Nine months ago I wrote a blog post about my husband…He Left His Heart in Haiti. This past week I was fortunate enough to have the opportunity to experience Haiti with him.
If I’m completely honest, I wanted to leave by the end of the first day. I was emotionally and physically exhausted. All of my fears were coming to the forefront. I did not feel the same passion for the people of Haiti as my husband, sister, brother-in-law, and stepmom. They had all been before and had built relationships with many of the villagers already. Here’s what I found most difficult that first day…feeling as if I lived in the shadow of others who had already been.
My dear friends, 4 girls I meet with weekly, encouraged me so much before I left for Haiti. In the midst of my feelings of inadequacy, their words captured my heart and I remembered what they had told me…”God calls some to action, to sit in the spotlight, to direct. He calls others to sacrifice for the sake of others; to lead with a servant’s heart.” They continuously told me that I was doing God’s work and obeying Him by serving and sacrificing for Joey.
When Joey was first asked if he’d like to go to Haiti, I was jealous. I wanted to go. I wanted to experience a mission trip again. We all know how “good” it makes one feel to experience a mission trip. Joey was set to “build some beds and love on some kids.” But, I knew God was pulling at my heart to step aside so that He could work in him and bring about brokenness.
There’s a point at which our relationship with Christ becomes our own. As we grow up, we are under the direction and influence of our parents. Many times our relationship with Christ is under the umbrella of our parents. I remember after my mom passed, my relationship with The Lord, very quickly, became my own. I felt the same with Joey. He was a new Christian when we first met, he was in the midst of seeking God. My relationship with the Lord became his relationship. It was always “our” relationship, as a married couple, with Christ at the center. But after Joey’s first trip to Haiti I began to see a personal relationship develop between Joey and the Lord. It was difficult on me because I wanted to be a part of it. I clearly heard God call me to “step aside” …but to encourage Joey, pray for him, and to sacrifice for him by serving him. I allowed him to “go and experience” and to love on the people of Haiti.
It has been difficult to be in the shadows. It was difficult to enter a village who knew and loved my husband so deeply; to be in the shadow of Jean, Sara, and Brian who have all been multiple times and have such a calling for the people of Haiti. However, by the second day, I fell in love with the people in the village. I developed relationships with so many of them as they opened their hearts to me. Every morning I was greeted with a big smile from everyone. The VBS we prepared also changed my perspective. Watching my little sister love on a people who have been a part of her life for years rejuvenated my heart. The children loved learning about Jesus and having a place where they could love openly and laugh freely. My heart felt complete joy sharing God’s love with the Village. I realized it wasn’t what I was doing, but what HE was doing…is doing. The entire trip my mind kept going back to Romans 3:23-24….a verse I’ve heard over and over throughout my life. This verse continues to be on my mind…
“For all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God, and are justified freely by His grace through the redemption that came by Christ Jesus.”
I know where I am called and I know what Christ has called me to do for the sake of His name. It was a joy to watch My family lead and be used beyond what they ever imagined. I am able to sit on the outside and watch and see God work. We all question if we “did enough”, “lead enough”, or guided enough hearts to Him. We question whether the group of children who gave their hearts to Christ “really meant it”. We question if they “really understand?” We wonder if they “walked to the front of the church because they wanted to follow their friends, or Christ.” God rejoiced in heaven when all of His little ones walked effortlessly and innocently to the front of the church; maybe not understanding the fullness of what they were doing, but they walked forward. They opened their hearts to someone who they know is bigger than their hurts, their hunger, and their pain. God works through us and HE captures their hearts. He leads them to deeper knowledge of Himself and His love for them. We are simply called to share His love. I left the village with the knowledge that I learned more about God’s love and less about what I did for Him. What a blessing it is to be in the midst of seeing God work in the lives of this sweet village. I am forever changed.