Tag Archives: Goodbyes

How Long?

29 Aug

I can see the storm descending on the hill tonight
Tall trees are bending to Your will tonight
Oh, let the mighty bow down
At the thundering sound of Your voice

Just yesterday it seems I was walking those streets for the first time, everything shockingly foreign. Today I walked them for the last time, everything heart wrenchingly familiar. Each hand holding a little tighter, each hug lasting a little longer, each face memorized a little clearer. Oh these souls.

I can hear the howling wind and feel the rain tonight
Every drop a prophet in Your name tonight
Oh, and the song that they sing
It is washing me clean but
How long?
How long?
How long until this curtain is lifted?
How long is this the song that we sing?
How long until the reckoning?

It’s been a summer of feeling the darkness even in broad daylight, of need stretching out pleading hands into my face, of burdens settling heavy, of children precious in His sight becoming precious in ours. We who have Bread had the privilege of being among a people who hunger for it. And even through the communication barrier, this Jesus-food, it’s a universal language.

And I know You hear the cries of every soul tonight
You see the teardrops as they roll tonight
Down the faces of the saints
Who grow weary and faint in Your fields

I don’t know how to leave it behind, all that I’ve seen. I don’t think it can be left behind. I think I’ll carry with me forever the deep seated lessons and soul strengthening experiences and heart imprints of a Cambodian expansion of the heart of God. And the joy that comes out of that expansion? Ridiculous. He’s met me and humbled me and stretched me and brought me to new places of prayer and love and intercession.

And the wicked roam the cities and the streets tonight
But when the God of love and thunder speaks tonight
Oh, I believe You will come
Your justice be done, but how long?

The enemy isn’t quick to raise white flags over his territory. The war of the unseen doesn’t escape the atmosphere of the visible. I weep with the evil that preys on innocence and the lives who think hope is someone else’s future, not their own. But I also weep with the beauty that is redemption and the God Who gives it.

And I am standing in the stillness of the reckoning
The storm is past and rest is beckoning
Mighty God, how I fear You
And I long to be near You, O Lord

I know His redemption is for them. I believe His heart is for their salvation. I know hope can be gloriously worn in even the poorest of this growing up generation. I can’t make it happen and as much as I want it for them, I can’t force the change. But if I leave anything behind in Cambodia, I want to leave behind a ground that’s been trampled down by wrestling prayer and take with me a pair of calloused knees. I ache to see God be made huge in this community, with or without me. I ache to see it be done soon. Not because these people deserve a better life, but because He deserves greater glory.

How long?
How long?
How long until this curtain is lifted?
How long is this the song that we sing?
How long until the reckoning?

(“The Reckoning” by Andrew Peterson)

Letter to Mowgli

23 Aug

Oh precious girl, do you know you’ve got me wrapped around your little brown finger? It’s true. You used to be so serious and quiet, and my heart ached to know your sadness. But now you talk and laugh and light up in smiles, and my heart loves it. I’ve run my fingers through your straight black bangs as you leaned against my chest. I’ve held your small hands in my white ones and smiled at you until the twinkles came out in your eyes and you twisted your head in a shy grin. Sometimes my skirt is damp when you leave, but I don’t mind. Sometimes I’m not sure if you’ve had a bath in the past week, but that’s ok. Sometimes I wish so badly I could take you home with me and make you clean and yummy smelling on the outside, and pure and Jesus loving on the inside.

When I don’t see you for a day or two, I walk to your house to find out where you’ve been. My favorite is when you see me coming and run down the street to meet me. “I missed you!” I say as I grab you up in my arms and swing you around in a circle. “I’ve missed you, sweetheart,” I say again as you bury your head in my shoulder. You don’t understand my words, but I think you know what I mean. And you don’t understand when I whisper prayers over you, but Mowgli-girl, God knows. When I think of how I’m going to say goodbye to you in a week, my throat closes up and my eyes get shiny-wet. How do I leave you behind? How do I go back to my big house and leave you in your slum one? How do I trust that Jesus will take much better care of you than I ever could? Who will watch you grow up and teach you how to make good choices? Who will I hug tight when your face comes to mind and you’re oceans away? Mowgli-girl, you belong to Jesus. I want you to know your heart is safe with Him even when your world is dangerous. I want you to know your block house isn’t your real home and your trash-littered life isn’t your only destiny. I want you to know what it means to love Jesus.

A few months ago I didn’t know you. I didn’t know you would be the face of my Cambodian summer. I didn’t know there was a hole in my heart the shape of a pigtailed three year old. I didn’t know I’d pray for your little life. I didn’t know how much I’d love you. In less than a week, I’m going to walk down your street one last time and hold you tight one last time and wait for that precious grin one last time. And then I’ll leave. But when I walk away, precious girl, Jesus won’t be leaving with me. He’ll be staying with you.