I’m back! Sitting in my very white apartment with ceilings that touch the sky, at the moment I'm amazed that they never end.
I got back and have been so enjoying every minute with my husband. I don’t think I realized just how hard it was being away from him until we’re now back together again. Amazing how crazy you can be about someone —he’s a pretty incredible human.
I knew I wanted to blog right when I returned so it would be fresh. The stories and moments I heard, I didn’t want them to be forgotten. So many of the things happening in Congo go unshared to the world at large, my jaw is still skimming the floor as I think about the horror.
One of my biggest wrestles right now as I sit with the stories from our dear friends who have suffered so greatly from the massacres in Congo is—
“Where is everybody?”
Why is nothing being done to end this?
Sometimes the stories of war can go to your head. You feel like you’re the only one carrying them and you carry them constantly. Everything you say and do reminds you of one of their faces.
This morning as I pour cold water on my 3 minute soft boiled eggs, I paused at how absolutely blessed I am. Food and water at my finger tips and I thought back to a common story we would ask during our sessions—
“How often do you get to eat?”
The malnourished toddlers playing around our feet as we discussed, still a fresh memory in my mind.
“Maybe 3 or 4 days a week I’ll find food,”
The most frequent answer we heard.
The other day I sat at the feet of Jesus and brought him the stories of war. A very very regular thing for us and one that I’ve shared about in blogs in the past.
The process of moving the stories from your head to his feet. “Letting go” and not trying to play the role of God by carrying pain alone.
Some of the hardest stories for me has still been the women who lost their husbands. Worse yet, how they heard or saw them being slaughtered. Many had to identify their soulmates bodies who, after being chopped into pieces, were put back together by the mortician in order to be recognized.
The distant look in the women’s eyes as they shared a little of what that felt like. My heart still aches as I remember them recalling the flashbacks of the images of the bodies that haunt them in their sleep.
In a sea of tears and tissues I lay them before my God one at a time. The anger is not mine to carry. The pain not mine to hold on to. It’s there I see a picture my God holding them. First he comforts the mamas. The widows. From children lost and husbands lost. The hearts that so desperately need mending.
From there I see what I can only imagine as the victims of the massacres. The men that were described to me over and over again. The father’s that won’t see their children anymore, the sons that can no longer take care of their mothers. And I saw them with my papa God. Smiling and celebrating in a place where pain and sorrow are no more.
The beauty of heaven overtakes them. And my heart finds relief.
Our God who takes care of the orphan and the widow. It’s as if I knew in that moment, not only could those men rejoice because they saw the full goodness of our papa, but also because they knew that that good God was so faithful to watch over their families.
The more war I see, I feel like my heart gets pulled in to God. Though I do often stay with questions, I feel like rather the more I fall in love with my good good father.
I believe that often we can learn more about the goodness of God in the midst of sorrow than in the midst of joy. You get to feel first hand how his love can carry you when you can’t get up on your own. You see that when pain feels so great, his hope is even greater. The fact that there’s any hope sometimes is a miracle as I think back to the long pauses between some stories, as if the vivid memory of the machete stays at the forefront of their minds.
My biggest pondering of late is “how can I do more?”
For the direct victims of the most recent war, we funded those individuals to start small businesses and feed their families. As we shared the news with them on a patch of grass that we called our “office”, they instantly broke out in cheering and one woman threw herself to the grass and kicked her legs in the air, laughing like a giddy school girl.
Hugs were given all around as we took names and went over protocols and procedures. Thank you so much to everyone who gave and made their jobs possible. Their squeals and meals are because of your generosity.
If you’re interested in being a part of their story, you still can! I know I often read blogs of the raw realities and I get frustrated if there’s no outlet for me to help.
Please know that by giving on the website you’ll be receipted and become a part of the beautiful process of rebuilding war affected nations.