I wrote this blog in an airport coming home from Africa last fall. After a hard year I scribbled down a moment that papa and I had had on the plane together and this is what came out. Raw. Very raw, but a simple picture of how my process from war zones and… other pains.
I had kept this tucked away for a long time, occasionally sharing at meetings or church events. But as I gear up for heading out to the nations again, and my team and I dream for conflict areas and how to do life in them… In our process I thought I’d give you a freebie pass behind the curtain. This is my process. The vulnerable kind.
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“I feel a genuine vulnerability from the depths of my core. A comforting yet challenging peace in my inner most being as papa and I begin to look back at the last year.
If feelings were painted in pictures, the scene would be Jesus and I in a plain, empty room with stories scattered across the floor.
Stories of war, stories of pain. Let’s be honest, some stories of disappointment and stories of frustration.
I feel imprisoned with dreams for what love could really do for war zones.
But it’s not that simple. It’s not all glory stories and *poof* there’s transformation! Sometimes there’s a “hashing it out” with Jesus that really hurts.
Papa, they were raped SO many times.
Papa, she’s now losing her mind from the trauma and can’t feed her family.
Papa, they were all massacred.
Papa, they were all tortured.
Papa, where were you? Why didn’t you fight for them?
I was on the plane leaving Africa and my heart started to go there.
My papi… my sweet papi… why didn’t you fight for them??
Maybe we’re not suppose to admit that as Christians but gosh, if I didn’t have those moments, there’d probably be a bigger issue. In my own heart as I process what I see, I usually have to go through every story and get a visual of where he was in the middle of it all.
Where were you in their pain?
And then in seat 18J he came. It was the most raw thing I’d seen in a long time. Jesus, fighting for us at Calvary. With the most determined look in his eyes, he was beaten. And he fought. With a cord weaved with stones, he was whipped. And he fought. A crown of thorns was smashed into his skull. And he fought.
He fought for me. He fought for them. So that she could be free from the pain of her life of rape. He fought.
“For the joy set before him, he endured the cross.”
I saw the look in his eyes, as if the physical pain meant nothing compared to the determination to FIGHT FOR ME. Blood running down his face, his arms. Though they were “taking his life” there wasn’t an ounce of weakness in him. He was fighting for my life.
In his ravishing strength and power. He fought in a way they could not see.
In the midst of war my Jesus fights.
In the midst of torn up vaginas and botched up “hangings”. My Jesus fights.
Through my tears I dare to look at his eyes. Surprisingly, this takes courage. I can’t do the fake smile “I’m ok” with him. I’m utterly stripped with him. Just me and my God in an empty room.
But if I’m going to look at a war zone, conflicts at large, I’m gonna have to look into him first.
But papa, there’s SO MUCH PAIN. There’s so much death. There’s so much sexual mutilation. There’s so much INJUSTICE.
Papa, did you see that soldier? He was so sad. He looked so tired and so hopeless.
Together we cry. And there’s no fighting. Just swollen eyes. But with every tear that falls, I see how badass my beautiful savior really is.
I feel so humbled and so small that he would think to use me. Even when I screw up. Which I do a lot sometimes.
I feel so safe in him. So secure when I look back to where we were. He is the very embodiment of “perfect”, and I get a little bit more of the “no fear needed” thing.
And I scroll through it like a movie or an old-school slide projector. And he is there. When I look at war zones, I don’t see impossibilities. I don’t see hopelessness. I see a savior who fought and won the battle a LONG time ago.
And I see his children, his favorite ones as kids on their daddy’s shoulders, laughing in the freedom he paid for.
Oh, what a beautiful, beautiful, absolutely beautiful savior we really have. I am forever grateful that I get to sit with him among the bombs and bullets and countless stories and be the peace this world so desperately needs.