I'm having a low night.
One where for no single reason but for great cuminations of little reasons, having a good old, snotty-nosed, mascara-running cry would feel like the very best course of action.
Sometimes the soul just grows so tired...
But I am encouraged at how I see Him at work. Around me, and within me.
He is so good. He mercy and righteousness and love and faithfulness-- it's grace, all grace, to us who cannot deserve any of it. To me, who doesn't deserve any of it.
And I am thankful.
Sometimes I get swamped by the drudgery of the days-- always so much work to be done. When one project finishes, 1o others are there waiting to be given some attention. Sometimes I forget that running the Secondhand isn't just about running a charity shop to help support "Barn i Nod" (a charity organisation which runs children's homes for orphans across the globe), but first and foremost it's a point of contact for the world so desperately longing after the hope that is Jesus to come to those of us who hold these treasures in jars of clay. I feel like a very cracked jar. But I suppose His living water can gush out all the more freely from the cracks to whoever comes in off these streets of Gothenburg and stands before me in that shop.
Mike talks about how he sees Rescue Mission as a training ground for ministry. I understand that well. But sometimes I get so weary of training and I wonder what this sort of training is for. And I miss the comforts of home and "normal living".
But then I look up. And there He is, gazing at me with that curious look of adoration and pride. You are Mine, He says, as if when He looks at me He sees a prize.
And I realize again that if I am here in this country serving in this place for no other reason than for sheer love of Him, that it's enough. His love has reached into my broken places and redeemed my sick soul. And it continues to heal wounds in me every day. My love for Him is such a meager reflection back of that saving love. My love for Him couldn't endure the cross as His love for me did...
But it can serve. It can greet each new day with a "How can I best serve You today, Abba?" It can smile into the face of the grumpy customers and draw them into conversation-- even if at first it is only "Var du kommer fran?" I believe in building relationships that reflect His love as much as speaking of it literally. It can sort endless bags of secondhand clothes, wash sinkloads of dishes, dust shelf after shelf of wine glasses, and tidy messy counters umpteen times a day, always building relationships to the people sent to us by the social system for a foot back up to society, with the people from Rescue Mission Church who come in to help and work alongside, and the customers who are lonely for a chat. It can "look at them and love them" with the tender love of a compassionate Jesus aching to point the way to The Father. And where I am tired, He is mighty. Where my enthusiasm wans, His passion stays strong. Where I am uncertain, He stands firm. Where I run out of resources, He offers all of His. I am so thankful for His Spirit...
"I'm after Your heart, I'm after Your heart, I'm after You..." -- lyrics from Misty Edwards' 'Favorite One'
I've noticed Wednesdays are a tiring day for me. A long day-- starting at Rescue Mission in the morning and going straight into Bible Study in the evening with no time to myself in between. I find myself fading by the time we sit down for Bible Study, and think it a rather interesting tactic of the enemy. Tonight as I sat there attempting to pull myself together for another 2 hours that I might be there to minister to the people around me and the needs of their spirits and to be attentive to the struggles of their day, I felt Him explaining to me my tired heart in a little picture in my head of a child and a papa walking side by side pulling a wagon. Both held onto the handle but the father's strong arm bore the weight of the load, the child's small hand fitting neatly within his and no real strain on the child's arm. Leah, let Me do the pulling. Just place your hand in mine and walk the path with Me...
His yoke is easy and His burden is light. No matter the circumstances whirling about unspoken. No matter the storms threatening to toss. He is sovereign. He is big enough. He cares more than my little heart could muster. And I'm only asked to act justly, to love tenderly, and to walk humbly along with Him, my hand engulfed in His.
As always, it's a journey of learning to trust-- to crawl so deeply into His wrecklessly loving heart that the soundtrack of my life is His strong, passionate, purposeful heartbeat.
How could I live for anything less than His Kingdom? How could I strive for anything other than bringing Him glory?
I find I am lovesick.
And, almost unbelievably, that He is lovesick for me.
And so, it's worth it all.