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Archive for August, 2012

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“You’re coming back tomorrow, aren’t you?” Miranda looked at me anxiously, almost daring me to say no.

“Yes, I’m coming back tomorrow,” I reassured her.

“You promise? You won’t forget me?” My heart stopped as I caught a glimpse of vulnerability in her face for just a brief moment.

How could I forget this independent and willful twelve-year-old girl with the flashing dark eyes? Though I had only just met Miranda that day at the Christian children’s home in southeast Asia, my heart was already connected with her.

Miranda had lived at this home for abused and neglected children for a few years already, with her older brother and sister. She tried to give a tough image, boasting about fights she got into with her friends when they made her mad. But in my brief time with her on that first day, as we played Scrabble in the library of the children’s home, Miranda began to let down her guard a bit. Each time she spelled out a new word on the board, she grew in confidence. She even smiled a few times!

But when she asked me to promise that I would come back, I hesitated. I didn’t know how to respond. Though I don’t know Miranda’s whole story, I know that these children at the home have experienced much rejection, disappointment, and hurt in their young lives. The last thing a girl like Miranda needs is more broken promises.

I was planning to come back the next day, but what if something happened and I couldn’t keep my promise? Though I wanted to assure Miranda that I would never disappoint her, that would be unfair to her. The fact is, I’m human. Even with the best of intentions, at some point I probably WILL disappoint others.

The best thing I can do for Miranda is to point her to the One who will never disappoint her. Only God will never break His promises. Even when others fail, He will never let her down. Psalm 105:8 says “He remembers his covenant forever, the word he commanded, for a thousand generations” (NIV).

“You won’t forget me?” Miranda was still waiting.

“I won’t forget you,” I smiled. “I will see you tomorrow.” And I prayed silently that the Lord would give me the words to communicate with this precious girl of the faithfulness and love of her Heavenly Father – the One who will never forget her.

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Balancing a stack of dirty dishes and silverware, I was on my way to the kitchen when Diego and Giovanni intercepted me.

“Let us carry those for you, Michelle,” Giovanni smiled, taking the plates from me.

“But it’s my turn to do dishes today,” I protested.

“Yeah, but we want the dishes to make it to the kitchen in one piece,” laughed Diego.

“I can always tell when Michelle is on dish duty,” jumped in Daniel, “by the sounds of plates breaking and glasses shattering!” The others in the dining hall of the Central American Bible school chuckled as my face turned red. Smiling weakly, I slunk into the kitchen, humiliated.

My clumsiness was a running joke among the students and staff. All eyes seemed to be on me when I was carrying something precarious, waiting for the inevitable catastrophe. “Don’t fall, Michelle! Don’t trip! Don’t break that!” my fellow students would call out. That only made me more nervous and self-conscious, and then I was more likely to fulfill their expectations!

Though I would laugh along when others made jokes about me being “accident-prone” or a “klutz,” I started to identify with those labels, accepting the fact that everyone expected me to fail.

But I’m not defined by others’ opinions. God has redeemed me out of that place of shame and given me a new name. I don’t have to identify with the labels of “clumsy” and “a klutz” anymore. He says I’m a beloved daughter, adopted into His royal family, given honor and treated with grace. Isaiah 6:2 says, “The nations will see your righteousness, And all kings your glory; And you will be called by a new name, Which the mouth of the Lord will designate” (NASB).

I still sometimes drop things, break things, spill things, or trip over my own feet. But now when friends laugh and make comments about it, I just smile and say I’m trying to slow down and be more careful. I’ve forgiven those in the Central American Bible school who labelled me a klutz, and I’ve rejected those false labels of shame and being untrustworthy. I’m learning to embrace my “new name” that the Lord has given me – “full of grace.”

Going Vertical!
MJ

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