Friday, August 3, 2012

Party Manic

Last time I wrote, I talked about celebrating. And then I promised to share birthday stories with you.

I promise… They’re still coming! You’re as much a part of these moments as the little icing-smeared faces I get to giggle with. It’s that “known” thing – you knowing the stories is part of my story and, more importantly, His.

But before birthday stories, we’ve got to talk about yesterday.

Yesterday was a true celebration.
Yesterday, I could have been diagnosed as a sanctified, situational, and Spirit-filled stated of mania.

(Couldn't resist my therapist roots - putting that education to good use!)

Yesterday I got to be a part of heaven on earth.

See… Wha’ Had Happened Was…

At the beginning of this year, I met Neli.
A 20-year old girl raising her 4 younger siblings, ages 2 – 17.
All sick. No money. No support. No food. No hope.

Two-year old Lethu would just fall asleep on you, starving for touch and nutrition.
Nine-year old Mpendulo would only grin the squeakiest, meekiest smile. The man of the house who doesn’t even realize he still sucks his thumb.
The three older sisters, Neli, Pepile and Thuli, kept their heads down, giggled nervously, and prayed for electricity so the neighbors would stop chiding.

Neli stays home from school to raise Lethu, and was spending her days trying to keep the rest of the shame tucked in the one-room house with a useless door.
They didn’t even have a proper toilet. They just dug a shallow hole in the ground, making hygiene and dignity impossible.
All 5 piled onto a queen-sized bed, coughing contaminated coughs with no capacity to dream about tomorrow as they drifted off into a hungry sleep.

Lethu standing on the very beginnings of the construction site. That room in the background was their home.

God was never blind to Neli’s family. He’s always loved them completley. But when the Family of God started praying, uniting on behalf of His own, He could not be unmoved. If you prayed for Neli, or if you start praying for Neli today, you get to be a part of this party. You get to be a party of this victory, this Home, this hope.

Everything’s different because of it.

One day at the feeding program, Mpendulo used a stick to
write in the dust, "Do You Love Me?"
Lethu giggles with open arms, demanding to be held because she now knows she was made to be held.
Mpendulo asks for his first-ever birthday hugs, kisses and candles. He asks to be loved.
Neli broke every cultural rule, and let us all the way in to her house, her pain and her heart. Two weeks ago, Marise took her hand and walked with her into salvation and the Kingdom of God.

I shopped yesterday. For 3 hours.
(I HATE shopping.)
But I was shopping to stock a new house, knowing and believing that we were going to fill the heavenly Home that day.
I floated from shop to shop, rattling off the story to every employee who would listen and giving thanks in between. Employees started opening up their own wallets to bring hope and home.

Yesterday we didn’t just present four walls and a roof to five hungry kids.
We celebrated the Body of Christ bringing Hope and Homes in every way possible – physically, spiritually, emotionally, eternally.

Just look...

I’m not a party maniac.
I don’t do parties for the sake of a party.
I suck at small talk. There’s just so many big thing to talk about.
I get over-stimulated.

But I get party manic when I’m celebrating a Kingdom-coming victory.
When the joy and the zeal are heaven-fueled, and when the talk just cannot be small.

I believe in partying with a purpose.

I believe that, yesterday, we didn’t just celebrate beds and walls and roofs and electricity and popcorn and cake.

We had a Welcome Home party.

Welcome to the Kingdom of God, Neli.
Welcome to knowing God sees you and hears you and responds to you.

You don’t have to be the Man of the house, Mpendulo.
Your Father is home with you.
He’ll be your security behind that new security gate and tuck you in and under the covers of your very own bed.

And you. You belong in this holy house too. You were designed to be known, loved and filled to overflow by the Father who will not disappoint you and who only wants your affection. 
By accepting that invitation, by believing in Him, you have everything it takes to build hope and home in everyone you encounter. 

Make today a party today. 

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