Wednesday, July 3, 2013

My Africa.

I live in America, specifically in Layton Utah. Down the street, half a mile is a store where I frequent when the fridge has emptied, or let's be honest, when I crave a Mint Milano cookie--instant gratification at arms reach.

My house rooms more space than I use in one day; the square feet of our basement is typically only seen when laundry needs washing, or the flour container needs filling.

Every morning I grind 13 dollar coffee beans because I have grown custom to a beverage without bitter aftertaste. Each sip brings my worldview less from the reality of starving children and dying mamas. I have grown custom to a cup that lacks suffering, a cup proving to be half empty--completely empty.

Reading Katie's story I sit in front of a screen that begins to reek of wasted time. A screen that has become the delusional window to meaning and truth. How is this young woman living on her knees, comforting the last moments of life, mothering the motherless? The screen blurs.

With eyes closed--heaving for air, her tiny fingers touch my wet cheek. I look to my right and she searches my face for answers. Why is mama sad? Because a mama who died left behind four daughters. And that was just one story that paves way to a thousand other mamas who closed their eyes on this life, unable to look over to the children searching for answers of why.

God, why do I live here? Why am I not in Africa holding the babies without a mama?

And as she fell into my lap, lip quivering from confusion, she too began to heave. Holding her close I stop the words of it's ok, the words that would try to comfort, the words that would bring understanding to why mama cries. The innocence of her tears make way for His words to be heard.

My Kingdom is here too. As if each tear of hers are His.

She is you and you are Me. He cries to show the limitless love for me.

And it's in the moments of uncontrolled emotion that my soul becomes still and He is able to turn my face towards Him and speak the hard truth of why I am where I am--why I'm not in Africa holding babies without a mama.

I live in America, specially Layton Utah. Sitting in my office, holding my baby, sharing tears--I brake.

He does not have me in Africa being a mama because He has me being a mama here. The work of fully giving myself to another has broke me--in all that is good, even when the good is not seen. Loving well here will prepare me to love well out there. There is still much work to be done.

Learn to love like I love, in the Africa where you already live. 

Sitting her in the seat next to mine I interlace my finger to pray. With tear stained cheeks she looks at my hands and does the same with hers. The only words I can seem to muster from my mouth are I'm sorry. Details are not needed because He already knows.

My heart is not crippled by the outer extremities--no strings are attached to the things that hold no value; the coffee, my home. It's the lack of grace extended which leaves my cup empty. The lack of patience, when His patience is continually poured out for me. It is the drink of mercy from His cup, extended out to my desert-dry, undeserving mouth. It is His love that is not yet perfectly reflected in me.

The reality of who I am as a mama is why I am here, in the Africa where I already live.

He will feed his flock like a shepherd, he will gather the lambs in his arm, and carry them in his bosom, and will gently lead those that have their young. Isaiah 40:11

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