Friday, March 28, 2008

Thoughts of Beirut

It has been more difficult than I anticipated returning to “normal” life here in the states. Being back in the office and serving here at the church has always been a pleasure. But somehow it just does not seem to be enough.

We (I) am so very spoiled. The creature comforts just fell into place. The first thing I did was to take a long hot shower and washed my hair. It seemed a great pleasure to use my hairdryer. It did not work in Beirut and each morning I air dried my hair by fanning it with a book or standing with my head out the window in the sun and breeze. I am still thinking of coloring my hair this weekend because the sulfur water in Beirut took out some of the color and my roots are showing. There was laundry to do and so I flopped in front of the TV while the washer and dryer where running.

None of these things are wrong, really. But it reminds me how much we have and we don’t even see it. We have so many blessings from the Lord and yet we pass by them daily without a thought of thanking our God for his graciousness to us. This is what has me so troubled. I don’t want to forget what I experiences in Beirut. I don’t want to forget the faces and lives that we came in contact with. I don’t want this trip to be wasted by forgetting the lessons learned.

While in Beirut I observed the dedication and skill with which the fellow believers worked long hard days without a single complaint. They walked worthy of their calling. They have the same struggles as many of us in the states. They have single mom’s raising children alone, wives with husbands off to war, seminary students struggling to maintain their walk with Lord, family issues, and work concerns.

The last night in Beirut, Byron gathered us together and asked what stuck with us most. I was amazed at the dedication to serving the Lord of the young camp leaders. They were 16-25 years old. There was no cool factor to keep up. No cliques, No fashion statements. Just pure love for the children and a heart of service. If there was anything that took me by surprise it was the language barrier. My heart was ready to share the love of Christ and the message of salvation but I could not speak a word. As soon as I realized many did not understand English I clammed up. I was paralyzed. Byron tried to comfort me by saying the children knew that I loved them. But I am not sure. I hugged them and loved on them in action as much as I could. Smiles, laughing, giving them candy, waving to them, saying hi. It just does not seem enough. I left so much opportunity behind.

I was disobedient to the Lord for so many years and now that I have stepped out in faith and gone on a mission trip, I feel that I have failed somehow. I am trying hard to just trust the Lord with what we did accomplish in Beirut. To let Him give the increase, but it is hard. Even here in the office I feel completely useless. Like a boat on a stagnant sea. No wind in the sails, no waves in the sea, no current to pull you along. Just sitting here, doing nothing, in the water. I feel dead inside. I question my usefulness realizing I am nothing without God.

It is heartbreaking. Now that I am home, I am struggling to return to the Cindy I was when I left, not sure that I even want to. My confidence in my gifts is gone. I am barren in the midst of a dark dessert. God is giving me a time of loneliness. Reflecting. Meditating. I will let Him do what He will, only to bring Glory to Him through my suffering. My burden for the people of Beirut is very heavy, but His grace is sufficient. And I will trust Him.


Lauren said...

Hi Cindy! I found you from Julie's blog, and I have really enjoyed reading about Beirut. I can only imagine how full your heart feels, and maybe broken too. I pray that I can join in the mission trips someday soon. I have a big passion for that. So glad that you all got to go. I will be praying for these sweet children!

By His Grace,

Faith, Family, Fun said...

I loved your thoughts...I remember coming home from Hungary in 96 and feeling similiar thoughts. It is a battle here in the U.S. to not get comfortable--ungrateful. I do disagree that you are not useful in your daily job at CBC...I do understand you were saying it compared to ministering in Beirut, but you are used by God every day in many unknown ways. I thank God for you and your beautiful smile.