It’s been on of those weeks where everything seems to be running low.
This isn’t a whining, woeful story to start your weekend off with a good cry. This is my running trail. This is me trying to overcome all of the parts that feel like they’re running low by proclaiming Truth. I want to proclaim it to you. I want you to proclaim it with me.
There are seasons of abundance and seasons that feel more like a drought. Right now, resources are running low. In the past weeks, Ten Thousand Homes’ general funding to keep our homes and space for discipleship, as well as our most basic ministry costs has run low.
The gas in our ministry vehicle is running low.
The gas for our kitchen stove and the ones for our feeding programs are running low.
The finances we use to pay local workers has run dry.
Even the international donations for our weekly feeding programs significantly decreased this week.
On Thursday, I handed out plate-by-plate, plate-by-plate, plate-by-plate…
Those perfectly brown and hungry-for-hope eyes just kept coming.
The line wrapped around the big tree and then around the house. It seemed like a new set of hands would come every time I placed a plate in one.
Plate-by-plate, I prayed for more with every plate.
Finally, I began to watch the pots run low.
Plate-by-plate served less and less.
Until I had to tell 30 empty tummies that we’d run out.
And then watch them scrape, lick and fight over the bottom of the pots.
Their little bodies running on empty. My heart broken by the sound of hungry, trampling feet around a pot.
On Tuesday, I went to visit 22-year old Mama Charity and her 4 babies 4-years old and under. As we approached, so did two men in uniform who came to clear out the furniture in her borrowed shack. The only thing she owned in the world, she couldn’t pay for.
I glimpsed into the empty shack – no food, no furniture.
Hope ran low in both of us as she stopped trying to hold her head up under the weight of the overcoming tears.
I looked down with this weeping woman, dressed in a bed sheet. I’ve watched the skin of her stomach stretch far and round, most likely carrying the newest joy, the newest burden, the newest mouth, only 10 months after the last one. Culturally, a woman, especially a woman who is running low on everything, doesn’t speak of a new life until it’s here. You don’t ask; you don’t speak; you don’t name – just in case.
I ran out of words. I wondered what ran through her mind. I wondered if it would get dangerous – if she would completely run out of hope.
She said she just needed a break.
So I scooped up the three children who were not breastfeeding, put them in my car and took them to our feeding program. And then back to my house for a slumber party.
|Me with 3 of Mama Charity's 4 children|
Those perfect babies – low on nutrition and affection. I tried to load them with protein and vegetables, only to watch it run straight out of their tiny non-absorbing bodies.
A worthy attempt that left them laughing and running…. And me running low on toilet paper, Pampers, and laundry soap.
This week I don’t think I’ve been bowing low in exalting awe. I’ve been crumbling low under the exhausting weight of running… dry, empty, out.
Doesn’t HE get tired from all of this running low?
Didn’t HE feel how heavy Mama Charity’s tears were?
Didn’t HE hear how loud those tummies grumbled?
Didn’t HE weigh the hair-pulling stress of our leadership, trying to steward tiny resources wisely for the safety and protection of the staff and the ones we are here to serve?
“Do you not know? Have you not heard? The Lord is the everlasting God, the Creator of the ends of the earth. He will not grow tired or weary, and his understanding no one can fathom.” – Isaiah 40:28
It’s just right now. It’s just this life. It’s just today’s adversity.
“…In this world you will have trouble. But take heart! I have overcome the world.” John 16:33b
Some days it runs low, and some days it overflows.
This day is only a breath, a whispered memory of an eternity of breaths and todays.
“All men are like grass, and all their glory is like the flowers of the field. The grass withers and the flowers fall, because the breath of the Lord blows on them. Surely the people are grass. The grass withers and the flowers fall, but the word of our God stands forever.” Isaiah 40:6b-8
So today I will say, “Thank you.”
Today I will say, “I love you.”
When there’s enough, I say thank you. When there’s not, I say thank you.
Because HE is good. His faithfulness, His love, HE never change.
“Jesus Christ is the same yesterday and today and forever.” Hebrews 13:8
Thank you for the place I have to live and the people I have to live with.
Thank you that when someone runs low, someone has enough to share.
Thank you that the more I share, the more there is.
Thank you for the hundreds of children we COULD feed this week.
Thank you that it’s not about our hands, our plates, or our money.
Thank you for Mama Charity, new life, and her precious babies.
Thank you that healing can come through chicken, vegetables and a beanbag.
Thank you for bathtub toys and extra sheets.
No matter what temporary-tomorrow brings, it will soon become a story about yesterday.
But Jesus... Blood and water ran from His body as he hung high, going lower than low to overcome death. He will always be alive.
He came. He’s here. He’s coming.
Yesterday. Today. Forever.
“Because of the Lord’s great love we are not consumed, for his compassions never fail. They are new every morning; great is your faithfulness.” Lamentations 3:22-23
Maybe this is it.
This next verse of Lamentations.
I’m going to write it. I want to mean it.
To hear. To know. To say. To live…
“I say to myself, ‘The Lord is my portion; therefore I will wait for him.”
And for my heart to beat out this one…
“But he said to me, ‘My grace is sufficient for you, for my power is made perfect in weakness.’ Therefore I will boast all the more gladly about my weaknesses, so that Christ’s power may rest on me. That is why, for Christ’s sake, I delight in weakness, in insults, in hardships, in persecutions, in difficulties. For when I am weak, then I am strong.” 2 Corinthians 12:9-10
Thank you for making me weak.
Thank you for being my strength.
I choose to run in You.