Wandering-Lost {tales of a hometown missionary}

Wandering-Lost {tales of a hometown missionary}

He calls us jars of clay for a reason. We are not seamless jars of iron that never leak. We are clay, that can crumble and crack. We are not made in huge bubbling pots of molten metal, we are crafted with firm but gentle hands. Molded and formed. Oh, we go through fires too, but it’s a different process.

During my time as a hometown-missionary, I stumbled upon many moments where I was left gasping at the crumbling lostness in others, and more often than not, because they opened my eyes to the wretched cracks marring my own soul.

Like the day when an angry Becky came to visit.

“Where’s Johnny?” I asked when she came traipsing into the house alone.

“I don’t know. I hate him,” she said.

I looked at her in surprise. The two were together every waking minute. Yesterday, they were best friends for life. “Why would you say that?” I asked.

“Oh, he’s a stupid #@%$,” Becky said.

“Hey,” I countered, “not in my house, remember?”

“Sorry,” she muttered, “but look at this.” She pulled her shirt up showing a fiery red, jagged cut on her side.

“What happened?” I asked.

“He stabbed me with a screwdriver. See why I hate him?”

I could see, of course, but I saw far more than she ever dreamed. I saw deeper and darker than I wanted to. I saw right down into the filthy emptiness of lives trapped in sin and shame. And I hurt for her. For him. For the innocence that had been stripped away from them and the way they were left to wander around, to try and navigate life all alone.

They were just babies, you know. Just babies left in a great big world.

And the Lord began digging up things in me. While you’re down here, looking around, He seemed to say, there are some things that we should deal with.

It started with a book on relationships. I was reading along happily and found myself in the pages. I didn’t want to, but I was there, written in black and white. It startled me and I read on, curious as to what the author would say about me.

He said I was worthless.

He said that someone with my history, with my pain, isn’t worth trying to work things out with. Best move on to something better. Someone better.

I was boxed up tight and the lid was nailed shut and claustrophobia clawed at my throat. I threw the book against the wall. It felt like he stabbed me with a screwdriver. I hated it; I hated him. I meant it, just as sure as Becky meant what she said when bitterness and a fresh wound loosed her tongue.

It was quite awhile before I remembered that I wasn’t down there in that filthiness all alone. I turned, shaken to my core, and He began speaking. This has been here for a long time, He said, and we need to clean it out.

It all happened together. His work inside me mirrored the moment when that little eight-year-old baby lifted her shirt in my living room, and I made her stand in the bathroom while I rinsed her wound with hydrogen peroxide and coated it in salve.

God allowed it all to sting and bite at me, and then He touched soothing, calm hands to the wounds and smoothed salve over them.

In a world where people are boxed up and shipped out, He is in the business of soothing and healing and breaking the chains of those trapped in darkness. It was like God wrapped His arms around me and rocked me back and forth; His baby whose innocence had been stripped away, who had been left to wander about in a great big world. And through the love I learned to give to those wandering-lost, I learned to accept love from the One-Who-Is-Never-Lost.

Broken stories, it turns out, are just the beginning. And no box, no nails, no screwdrivers, can compete with the Healer-of-the-Broken.

Because Becky, with all her brokenness… she is worth it.
And me, with all my scars and memories… I am worth it.
And you, with whatever story you carry… you are worth it.

At least, that’s what God says. And I think He’s a pretty reliable source.

And I am sure of this, that he who began a good work in you will bring it to completion at the day of Jesus Christ. – Philippians 1:6

Tales of Hometown MIssionaryPart One: {In Jars of Clay}
Part Two: {Wind and Waves}
Part Three: {Miracles and Mustard Seeds}
Part Four: {Labels and Trust}
Part Five: {To Flourish}
Part Six: {Seeing True}
Part Seven: {Songs to Believe In}
Part Eight: {Apple Pie and Eye Shadow}
Part Nine: {Baptism of Grace}
Part Ten: {Bitter Sweetness}
Part Eleven: {Broken Stories}
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4 thoughts on “Wandering-Lost {tales of a hometown missionary}

  1. Friend, I’ve missed you and missed your words. Not sure why, but I went hunting for your most recent blog post this morning. This morning, I am praying as I type that you would be filled with the miraculous. I’m praying for hope to anchor your soul, riding with you over the waves of our own messes and the hurricanes of Satan’s plans. I can’t wait to witness the goodness of the Lord in your life this year. Thank you for being a transparent vessel. Thank you for always encouraging me. Thank you for being a witness to what clay jars are capable of when filled with the Master’s oil. Hugs!

    Like

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