living fully in freedom. You taught me well. I love you, my daughter.
Saturday, November 5, 2011
You are wonderful.
You stole my heart when I first saw you dance. I love that you dance so freely, yet subtly, for no one's entertainment but your own. I love your heart. It was evident today when Sonu grabbed the large piece of styrofoam from your hands and broke it into two pieces for his own benefit. Your face showed no sign of anger.
It was as if you had not been wronged.
And you were so humbly sweeping the dust in the kitchen. Most eight year old boys I know would complain about that. But not you.
I love being around you, sitting with you, calling your name and getting a dance in response. Your heart is beautiful. Simple. Loving. You are so playful but you are not naughty -- which is a rare thing to come by.
I am sitting in the church room with all the other children during study time. I keep stopping this letter to look up at you. You are such a handsome young man.
I especially love the way you eat -- with your head back and only your thumb and forefinger touching your food while the rest of your fingers curl loosely.
I love your voice. I can pick it out of a crowd of voices. Even your slight lisp is endearing and makes my heart happy. Your smile is like sunshine.
When I think about your future, I am filled with hope. I imagine you leading and caring for others, and it makes my heart swell with love and joy. You are precious. A gem. You are quiet, but you are noticed. By me, by Sir and Ma'am, and by our Love Jesus Christ.
I love how you pray for your father, who chose not to care for you and who continually threatens your sisters some nights in his drunkenness. "Pray for my dad; he needs a belt," will always sing grace to my ears.
May your life be filled with the love that has always surrounded you. Live freely, my son, and fear nothing. Rejoice, because Jesus defeated your worst enemy.
I could never forget you. I will miss being in your presence and I will pray for you every day. I love you with all my heart. Thank you for loving me too.