When I Am Weak, Then I Am Strong [week 4]

6/22/2016

As we get older our answer to the question, “What do you want to be when you grow up?” is supposed to get more practical.

Astronaut, president, and princess no longer cut it.

But, if you were to ask me what I wanted to do when I grow up, and if I were to answer honestly, I’d tell you that…

I want to change the world.

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Difference Maker by Needtobreathe

You cannot unsee the things you’ve seen or unhear the words you’ve heard. You cannot unknow the information you’ve learned or undo your heart from the things it’s grown to love.

I’ve seen kids wearing the same clothes three days in a row. I’ve seen them scarf down a full meal and ask for seconds and thirds. I’ve seen fists swinging from one child to the next, from one adult to another. I’ve seen tears, scowls, and anger. I’ve seen people begging for change. I’ve seen filthy bodies clothed in raggedy clothes.

I’ve heard women being called degrading names. I’ve heard children using words they shouldn’t even know. I’ve heard yelling, screaming, and crying. I’ve heard racial slurs and hate words. I’ve heard stories of broken families and criminal records.

I know that Milwaukee is among the top five cities in the nation for human trafficking. I know that the food I feed the kids at work may be their only meal of the day. I know that when they leave summer camp they may be stepping into an unsafe and scary environment. I know that there are homeless people on nearly every street corner in the city.

My heart is broken to pieces for these kids. My heart hurts for the men and women selling their bodies to make ends meet. My heart is heavy for the perpetrators and victims of violence in this city. My heart is crushed for those who know park benches to be some kind of ‘home.’

The more time I spend here in Milwaukee, the harder it gets and the more my desire to change the world grows. I’m daily experiencing firsthand a brokenness like never before. My heart grows heavier, because the kids and this city have weaseled their way into my heart and squished it like bug.

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During my weekly date night with Jesus I filled pages upon pages with questions:

“Why am I still struggling with my past? Why is there so much brokenness in the world? Why do people sell their children to the sex trade? Why are people killing each other? Why are people hungry and going without?”

Those pages of my journal were filled with anger and sadness… a pain that I couldn’t seem to find healing for as I looked in all the wrong places.

This left me feeling defeated and despaired, because I so desperately want to change these kid’s lives, the city of Milwaukee, and the whole world. The disheartening reality of this dream is that I can’t. I can’t change a kid’s life, let alone an entire city or planet.

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This is where I found myself during discipleship with Ashlinn (always a very fruitful time). I’ve been praying that God would break me down to my rawest self and draw me close to Him for quite some time now. What I’ve shared above is an answer to that prayer.

Our conversation began with anger and hopelessness regarding my circumstances in a couple different areas. I was exhausted in every sense, feeling like God had put me through the ringer for two weeks straight. Questions circled my head, and after about three hours I sat in front of my sister in Christ the most vulnerable, broken down version of myself that I’ve ever been.

I wrote, “I am not the Judge. I am not in control. I am not perfect. I cannot do supernatural things with my natural strength. I am not God.”

With tears running down my cheeks, I sat at the foot of the cross completely humbled and weak. All I could do was surrender my whole self to Jesus- to give up my desire for control, knowing that it was the reason for my despair, and trust that He is the only Way.

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2 Corinthians 12:9-10 says,

“But he said to me, ‘My grace is sufficient for you, for my power is made perfect in weakness.’ Therefore I will boast all the more gladly about my weaknesses, so that Christ’s power may rest in me. That is why, for Christ’s sake, I delight in weaknesses, in insults, in hardships, in persecutions, in difficulties. For when I am weak, then I am strong.” 

Okay, this is awesome for a couple different reasons. First and foremost, the Lord has demonstrated His strength and power throughout this entire time of hardship and weakness. I saw two people come to Christ, shared my faith in situations I had never been in, was continually blessed by the friends I have on mission, and ultimately grew closer and deeper in my relationship with the Lord. Secondly, the last sentence is my tattoo. 🙂

Because my identity is in Jesus- because I am not a product of my environment, but of the hand of God, I can find joy even in the midst of trial. This joy isn’t man made, it isn’t found in other people or things, but solely in Jesus Christ. It is everlasting, never failing, and entirely pure.

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This is Kat and Anna, my new sisters in Christ!!!

In addition to the excitement of finding Jesus in the midst of a storm, I also got to experience a little taste of the world this week. Our theme was Ethnos, which is Greek for nation. Among the dozens of places in the Bible where nations are mentioned, Psalm 9:11 says,”

“Proclaim among the nations what he has done.”

A fun way we celebrated Ethnos week was through food! In addition to trying Ethiopian and Indian cuisine, Kara, Jordan, Jacob, and I were able to experience authentic German dining.

Yes, this means we ate brats! We also had a pretzel and Spaetzel (egg dumplings). While eating, we listened to a man from Germany play songs on native instruments and people yelling as a result of free beer night. It was certainly an experience, that’s for sure!

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It’s crazy to think that I’ve been in Milwaukee for nearly a month already! The growth I’ve experienced thus far is insane, and all I can say to that is praise God!

As always, I want to continue to invite you to join me in prayer this week!

  • The hearts of those who we’ve seen come to Christ- that they would pursue a genuine walk of faith guided by the Holy Spirit
  • That as the harvest is plentiful, the laborers would be too. For unreached nations.
  • For continued unity and Christ centeredness among our mission team
  • That I would continue to see the Lord in the midst of trails. That the Lord would keep walking me through the process of healing.

Thank you so much for reading how faithful and good the Lord truly is!!

God bless. 🙂

 

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