Ever feel like Dorothy in the Wizard of Oz, caught up in a whirlwind of business?
I step on the soil in Dominic Republic. Off the grid; no running water, only a short time each day on a generator with electricity; dust and dirt everywhere.
Still, somehow I settle into a peace I have desperately needed.
We take cold, bucket baths behind resurrected steel; poured down like grace, washing away our filth. And I am reminded by this awakening….
His mercies are new every morning, regardless of where we live.
And yet somehow I miss those promises back home, where I carelessly wasted
resources, failing to let grace wash over me thinking, for some reason, I couldn’t be dirty…simply because I could not see my own filth.
It is there, dark glasses hinder me from acknowledging the light of an abundantly blessed culture, and I miss thanksgiving, though I have so much to be thankful for.
Yet in Dominican, I seem to live wearing proverbial glasses of gratefulness; though water is cold, food scarce, poverty lurks, and my resources are lacking in every sense of the word.
And why is it, sometimes, our deficits reveal our need for God, our necessity for other people?
At night in DR, I thank Him for my blanket-less bunk, in the corner of one brick room, twenty people crowded near each other. I find thanks in the little creatures crawling across wood fences; for the small voices I still hear outside playing carelessly.
Looking carefully, I see more. Needing grace, I listen more.
It is here I am forced to stop the whirlwind, and plant my feet in a land more like the farm in Kansas than Dorothy’s brick road going nowhere.
Still, back at home, my own dark-skinned adopted daughter catches me, as if begging, “Slow
down”. Soccer, swimming, all those “important” things around me carry me spinning in circles until I can’t see straight.
And could it be, I am the one allowing the whirlwinds to blow me, here in my very
own home, when grace is just as fresh and full, where His goodness and peace are
still available despite the little piece of soil we each individually stand on in this world?
I unpack my one roll-on from the plane. A few pants, a couple tee-shirts, that’s all I needed then. Behind me taunts my walk-in-closet, full of clothes, surfacing the reminder of my deep seeded consumerism.
Why is “stuff” continually deceiving, trying to convince me…I must have more?
But what if we silenced the voices of discontent in each of us? What if we simplified, and refused the winds by telling those insistent naggings, “no”? What if we chose moments,
hearts, people, and the hearts of our children, instead of business or stuff?
How might our lives change?
What if grace is an attitude of thankfulness, stopping to see His goodness in little things; Christ-centered glasses the answer to everything? Would our nothingness then be enough?
Some days I still long for the visible dirt roads I traveled daily in Dominican Republic; for the one room brick building, children eagerly surrounding. For life rises in those still places winds die in, where nothing is taken for granted, and the filthiness of our souls finally becomes clear.
And when whirlwinds stop, isn’t that when grace becomes most visible?
Where Dorothy’s like us can land our feet, welcoming stillness and the silence of simplicity; choosing glasses of thanks, eyes focusing on His buckets of grace. A grace that truly is sufficient…
Regardless of where we live.
Though born, raised, and still living only miles from where she grew up, Jen's heart lies in the nations. Jen loves the beautiful tapestry found in the wide diversity of people, different cultures, and all nations. Jen and her husband have been married twenty years, and have parented fifteen kids and counting; twelve foster, one adopted, and two bios. Her multi-racial family reflects her passion for unity, desire for faith without walls, and missional mindset to share both the gospel and the power of redemption to a
world desperately needing the hope found in Jesus Christ. Jen and her husband have led in a variety of ministries; including prayer, small groups, children's, and women’s. Jen advocates for the orphan as a board member for the non-profit, A New Song; and loves doing missions work internationally, along with her family. You can find Jen writing about faith, while challenging her readers at her blog, Rich Faith Rising, as well as at tweeting faith-filled messages @Jen_Avellaneda . Jen is also on facebook.
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