For many years now, the story of the little girl in Mark 5, has been very precious to my heart (hence the name of my blog). This past weekend, I decided to go back and read all of Mark, chapter 5. As I read the title, “A Girl Restored to Life and a Woman Healed,” I could not help but see myself in both images. In this passage, both the little girl and the hemorrhaging woman were given new life.
Before coming to India, I prayed a lot with the image of the little girl, being raised from the dead. I asked the Lord, “Abba, you alone have called me to make this journey to India. You know of my excitment, at a life long dream coming true, but also of the many fears and questions that come with this decision. Will you show me how you are calling me to die (to self) while there, so that you may then say to me, ‘Talitha Koum!,’ and raise me to a new life in you?” I knew that this experience was going to stretch and mold my heart in ways it has never experienced before. As with all situations though, the idea of that change, terrified and excited me all at one time.
It wouldn’t take long for Him to begin showing me the areas of my heart that were being stretched. It hasn’t stopped either. And I also think that it will continue to shape who I am, for the rest of my life. What an experience of a lifetime this has been! I can’t wait to see the ways that this experience will shape my life, once I am back in the States.
When I got here, I experienced what I would imagine is, typical culture shock. The way of life here is different in so many ways. The poverty I have seen here, is unlike a poverty I could have ever imagined seeing. The culture, which we try to enter into, was so difficult to accept and live out, every day. With all of this change came the human reaction of denial or rejection…because I didn’t like it. It made me uncomfortable. There were moments of pain and sadness. All of this because He heard me and was showing me, “how you are calling me to die… .”
I have struggled while being here, to remain centered in the present and not focusing too much on the future; which is never guaranteed to us anyways. Will I be nannying again? Will I decide to get my STNA certification? Will I be called to do youth ministry? I discerned I was called to marriage, yet I am living in India? What is God thinking?
I see myself doing well and loving each of these choices, but then I think about the kiddos here and what we will be doing in the next day or two. Then a “career” seems much less important to try and figure out, while being on the other side of the world. I am praying about what He desires me to do next, but really, I am learning there is not much I can plan from India. Just one more example of Him showing me how to die; to focus on the two words I have prayed with from day one, trust and surrender.
About two weeks ago, I had a conversation with someone about deciding on a career for when I leave. It wasn’t the best decision to listen to them. I basically spent the whole week telling myself what a disappointment I was and that I am wasting my life here. I let Satan, through the words of someone close to me, talk me down to a point of total self destruction. Then, by God’s grace, He changed my mind in a matter of three minutes!
That next morning, I was working with the one little girl I have worked one-on-one with since coming, in January. She didn’t talk when I came and it was a struggle to get her to follow my directions, even in that, I saw her changing. She now runs to me every morning, taking my hand and leading me to where we do, “circle time,” as a home. Then, she immediately grabs my hand, when I sign to her that circle time is all finished, and pulls me to the cupboard where the supplies are for our individual work time.
This particular morning, she talked! She participated in saying kids names, she said teachers names, colors, and most precious of all to me, she said my name as she put her hand under my chin to say, “Hi, Jacqui!” My heart! In that moment, I realized that if for nothing else, these past two plus months with her, my time has been meaningful. My being here has a purpose, much more important than choosing a career from across the ocean. The Lord brought me to new life in just three moments!
When I was praying about the woman touching the hem of Christ’s garment, I thought, “how often has that been me?”
I looked back at times in my life when my heart was hemorrhaging. How many times did I slide my hand through the chaos of the crowd, to simply grasp the hem of His clothes? How many times did His power overwhelm and heal an open and hemorrhaging wound? Each time, He was drawing me deeper and deeper into new life, deeper into a life of faith.
A priest friend once told me that God, as a gentle and loving Father of my heart, wanted to love me from the deepest and bloodiest part of my wounds. He seeks to enter into my pain…to carry me through it. I was so desperate for healing and peace. He wanted to be the one to show and prove to me that I am and can be cherished from within, and despite, my wounds. He shows me new life, in my hemorrhaging heart, through His love.
How does He restore you to life?
Blessed continuation of this Lenten journey, as we await the Resurrection to new life!