Thursday, August 30, 2012

Getting His Grip

In my last blog, I wrote about the contrast of cultures and moments that sent my head spinning and body whirling. I don't think I'm through with that. And there are stories I didn't get to tell you in the midst of traveling.

I need to turn these images replaying in my head into words so that the Word of Truth can wash them clean.

The day before I left South Africa, Nandi showed up.

She'd been missing for three weeks, and she did what she does when she's ready to be found by me. She turned up, folded into a long-legged pile of shame, and covered in dirt in the shadows of Ten Thousand Homes' feeding program. She only comes when she's out of options.

Nandi had worn out her welcome everywhere. She looked hollow - too broken to maintain her practiced, hardened, street-child mask. No words. Only nods. But she said she was ready to go home.

Through translators, I explained I was leaving and wouldn't be able to find her or rescue her. I held her hand and hoped much more than I trusted that God would hold that hand and protect that 11-year old body for the next two months.

There was no place to go but her mother's house - and I knew it wouldn't be pretty.

I prayed loud over that mountain and down that dirt road while she trembled with terror, knowing was she was being delivered into. Knowing what I was delivering her into.

Helpless and almost hopeless, we stood at the door, neither one of us wanting to cross into that threshold of what I couldn't even fathom and what I wish Nandi never had to know. Nandi's mother opened the door enough to stick her head out and cast a glare that said, "What are you doing here? I don't want you."

Nandi's 11.


Before I knew it , the yard filled with angry children. They were screaming at Nandi for stealing money from them three weeks ago when she had run away. The equivalent of $2.50. They didn't miss a beat.

I was the only English-speaker.
And the only one on Nandi's side.
I didn't understand much - but I understood Nandi's mother giving the neighborhood children permission to beat Nandi.
And then it's probably be her turn to do the same thing - to pay for the shame she brought home with her.

Nandi's tears betrayed her.
Her grip tightened on my hand.
She hid behind me as her fear turned into wailing. The kind of sound a child shouldn't be able to produce.
The cries were hidden under the shouts of the children and the laughter of Nandi's mother.

It had become a game.
Nandi's body, heart and mind were being used as a dance floor for demons.
The battle rages on with the most vulnerable on the front lines - hoping for somebody to stand there with them and hold their hands. 

I stood there and held her hand. And I felt helpless.

I was leaving the country, and my presence in that yard was only escalating the situation.
I had to go. And there was nowhere else for Nandi. Not even a church or social services were available to help this beautiful, angry little girl.

All manners, culture and language barriers aside, I looked death in the eye and almost lost my grip. No options. No help. I couldn't reach hope. I cornered Nandi's mother and let the wrath of injustice shoot out of my mouth like bullets.


I had to go.

I remember where every tear streaked down that dirty face.
I remember what it sounded like in that yard. 
I remember what it felt like to peel each little dark brown finger off of mine. 

I had to go.

I drove off in time to see the children crowd Nandi against the wall, with her mother watching approvingly.

I peeled Nandi's hands off of mine to leave her to be beaten, to be mistreated, and without a person on this earth to find her or defend her. 

I prayed loud and hard and angry as I gripped the steering wheel that drove me further and further away from the yard where Nandi was under evil's grip.
I asked Him to help pray my fingers off of these precious lives I was flying away from - for Him to help me believe they wouldn't slip through His fingers while I was gone.
I asked Him to help me believe His Kingdom was coming there - that there was some sovereignty in that moment that haunts me.
I begged for the day when every tear from every eye would be wiped away. When justice would touch down like a tornado and destroy the brokenness that makes children run, mothers laugh and violence erupt.

When is Your Kingdom coming?
And what does it look like in that yard?

Days later I descended into a seemingly opposite reality.
A place where family gathered to rejoice and celebrate God's faithfulness. The joining of two people who stand for community and social justice.
Love was reckless and ushered in a pleasure, celebration and delight I couldn't even remember a few days before that.

I left the story of a running away to enter the story of running to. 

I left prying off fingers to joining hands and lives. 

I watched and prayed and stood with a bride getting dressed in pure white, robed in righteousness, Truth and grace, radiant in His promises.
A world away from arms raising in violence, my arms raised in prayer, praise, and right on cue for the flashmob dance.

I cat-called semi-inappropriately as the groom kissed the bride.
And I remembered the promises of the Bridegroom coming - running - to kiss His Bride. 

Nandi might never board a plane to see a wedding or experience the beauty and holiness of that innocent kiss. But I have to believe that Jesus, our Bridegroom, is going to run into her yard first and kiss away those dirty tears. 

Nandi may never spend a day surrounded by people painting her toenails, pinning flowers into her hair and dressing her in extravagance. But I have to believe that she is being held, prepared, protected, and dressed. I have to believe the Bridegroom will protect her - and those of us who've tasted and seen what it means to be a part of such a tremendous wedding celebration have the ability and responsibility to stand and believe. 

I believe in the Wedding. 
I believe in the Kingdom coming when I can't even see it. 
I believing in losing my grip to be gripped by His.
I believe in holy hands big enough to carry justice, mercy, hope and healing. 
I believe that our hands - held wide open - get to help dress the Bride and get to bring the Wedding Day closer. 
I believe that wherever we are, we're getting ready for the Wedding - whether our hands are holding flowers or wiping tears. 
I believe He's coming for and already holding Nandi. And me. And you. 
I believe in hearts and hands joining and saying, "I do."


  1. All I can say is my heart is broken and oh how I wish this go go and ja ja were there to hold Nandi in my arms, feed her, love her and show her how much the Father loves her.

  2. My heart is in line with yours and His, and I'm praying desperately for Nandi. I met her in 2009 at Mama Victoria's when she was living with her. I have a million questions... but thank you. Thank you for being there, or here, and loving her. xx

  3. Kacy,
    I have followed your blog and been happy and mad and sad and frustrated.
    I do not have a clue what this child could be experiencing. Can she believe there is a father,a parent, who does not want to hurt her?
    Thank you for your love and careing and believing,even when there seems no hope JoAnn

  4. Oh Kacy... Oh Nandi... I couldn't help but break out into a loud cry for this baby girl. How strong you are Kacy to stand in these situations with hope, still. I know that strength has to come from God. You are beautiful, God's light consumes you for all to see. What a special day today is... Happy Birthday... I am so thankful God created you and even more thankful you share what He is doing with people. God is smiling down on His creation (you) today. I love you girl. Keep going. Keep loving. Keep hoping.

  5. wow...I have no words. Just a very broken heart for Nandi. Thank you for loving so much and so deeply. You looked great in the wedding by the way.