This photo is one of my favorites. It’s a favorite because I feel like it captures my heart so well. Taken by Matt Engelking on our last trip to Haiti, I still remember so vividly every detail that surrounded me that day. We were in the midst of a village and within minutes people surrounded us. Hundreds of people came pushing and shoving their way in knowing that we had brand new pairs of shoes in tow. We tried to have them form a line but that didn’t last very long and we were very unsuccessful. Our vision and desire was to wash each persons feet and pray over them before we handed them a brand new pair of shoes. I remember being overwhelmed but I kept holding the tears back and just trying to find my place in the midst of the crowd. The chaos began to steal my joy and I questioned this moment. I decided to relieve one of our team members and wash feet for a while. It was crazy. There were so many people and not enough shoes. And people just kept coming. I would be washing one child’s feet and before I was done, another child was placed before me. I got a couple words that I could manage out of my mouth to pray over them but I still let the chaos rob me of what Jesus was actually doing in the moment. I fought tears. I felt so overwhelmed. We had a vision for this time and by the natural eye it seemed unsuccessful. My heart was screaming, “I just want to make a difference” while voices in my head said “why are you even here?” And in that moment I didn’t know and I couldn’t see. I stepped back from the feet washing line to the center and just allowed myself to breathe as I was overtaken by the crowd. I closed my eyes and a small hand placed theirs on mine. I opened my eyes and it was a beautiful little girl that looked up at me with her big brown eyes. She didn’t weigh probably more than 25 pounds and was probably almost five years old. She was so skinny and her body lacked so much nutrition. She felt like she was running a fever and didn’t feel good. She had gotten lost in the crowd and shoved into the center. Her legs were beaten up with wounds and her feet lacked shoes. I picked her up in my arms and sat her on my lap and she just fell into me. Ya’ll this moment changed me. I was able to push all distraction out and but for a moment wrap my arms around her and pray. I may not have changed her circumstances that day but her circumstances changed my life. I prayed for her little body, her life, her future, her family. I prayed she would have food to eat and clean water to drink. I prayed that she would grow up and know Jesus and live a life that served His name. I prayed that God would use her little life to change her Nation. As I sat there, I remember for me it was a moment where God was encouraging my heart and helping me to see it’s about the relationships and lives he places in our path. We can get so busy with the “stuff” and the plans and before we know it we have missed opportunities to change someone’s life forever.
To be honest it’s taken me a few months to look back and see the moments like these that changed me. I felt like a failure that day. I felt like the chaos was overwhelming and my heart wanted to give up. I mean I knew the need was great in these villages but the deeper part of my heart wanted these people so desperately to know Jesus and the power He held for their lives. I wanted them to know that a relationship with Him could change their life forever. And when I was about to count this day as a loss, Jesus reminded me that in the midst of chaos and distraction, there is life and He can be found. It’s not about my way and how I want to do things but about how His plan will be fulfilled in and through those that are willing to be used by Him.
It’s moments like these why I do what I do. Starting a ministry 3 1/2 years ago was one of the hardest things I have ever done. I have seen much harder days than I have successful days. I’ve wanted to give up and quit. I’ve questioned every bit of my calling and if I even heard the Lord’s voice right. I’ve faced adversity and the opinions of others that almost broke me. But it’s the moments in the midst of chaos that keep me going. That give me the strength to fight for one life, one heart, and one soul to know Jesus.
You see, the apostles defined success so much different than we do today. We want the “success” that makes us feel good, that others approve of, and the moments when our plans succeed. But success is so different in the eyes of Jesus.
“Then they left the presence of the council rejoicing that they were counted worthy to suffer dishonor for the name.” -Acts 5:41
They defined success as being beaten and charged. Wow. They were infused with the Holy Spirit and so for them success looked different. At the end of the day, the only thing that matters is you and Jesus. If the Gospel is lived out and God is glorified, you win.
If you find yourself in the midst of chaos, hold close to Jesus my sweet friend. I promise you He is there. You way not see Him in the way your visible eye wants to see Him but look beyond and you will find Him.