Wednesday, September 26, 2012

Of The Time That I Got Locked Inside Of My Bedroom

A couple weekends ago I went out of town, planning for painters to come and paint my upstairs in my absence. I was excited to get that part of my house projects done and to return home to it completed.

Clearly, my expectations were too high. I came back to a poorly done and unfinished job as well as a rummaged through fridge (seriously guys!?). When I entered my room, I saw part of my door handle sitting on my nightstand. As I investigated the remaining handle on the door, I realized that the handle could no longer turn to open the door. Thus, if the door was closed and you were inside of the room, you couldn’t get out.

That’s a very important detail…

…and one that I didn’t remember until 11:00pm that night. When the door closed. And I was inside of the room.

Almost immediately after the door closed, I remembered. I tried in vain for 10 minutes to pry the door open with no success. At that point, panic entered.

I called my neighbor to see what my options were. Normally, no one else has a key to my place but luckily, another woman on our compound did thanks to her needing to open the door for the painters. My neighbor tried texting her and knocking on her door to no response.

I’m not one to get claustrophobic but…I’ve never felt more trapped in my life. I had no idea how long I would be stuck in my room. What if I needed to use the bathroom? Would I have to wait to be let out in the morning like a dog? The walls felt like they were closing in on me.

My mind was racing. I scanned my room, desperate to find something to help me get that door open. In that moment, I remembered an episode of Columbo when this woman was being held hostage by her stalker. He locked her into a room so she couldn’t get out but would come in to give her food. She used olive oil and a knife to pry the hinges off of the door.

I eyed the hinges. I had no olive oil or knife. Plus, I was pretty sure these hinges hadn’t been tampered with in 50 years.

I found masking tape and decided to MacGyver the handle back together in hopes that it would work again.

Yes, it’s true: in times of panic, I draw all of my heroic inspiration from 80’s sitcoms.

I channeled MacGyver’s mullet and taped that thing back together. Every time it didn’t work, I added more and more tape until finally…IT OPENED!

FREEDOM!! I can’t even tell you the relief! I almost cried.

I feel like I have a whole new appreciation for people in prison or animals in cages. It's the knowledge that you can't get out that's most disturbing. 

Said from a girl who experienced a pansy 20 minutes of it.

Thursday, September 20, 2012

Saying No To Say Yes

In order to say “yes” to God, we have to say “no” to something else. Actually, everything else. That's seen in our lives from salvation on.

I’ve been battling with this for the past month. When I came back to Uganda, I wanted to jump right in where I left off. I was so anxious to see my kids and even more anxious to start up the Bible study with the girls again. I was doing all these things plus trying to settle and set up my house and focus on language studies and oh, don’t I still have 500 books to read for WorldVenture? and plan for the future and…and…and…

About three weeks ago, God said a very hard “no”. I kept trying to do the Bible study with the girls but had no peace about it in my heart. I attributed it to selfishness. I mean, why else would I not feel as though that's what I should be doing? But then God made it clear. Through strangers, friends, His Word and more, He had a message for me:

Not now. The time will come when you will teach. For now, you just need to listen. I’ve given you this time as a gift; a time to fully focus on me. A time to dig deep in my Word. A time for us. Take all other distractions away. Now is the time to focus.

I felt like I had been punched in the stomach. How could God say no to this? On my return, my girls expressed excitement for the study to start up again as it hadn’t been continued in my absence. These girls mean the world to me. I want to spend as much time with them as I can. 

I can do all these "good" things but if it's not what God wants, then it's not right. 

I had to surrender my girls into the hands of God. They’re not mine; they are His. What better hands to give them to?

Through the pain, I felt relief. I finally had clarity on the restlessness inside of me. I had direction on what God wanted me to be doing.  I now have more focus than I did before. I went on a solitude retreat this past weekend to listen. He reiterated what He had already been saying:

Focus, Sarah, focus. The task before you is big. You need to prepare yourself. Focus.

Since then, I’ve been looking at my life and asking God, “what else?”. God, what else is in the way of You right now? What else is distracting me from Your purpose?  God, help me strip all of that away and be completely focused on You. 

He hasn’t given clear answers on that yet but, here I wait: ear pressed closely to His mouth and waiting to hear.

Saturday, September 8, 2012

Stories of the Abused

In the past two weeks, two girls opened up their lives to me…and my heart is still breaking.


Tears streamed down her face as I held her.

“What things did she say to you?”, I asked.

“I…can't...”, she replied, breaking down into fresh sobs.

She explained how she had tried everything to make her aunt love her. Some days were good. But nothing could stop the continual verbal and physical abuse. Mentioning the more often bad days made the tears brimming at her eyes spill down her face. All of the effort was for nothing.

As I wiped tears from her face, I felt helpless.


It started when I asked her who she lived with. With the younger kids, I always ask them if they get beaten at home, in an attempt to get a glimpse of how things are really going at home. When she said “yes”, I followed by asking her if they over-beat her. Her tears answered “yes”. When I asked what her mom beats her with, tears rolled down and her tiny frame shook with sobs as she whispered, “stones”. I was so surprised that I asked her to repeat it, praying that I didn't hear her right. After admitting the abuse, she repeatedly begged, “Please don’t tell my mummy that I told you. She will beat me even more. Please, please don’t tell mummy”.

I hate it. I hate injustice. I hate abuse. I hate seeing the pain of my girls as they are so often mistreated. I hate sin. I hate how it takes over lives. I hate the effect of it, as it spills onto everyone around. I hate knowing that these aren't the only ones being mistreated. I hate knowing that so many girls are overworked, overbeaten and uncared for. Tears brimmed my eyes as I held them and I choked back sobs. Oh, God, what can be done?

There was nothing that I could do. No solutions to offer. No quick fix. No answer to the heartbreaking problem.

As much as I wanted to wrap them in my love, I know how small my love is. I feel protective of these girls and feel like Mama Bear when I hear of their hurts and struggles. However, my Mama Bear love is no match for God's Abba love.

I remember when God showed me Himself as my Daddy. I was 13. God gave me a vision of running to Him, pigtails flailing, and jumping in His lap like a little girl. I melted into His embrace, feeling loved and secure in His arms. It brought a depth and intimacy to my relationship with God that I cherish to this day. It is that love that I pray for these girls. As much as our earthly parents are sinful humans, Abba isn’t. No, He is the Daddy that we’ve dreamed of. He will never fail. He will never leave or abandon us. He won’t abuse us. He will love us through our unfaithfulness. He will comfort us and heal our wounds. He will hold us in His arms, knowing us completely and yet grace over flowing.

Oh Abba, help these girls. They are Yours. Hold them in Your arms. Show them that with You, they don’t need to earn Your love.  God, I know that if I feel like my heart will burst out with love for them that Yours is even greater. I know that the outrage that I feel about their abuse is nothing compared to Yours. Oh God, help them draw closer to You and see that you are their Abba.