Airplanes, poverty and open hands.
I was born with wanderlust pumped thick into my blue veins and extra weight in my heels to make digging in a little easier. I've dreamed big dreams of flying in airplanes, putting my hands on the small, cold windows and yet I take those same hands and clench tight around my fears, refusing to loosen the grip.
When it comes to risk and dreams, I've been a walking contradiction my whole life.
I'm not sure what's different this time around. That gentle Holy whisper that speaks "Go," or maybe it's the mischievous smile from my husband when I told him "I don't wanna." Something stirred deep in my soul when World Vision asked me to go with them to Bolivia and I begged God to just tell me clearly: Should I go?
I know nothing of poverty. What would I see? And do I really want to see it? Can I handle the weight of seeing?
I talk a big game about wanting to make a difference and get my hands dirty with the hard work of serving. I want to learn, to understand and be a part of something bigger than myself. To be broken of my western, American insulation and exposed to the needs of the world... and to respond.
But, the skin on my hands is soft and it's cold here in my air-conditioned bedroom. My hands have never worked the hard labor of so many in Bolivia. I'm afraid of seeing too much and I'm scared of feeling guilty about these weak suburban-raised, privileged hands.
I'm afraid that these hands, even when spread wide with everything I can offer, will be too little, too late. Not enough. I have deeply believed the lies that tell me I'm not enough.
And so for a week, I sat on that ledge of going and not going. I balanced clumsily, not sure where I was going to land. I came up with about ten thousand reasons not to go (it's too soon, in the middle of rafting season, getting a passport would be tough, I'll have to leave my guys for 8 days, I'll be going without Erik, and and and...), but they all made the reasons to go seem even bigger and more important. The going started to outweigh the staying and I got bone-rattling scared.
Mae West said, "You only live once, but if you do it right, once is enough."
I want to do it right, this one life I've been gifted. To pack each moment full of life and risk. I want to empty those same moments of the fears I've held too close. To lay down my comfort, heart and life for the sake of others. To speak for those whose voices are drowned out by the roaring burdens of poverty and injustice.
My typed-out lines are small. I'm not an influencer or leader. I'm not a theologian or gifted speaker.
I'm a wife who doesn't love deep enough and a mother who gets it wrong every day. My grace is lacking and I fight the bitterness of unbelief.
These hands... the ones that wipe down counters at night and stroke the back of a sleeping toddler and knead bread that goes into the oven... these hands and everything I have to offer, will never be enough. But it's never been about me and what I have to offer on my own, has it?
So I do what I can and I open these hands, spread the fingers wide with offering, lifted up with palms up, praying that my small voice here and there would only speak His words. And I pray that the words I manage to type out would reach out to you. That somehow He would move you, too, as you come with me to Bolivia to meet the kids who need you. You with your own hands raised and spread wide open in offering.
I hopped down off that ledge of going and staying and ended up falling face-first into going. Because it's not about me, or you. It's about Jesus breathing in and through us, pouring out His hope into Bolivia, one child at a time.
So, I'm traveling with World Vision and a team of unbelievably talented & passionate bloggers to the country of Bolivia, where I'll see the work of World Vision firsthand, meet and love the people and children, and I'm sure, be changed forever.
I'm traveling with these incredible bloggers, along with Carla, Lindsey and Michael from World Vision, and Amy, our trip photographer:Matthew Paul Turner Rachel Held Evans Chad Holtz Joy Bennett Elizabeth Esther Deb Wolf Jana Melpolder
We'll all be posting on our individual spaces (and Joy and I will be doubling up at Deeper Story, too). You can also follow our collective journey on the World Vision Blog.
We don't leave until July 30th, which is a short month away. I feel like I'm going to need the whole month to prepare my heart and eyes for what I'm going to see and experience. I'm grateful for the time I have.
During this waiting time, while we all tap our fingers and nervously await the moment of leaving, would you pray? Pray for the group, pray for me, and perhaps pray about sponsoring a child from Bolivia?
More soon, friends.