Tuesday, March 5, 2013

Taking off the mask.....

So, can I just put down the mask for a moment, and be open, raw, honest, and vunerable. I knew when I moved here, there would be a honeymoon phase. I knew my first two trips were honeymoons. I knew after awhile the newness would wear off, and I knew at that point life would become pretty much life. What I was not expecting and what I didn't know that what would be left after my security, all I knew, was gone, I would be left with some pretty ugly stuff. Some ugly stuff inside me. Like metal put through the fire, the impurities come to the surface. And then, when it is right there at the surface, the dissapointments, the hurt, the lonelyness, it can be scooped away. Don't get me wrong, this is no easy process. It hurts, and you wrestle a bit. And there is a reason the purer gold and silver is worth more money. Because the process of producing it is so gruling and tiresome. Job said "For He knows the way that I take, and when he has tested me, I will come forth as gold." Let's be honest, the path to come forth as gold for Job, was anything but roses and sunshine. He was stripped of everything, EVERYTHING. And he didn't dance around, in joy. But he shaved his head, put on sackclothe, wept, and even rolled around in the dirt. It wasn't pretty. Thankfully through this process, I haven't had friends like Jobs. Seriously Jobs friends could have taken a few lessons on mercy, grace, and love from my friends back home. I seriously have some of the most amazing people in my life. Friends who stand next to me, through the miles, and encourage me despite my pretty ugly moments. Then again my ugly moments, are no surprise to them. They have seen me through some ugliness in the past.

Lately, I have felt kinship to David the Psalmist. One Psalm he is ready to throw in the towel, just take me now Lord, take me now. And in the next psalm, David is rejoicinging and dancing before the Lord. I get it David, I so totally get it. Even last night, I told the girls they could choose what they wanted for dinner for me to make. There choices? Pancakes, omletes, or grilled cheese. They kinda think I am a master chef, these things can be impressive here. And as I flurried around the kitchen making omletes. The girls might have eaten 2 three egg omletes each! With my worship music going, and singing and dancing around the kitchen. The next morning, I was so frustrated. Moses sitter was there, and I grabbed my bible to head to the lake, to go escape. Because I knew I was at my wits end, and at home, you cannot really get away with the Lord, to really dig in.

If you haven't noticed, I have been really lonely lately. I miss my friends, I miss what I know. And seriously most days if I could take my girls and Moses on the plane and bring them back home with me in America, I would be packing right now instead of writing this. I don't doubt I am not right where the Lord wants me to be. Not because I have some big thing to give to Africa. But because God apperantly has a lot of work to do in me. A lot of things to scoop off the surface. I could say it until I am blue in the face, that these kids, girls, and Moses have taught me more about God, his love, and his character, than I could ever teach them. And honestly I know where ever you are, life is no walk in the park. If I was back home, I am sure there would be plenty of things that would be frustrating me, trying me, and testing me. It doesn't matter where you go, you are still there. But sometimes God leads you to a place, where all you know is gone. And then he can get down to the core of things. I am sure I am just talking in circles right now, but thats fine.

If you think I am some big amazing person because I moved to Africa. Stop. Just stop. Know that life becomes everyday life here as well. You still run errands, change dirty diapers, pay the bills, and try to juggle your responsiblities. I am seriously NO DIFFERENT than you. You who are living out your faith everyday. You, who get frustrated, because it seems like nothing is going how you expect or plan it to go that day. You who have your good days, where you walk on the clouds. You who pray fervently because you know inside you, is ugly. Isn't it for all of us? Our selfishness, our frustrations, our expectations when they are dashed? The only difference is, I am doing it in another location. I am nothing special. Trust me, I miss the mark everyday. Romans 3:23 is true for all of us.

And can I just step up on a soap box for a moment. Stop. Just stop. Stop asking me if you can adopt Moses. Stop telling me how much you want to bring him home. Moses has a home now, he has a family. He is fine, well, and good. Just a few houses down in a orphanage, is hundreds of kids and babies who have no family, no home. Right there in your neighborhood is children who need a home and family. 163 MILLION orphans in the world. MILLIONS! We are not talking a few here and there. We are talking MILLIONS. And they need a family, they need a home, they need someone to put all the chips in, put it all on the line, put their faith to the limits, and bring them home. Everytime someone says they want to bring him home, my heart shatters. My heart shatters for those kids who are desperatly crying out for a family and a home. So please, for the love of purified gold, stop mentioning how much you wish you could adopt him, or bring him home. And seriously LOVE YOU, like love you, love you, love you. And I beg you, don't look at the happy smiling baby on my timeline, and look at the blank stares, look at the crowded orphanages, look at those kids pleading at night for a family. I am not trying to be a meanie here, but I am trying to be real.

So dropping the mask here, I am pretty spent, pretty lonely, and being refined. And more days than not, I feel like a toddler who doesn't want their mom to go to the store, and has thier legs wrapped around them, and is clinging so tightly on. I feel like thats me and Jesus somedays. Well most days. But I feel like I just have to cling tighter and tighter, as the fire brings those impurities to the surface. Where, all I know as comfortable, all the security I know, is gone. And I am clinging to Him for dear life, because there really isn't much else to cling too.

Malachi 3:3 "
He will sit as a refiner and purifier of silver"

He never leaves in the process of purifying his children.

He will never leave us in the fire longer than we need to be.

He never takes his eye off the gold or silver as it is being refined.

And how does someone who purifies gold or silver know when the precious metal is done? When he can see his reflextion in it.

God is not surprised by my impurities that have surfaced. And we can choose to let ourselves cool down, and leave those impurities there in the gold, or we can choose to let God scoop it off. Peice by peice.

Lately I have been listening alot to this song, by Andrew Peterson, called Love Is A Good Thing.

It knocked me down, it dragged me out
It left me there for dead
It took all the freedom I wanted
And gave me something else instead

It blew my mind, it bled me dry
It hit me like a long goodbye
And nobody here knows better than I
That it's a good thing

Love is a good thing, it'll fall like rain on your parade
Laugh at the plans that you tried to make
It'll wear you down till your heart just breaks
And it's a good thing, love is a good thing

It'll wake you up in the middle of the night
It'll take just a little too much, it'll burn you like a cinder
Till you're tender to the touch, it'll chase you down
Swallow you whole, it'll make your blood run hot and cold
Like a thief in the night it'll steal your soul

And that's a good thing, love is a good thing
It'll follow you down to the ruin of your great divide
And open the wounds that you tried to hide
And there in the rubble of the heart that died
You'll find a good thing, love is a good thin

Take cover, the end is near, take cover but do not fear
It'll break your will, it'll change your mind
It'll loose all the chains of the ties that bind
If you're lucky you'll never make it out alive

And that's a good thing, love is a good thing
It can hurt like a blast from a hand grenade
When all that used to matter is blown away

There in the middle of the mess it made
You'll find a good thing
Yes, it's worth every penny of the price you paid
It's a good thing

So there you have the mask ripped off, and me being raw and vunerable with y'all. God is scooping away.
His eyes have never left me.


I am lonely as I miss my friends and family thousands of miles away.

Scoop, I am all you need.

I am frustrated.

Scoop, I will calm you, I will be your rock.

I feel all alone.

Scoop, I am always with you.

I loose my cool.
Scoop, I am slow to anger and quick to love. Mimick me.

I am feeling pretty sad.

Scoop, I will be your joy.

I am a mess Lord.

Scoop, I use messy people.
I am so tired.
Scoop, my joy will be your strength.  

"I counsel thee to buy of me gold tried in the fire, that thou mayest be rich; and white raiment, that thou mayest be clothed, and that the shame of thy nakedness do not appear; and anoint thine eyes with eyesalve, that thou mayest see." (Revelation 3:18)

"That the trial of your faith, being much more precious than of gold that perisheth, though it be tried with fire, might be found unto praise and honour and glory at the appearing of Jesus Christ" (1 Peter 1:7)

Lots of love from Rwanda,



  1. Tina, I love when you remove the mask. That is the girl we all love, anyway, so just toss that mask in the trash. I am praying for you, my friend. So many of us love you.

    And THANK YOU for speaking out about the orphans who need homes. International Adoptions have dropped by almost HALF in the past 5 years, the number of orphans have not. Thank you, thank you for advocating for those who cannot speak out.

    Love you, Tina! Hang in there.

  2. Tina thank you for this. Will continue to pray for you. I have thought from the beginning that Moses has found his home, and you are such a good mommy to him. Trials are hard, and trial are trial.. I good friend of mine texted this too me last night :
    "God puts you through valleys so he can help you out" he wants you to totally lean on him for everything, I know easier said than done, I struggle with this hourly...I love you keep your chin up :)

  3. I appreciate and am proud of your honesty... and, no, no path is ever easy to walk in this life, even when you are giving of yourself the way that you do. I know that living in Rwanda must be anything but easy, especially since Rwanda doesn't have a lot of things we take for granted in first world countries. And it's totally normal to miss home, be frustrated, get angry, get sad, be afraid, whatever whatever. Everybody has feelings. I'm glad you're now able to feel them and not do things you might have done in the past to deal with them.

    I remember this line from the Messiah: "For He is like a refining fire". I never understood what it meant till now. I know that, as slow and arduous as the process may be, you will be refined and refined and refined some more. I think we all go through a process like that. First you learn to cope with your life, then you learn how to LIVE it. And it's often hard and unpleasant, but it CAN be done. If I didn't believe that I wouldn't be here today, and I certainly wouldn't be writing this message.

    A lot of the reason you inspire me is because you have been through SO much crap, and yet you've pulled out of it almost (as it appears to me and probably many others) miraculously. I know that the day to day living of everything is not always a miracle, nor may you perceive anything in your life to be miraculous. But such a swift recovery as yours... extremely rare. So rare for you to go from being so unwell to so healthy and relatively happy in the short amount of time that you did. Which invalidates nothing about your current feelings. But you have come so, so far, and even with all the negative things you may feel, you really have done a LOT of work, both for others and within you.

    You know I understand, probably better than many, how hard it can be... I'm sure some of the emotions you feel are akin to those you felt before, maybe with a little less strength (I hope so). And if you ever lose sight of why you're in Africa, just think about the orphanage, and all the orphans out there, and the daycare you want to start, and how you've taken 11 people into your home and given them a place to live and BE. I know you don't want to be praised for that, but it's not something just anybody would do. Staying in Africa, period, is not something most people would do. I guess this is why I am proud of you, as well as for overcoming your other struggles so (from my perspective) thoroughly. I may be wrong in this perspective. Feel free to tell me if I am.

    Whatever happens, and whatever you decide to do, whatever you are at the moment... know that I am always with you in spirit. I believe in you and care about you deeply, and I don't see how that would change. I know you can get through whatever trials lay within yourself, or in life ahead.