Luke 24:13-32
This is Jesus heartburn(I have to credit Dallas Willard for this term!)...31 Then their eyes were opened and they recognized him, and he disappeared from their sight. 32 They asked each other, "Were not our hearts burning within us while he talked with us on the road and opened the Scriptures to us?"

Friday, September 17, 2010

A Beautiful Mess

This evening I am sitting on the balcony overlooking the ocean (the sun is setting! WOW!), the ex-presidents peacocks, the roof of the orphanage and the houses large and small that cover the hills around and I am thinking about a book I read some time ago entitled a Beautiful Mess. Today I need to remember that God makes beautiful things from chaos and disorder; that the Kingdom of God is everywhere and He is often most present in the mess because that is when we need Him most.

Like now I hear the kids across the way screaming "Goal" and laughing because Andrew is playing football with them and it's beautiful; but yesterday the screams were from an all out preschool brawl in which 7 of our precious 3 and 4 year olds decided to riot in the hallway! I would pull one out of the pile and another would jump in. Oh how I am trying to turn the screams into joyful ones at all times! Our children a beautiful mess.

And then there is one of our 3 year olds--E (I will not put her name her in order to protect herJ), she is such a beautiful girl…but do you remember that rhyme…there was a little girl who had a little curl, right in the middle of her forehead, and when she was good she was very, very good, but when she was bad she was AWFUL! That's E. All week she has been kicking me, throwing rocks at me, poking and pinching and biting me. One day last week she peed on me. But today she sat on my lap and looked into my eyes and said "Aunty Cari, I love you!" and I replied, "If you love me don't kick, bite, pinch or hurt me and I love you too!" She is a little mess! BUT with time and attention and lots of prayer, God can make something beautiful out of E. She is a beautiful mess.

And Lucy…I always manage to visit her at lunch time and she is covered head-to-toe in rice and green kasava leaves and drool but I have then she smiles! And I forget all about the mess and see only the beauty. Lucy is our beautiful mess whom God has great plans for!

I visited the old building today…what a mess! There's dirt and water and shoes and broken things everywhere and I was reminded that sometimes we need to make a mess in order to make things beautiful. They are in the midst of painting and that means they are making a mess but when it is all done the building will be beautiful again and the next occupants will be blessed by it. AND then I came back to our new facility and it is so fine! Wow, God has blessed us with a new space to mess up with the stuff of childhood…curious boys who take things apart, little girls who have never used a crayon before so how would they know not to write on the wall, rice on the floor from 3 meals a day, and dirty laundry everywhereJ

Freetown itself is a beautiful mess. A city filled with beautiful people living in some of the worst conditions you can imagine. I see their struggle and the daily suffering but I also see their smiles. Their friendship of one another and the community they create. God's Kingdom is here, in the midst of this chaos and disorder and there is great beauty all around.

And then there is me…most days I feel like a mess beyond description. I have fallen down so many times in the last few days that I have scrapes on both knees, one elbow, and one arm! As well as one gash on my forehead and a bruise by my eye. I am always sweating and I have a sunburn. At any given moment I am not sure what I am doing or why! And although YOU might not be as big of a mess as me, I am sure that God sees us both as beautiful and through us, WHEREVER we are He can bring his presence and create beauty out of chaos.