in the dens of need is love

Posted on November 12, 2010

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Last spring, Mike introduced me to Amber. “I think you two should meet” he said, and what followed was an absolute kindred-spirit of a friendship. A heart for the orphan, a yearning for Africa and a love for all things written word, it didn’t take long for her blog to become a staple in my daily readings. I love Amber for her authenticity – in both life as a wife and a mother. As a fellow writer, I love that her prose always borders on poetic. Today she writes about her own moment of pain – and what the pruning means for her family.

I bear witness to pain, but I won’t list it out too much, in case I couldn’t bear it if I added words to it. Here now I listen to some gorgeous banjo on Pandora, and I smile, and my boys bathe in a warm bath that smells of soapy dirt, new babies turned big and gangly. Don’t I have much over which to rejoice?

I really do. I rejoice, and always as I do, in the music of life, in the fragrance, and in the aftertaste, is knowledge, what little I know of Savior, though He’s given me His mind and His righteousness. Following here is really, still, in the mirror dimly. I focus in and out, and always He is leading me to some disaster it seems, where in some rubble is consuming grace or the stark, contrasted need for it.

And in following, I am filled so I can pour out.

“Come let us return to the Lord, for He has torn us, but He will heal us. He has wounded us, but he will bandage us.“ (Hosea 6:1)

I am no one great.  I had a vision once of myself in a dying bed, and I was stretched out, happy, in a gown, and my daughter, dark skin, was home with me, my baby girl adopted.  I would have a beautiful daughter, and she would care for me when I’m old, pluck my eyebrows, and giggle when I miss my own mouth. I love that dream of us.

I began to study her, her nation. I looked at thousands of images and listened to the music. I literally tattooed part of Ethiopia’s flag on my back. I fell in love with a country and its continent, and the more I learned of its pain, the more drawn in I became.

Following Jesus often means going straight into the greatest dens of need. After all, isn’t that what He did? Didn’t He come to heal the sick?

So for now I’ve let go of one of my sweetest visions, and that in obedience. Following Jesus isn’t always what we think it’s going to be.

We cancelled our adoption, and we moved with our boys to an apartment, and we’re getting out of debt for the purpose of freedom.  There is always freedom in true love, even if being a bond-slave locks us without all common sense to something invisible, something that might entail more sacrifice than we could bear to imagine.

But freedom has opened our ears to Africa, to maybe going, to reuniting families, to redemption. Our ears are open to God, grace filling to the brim and flowing out of broken vessels.

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