Sunday, September 8, 2013
Learning Lessons From God!
God's lessons can often be the most painful and hardest to learn or maybe it just seems that way to me because I am not so easy to teach!
Since our return to Cebu in June after a six week furlough, it seems as if our ministry has had one emergency after another, with each emergency bringing greater heartache than the one before. We have had children in the hospital, moms in the hospital, head injuries, children hit by jeepneys, deaths of family members and the death of Baby James. It felt more than this human heart could bear.
At Lilia's Place our motto has been "Providing Hope!" We wanted the sick and the hurting to know there was a place for them, there was someone who cared about them, who would carry them through the dark times of their lives. But what happens when you get exactly what you wished for and more...
I won't lie, these emergencies put me in a tailspin. They brought me to my knees and taught me a powerful lesson.
It had been a really long day, both girls were sick, I had taught school all day and of course there had been the nonstop request for help and then I get the text on my phone that one of our kids was in the emergency room and had a possible head injury. We pick up our sick girls from home and head to the hospital. This is the fourth emergency we have had in a two week period, not only am I exhausted, but I also know that our emergency funds are running pretty low. I am trying to figure out how in the world Lilia's Place is going to swing this, I am sure the look on my face is not one that would put hope in anyone's heart. Still, as I am about to enter the emergency room I am greeted by the sister of the little boy who has been admitted. She gives a little jump, claps her hands and greets me with the most beautiful smile. I can see in her eyes that she thinks the calvary has arrived. My heart shattered into a million pieces because I knew I wasn't the calvary she needed. I don't think I handled that situation at the emergency room that night with the patience and love of Christ. I marched in as an exhausted, frustrated and demanding general. Yes, the child got the medical care he needed, but how did I make others feel as that feat was accomplished? I know God must have been looking down on me that evening and shaking his head in frustration. Nope, I had not yet mastered the objective.
God gave me several reteach lessons, the last of which left my heart bloody and raw! The day James died, a ten month old baby, was one of the darkest days in this ministry. As I hugged a devastated and sobbing Nenita in my arms that evening, all I could think about was that I had failed! How had I let this baby die, what could I have done differently? I came home and fell to my knees that night, begging God to help me understand. Then things began to unravel with the landlord and Doug and Alaric had to go out and find a place for the wake. I was angry, frustrated, devastated and something else that I couldn't quite put my finger on. I sent out requests for prayers from everyone I knew and then I called my father. I was crying hysterically and he couldn't understand me at first and he thought something had happened to Doug or one of the kids, when I finally caught my breath to tell him about Baby James, he was as heartbroken as I was. We talked for a long time and he gave me a very powerful wake up call. We talked about all of the emergencies that had occurred and he said, "Wow, I wonder what lesson God is trying to teach? Obviously, someone isn't learning what they are supposed to learn." He said this with the utmost of compassion, almost as a thought spoken aloud.
Those words lingered on my mind and my heart for the next few days. I spent so much time on my knees praying, reading my Bible, and listening to some powerful sermons. I told God I was done, I quit, I can't do this anymore! That was the exact moment this huge weight was lifted off of my shoulders and I could almost here God saying, "Congratulations, Lisa, you have mastered the objective!"
What was the lesson: This is not about you and what you can do! Lilia's Place was not created for personal glory, but for Heavenly glory!
In every situation I had tried to take control. I had forgotten that God was in control. All of the things that I saw as an obstacle, God was saying, "Stop, look and let my glory shine! See what I am able to do!"
Though I had finally learned my lesson, I still felt too raw to continue this ministry. It was time to walk, I sat down to write our board and there on my computer were two beautiful letters of encouragement, one from our preacher, Mark Howell and the other from our elder and board member, Dr. Mark Sanders. Tears poured down my face as I read both letters. They helped me to see that Lilia's Place does have a purpose. We don't control things that happen, but God uses me, Doug and our incredible team to do wonderful life-changing things here in Cebu City. We are here to be his hands and feet, we are not here to let the light shine on Lilia's Place, we are here to let HIS light shine through Lilia's Place. We do give hope, but that hope is the good news that we have a savior and his name is Jesus!
Posted by Lilia's Place at 2:37 AM
Arjay after being hit by a jeepney.
Jerry awaiting news on head injury.
Baby James' funeral.
Avelyn and our newest addition, John.