Monday, March 17, 2014

Give Me Your Eyes

This week my team and I were so blessed to be able to go to Malabalay to participate/lead a short-term medical mission trip with students from Benedictine College. It is really hard for me to think of words to describe how anointed this trip was. It was a super jammed pack few days and it was so darn fun! (warning: this post may be a little all over the place because this week was so packed and my mind can't organize itself)

Also, during the trip I started to read the book “Kisses from Katie” which is just like WOAH. It’s about this girl who has such a passion for Uganda and the 8 or 13 girls she adopted at her young age 19 and she started her own non-profit and she is really a modern day Saint. So seeing these Benedictine students on fire for missions and reading this incredible book has just reignited the fire in my heart for missions!
Also, during this Lent I am doing the “Journey to Jerusalem” from Adore Ministries by Fr. Mark Toups, which has just been rocking my world. I feel like I have been having an identity crisis… not like a “mid life crisis” (I’m only 20, calm down) but almost like a self-image crisis. I have always had a negative view of myself because of my past wounds and my body image. It sounds so petty, but I have always struggled with my weight and it has really hardened my heart to see myself as beautiful when the world tells me that only skinny is beautiful. The Filipino people are very blunt in telling us Americans that we are white, and have different hair, and have different eye colors, and also that we are large. I really have felt an attack from the devil with my self-image. Just when I was finally okay with myself, everyday I get told that I am fat and I am asked if I am the oldest in my team because I am the biggest. I know it shouldn’t tear me down because the people aren’t being rude at all, but it’s just the devil twisting their words and hacking into my wounds. But the Lord has also been fighting the devil for sure. Everyday in Scripture the Lord tells me he delights in me, he tells me that I am beautiful, that he has unfathomable mercy, that he forgives me even when my enemies do not forgive me, that he desires to know me personally and he loves me particularly and he truly sees me. He wants me to see myself the way He sees me and this week he has given me that opportunity…

The first way he gave me his eyes was when I saw true hunger. I saw a people who were hungry for love and hungry for literal food. I understood for the first time Jesus’ call for me to “feed His sheep.” I have never felt such a strong conviction to feed the hungry and I am so thankful that Jesus has been so clear that this is most definitely an important part of my mission here in the Philippines.

The second way he gave me his eyes is actually really profound and could seem a little sketchy. We had a full day of medical ministry at the Malabalay City Jail, like all day. I was shocked that I felt absolutely no anxiety walking into the series of gates and bag checks and into a sea of people who have been convicted of various crimes – but really they are a people who have just made mistakes and who are wounded and who are broken...just like me. We first had mass with some of the prisoners and it was incredibly beautiful to celebrate the mass as one body and one church – full of sinners in need of Jesus’ great mercy! After mass, the nurses did their thang and the non-nurses (me) went to another gated area to play basketball and sing and play ukuleles with the men. There was one guy around my age that I met while playing ukuleles and we had a very blessed conversation. He was very shy about his English and of course I don’t know enough Visayan to hold a substantial conversation, so it was simple convo, but impactful. He asked me to sing and play my ukulele for him and he began to learn some of the words to the songs. After he said that he didn’t want to keep me from talking to the other people because they would get jealous of him because I am so beautiful. This comment took me by complete surprise and I knew this was from the Lord. This little gesture and his sincerity may have been the first time I truly felt beautiful… and it wasn’t because of my white exotic American skin or my cute skirt, he saw Jesus in my heart and he recognized that our normal everyday conversation and singing and laughing was the beginning of a friendship - it was the equality I gave him. I treated him as my friend and my brother, because he is. His identity is not a criminal or a prisoner – he is a son of God. He is my brother.

My identity is not a broad heavy set pasty white American; my identity is a daughter of God. I am a daughter, a sister, a friend, and a missionary by my baptism. Jesus has given me his eyes to see my dignity and worth as a daughter of the King and this is something that no one can ever strip from me.

Everyday the Lord gives me the gift of seeing Himself in those I meet; in the poor, the lonely, the broken, the forgotten, the imprisoned, the wounded, the hungry, the sick, the dying, the suffering, and the lost. After this week of meditating on how Jesus looks at me, I realized that if I want to look at others with the compassionate eyes of Jesus, I have to see myself with the compassionate eyes of Jesus.

1 comment:

  1. WOW! Thank you for sharing your heart with us. This was exactly what I needed to read today. Thank you! Praying for your journey.