I moved to Haiti on June 29th of this year. The day before I moved my Granny went to the hospital with a broken rib and a collapsed lung. Later we would find out that the cause was due to stage 4 Metastatic Lung Cancer. The news hit me with brutal force taking the breath right out of my own lungs. I was able to come home for a few weeks to go to Granny’s oncology appointments with her over the summer. When I flew back to Haiti that would be the last time I would see Granny as I always knew her.
Growing up Granny and I were inseparable. She taught me how to love, how to be strong, how to make homemade biscuits, how to pray, and how to give.
As I made arrangements to come home early to be with my grandma before she passed I heard God whisper to me, “there is beauty here.” If I’ve learned anything from living in Haiti or just from walking with God I know that He uses all things. I know that when the sorrow is deep and the hurt is strong God is still there, and he will use that sorrow and hurt for positive purposes. Nothing goes unseen from God’s eyes and unlike our minds that can only comprehend so much, God is able to understand our hearts and the way that they are feeling.
“And we know that all things work together for good to them that love God, to them who are called according to his purpose.” Romans 8:28
“… but we rejoice in our sufferings, knowing that suffering produces endurance, and endurance produces character, and character produces hope, and hope does not put us to shame, because God’s love has been poured into our hearts through the Holy Spirit who has been given to us.” Romans 5:3-5
I guess we all face various seasons in life. Seasons in which we are effortlessly intertwined with God, and seasons where it seems that God is no where to be found.
Right now I’m at home feeling out of place because I should be in Haiti, but you know I think I’m right where I should be. Leaning into the grieving. Leaning into the pain of my family and my own. Leaning into the unknown and the unplanned.
No matter how far I wander from God, no matter how many days I go without praying, no matter how many mornings my Bible remains unopened, no matter how many times my lips do not sing His praise he continues to call me by name, which is “His” (Isaiah 43:1).
I think that life is about connection. Life is about love and loss. It’s about embracing what we have and when we no longer have it carrying on all the things that what we did have taught us. I truly think that everything Jesus has taught me since I chose to give Him my heart can benefit others. I don’t think that I have it all figured out, but when the teenage girls I live with lose sight of their faith I can share from personal experience that no matter how far they wander God is still holding them close.
Living in Haiti I now know that I have been so blessed to have a Granny that loved me so. I’m so blessed to have been raised by her to love God and to love His people. I am so blessed to have been raised with love and compassion and interest. I’m so thankful that God allowed me to go home and tell Granny that I had been missing her before she passed. I am so blessed to have heard her say, “I missed you more.” That was the last thing that she said to me, but I am so blessed to know in my heart without any doubt at all that she loved me. I’m even more blessed that she taught me that even though she loves me, God loves me so much more. He loves me more than I could ever imagine or comprehend.
Recently in following God to Haiti for the year I have often felt that the place where I was at in life was hard or not where I wanted to be. When I came home to be with my grandmother before she passed I felt like that was not where I wanted to be. In the days after Granny went to be with Jesus I felt like being at home with my family was not where I wanted to be. In quieting my loud thoughts I now see that God has me where he needs me. He takes us where he can use us and then he draws us back in and gives us rest. Instead of wasting all of our energy fighting God and His will we should surrender and let him hold us in the exact place where he has put us. So many times I am like Jacob wrestling God and when I do finally accept what He has given me it’s because I am exhausted in all forms of the word. I pray that with every wave of life we learn to trust Him more and more. I pray that we would not have a faith that turns from God with every blow from life, but instead would find comfort in the arms of our loving, loving Father. The Father who formed us and knows us in the most sincere way we will ever be known, and who loves us without condition or end.
Lord I pray that You will show us the beauty and who You are in all stages of life. Jesus I pray that when we cannot see that You would hold us and give us Your eyes. God please help us to not waste any event in our lives, but instead to turn to You and Your love. You are so good to us. You never leave us or forsake us, even in times when it may feel that way. Thank you for Earthly grandmas that allow us to taste some of your glory. Thank you for love in the fragile human form we experience. Thank you for how you bless us so God, even when we are unaware of what you are working together for our good.