Transition Trial Update
Many of you have been praying for me as I’m transitioning back into life here in Uganda without my precious Elisa. Your prayers are felt! While my heart continues to ache without her, God has sustained me far beyond my imagination. And my imagination had gone wild! I had imagined sobbing the entire lonely plane ride back to Uganda. I had imagined dragging myself through each day in tears, paralyzed from ministry by overwhelming grief. Actually, fears about the future had overshadowed the present reality of grace. The day before Elisa and I had left for America, one wise widow reminded me, “God’s grace will be sufficient when you need it, not before.” And that’s been so true. My anticipation of the hardship brought fears of the future that simply were unfounded. Yes, the empty seat at the breakfast table and family nights full of wrestling testosterone remind me of what is missing. But I’ve also gotten to see leaders rise up to take over the gaping holes left by their sister. They are also growing deeper in their friendships with me, not having their sister readily available. And we’ve been counting the days till we see her again to give her the official college send-off in July. God graciously brings an abundance of blessing to outweigh the loss.
Don’t Give up on Her
I gave up on her. I didn’t do it consciously, but apathy began to set in with one of the students who lives in our home on school breaks. I don’t know where my wrong thinking came from—maybe over the years from hearing busy, well-meaning biblical counselors explain their practice of only counseling those who come with their homework done. If the counselee doesn’t follow through, then I don’t meet with them till they are ready to take it seriously. Maybe it came from hearing advice over and over again to set limits and learn to say “no” to extra ministry opportunities. Maybe it came from my own fleshly desires for a more comfortable, slower, easier-paced life. Maybe it came from the Slanderer who whispered the lie in my ear, “You are busy enough with the children who accept your advice; you can disregard this one who doesn’t want it anyway.”
The Slanderer loves it when truth is silenced, and that’s what happened. I began to stop pursuing, to ask fewer questions, and I grew silent with this daughter. I allowed the years of hearing what she wanted me to hear and the countless fake conversations to make me take the approach, I’m done with you. I only disciple the disciple-able.
But was this Jesus’ approach? Jesus spent year after year with disciples who were self-serving, more concerned with the physical than the spiritual, and even cared more about their own sleep than his grief on the brink of death! Did He finally trade them in for disciples who were more receptive? No, He discipled them where they were at. He prayed for them. No doubt, much of the time spent in those early hour prayer sessions was for the hearts of His dear, clueless disciples. Though they must have caused him pain and frustration, He didn’t give up on them, knowing that God hadn’t given up on them. Now, I don’t know what God has in store for this particular daughter, but I do know that God has placed her in my life for a reason…for me to be a mother to her—whether she is receptive right now or not. And who am I to give up on a child when my Father hasn’t given up on me?
These conclusions didn’t hit me overnight—they actually came to my attention yesterday when my two teenage sons brought their concerns for her soul to me. One reminded me, “Mom, don’t you say that moms should be mothers to as many children as possible?” And the other one implored me, “Mom, she needs a friend right now.” To seal the deal, I was in a planning meeting later in the day with a Ugandan friend who brought up this girl’s name, sharing how much love she needs. When I shared my futile attempts, she looked right into my eyes and begged me, “Don’t give up on her.” Ouch. Ok, Lord, I’ve heard your message through three different messengers today. I’ll get back in the battle and persevere in love.
Have you given up on anyone? Anyone you’ve stopped praying for? Anyone you’ve begun to ignore and write off as a hopeless case not worth your precious time? She is still precious in God’s eyes and should be in ours. I spent time this morning begging God to give me His eyes of compassion and to renew my heart with His love so that I can love afresh, despite possible rejection. I’m responsible to speak the truth in love, and by God’s grace, the truth will transform, for “it is the power of God for salvation.”
Keep pressing on, dear sisters!