So, I started writing the next installment of the One Year in the Promise House series, this time about J and K, and this just came out instead.
J and K came to live at Children of the Promise (COTP) years before I did, when they were still babies, and have been some of the few constants in an ever changing landscape over the last five years. Before coming to be the nurse at COTP, I had very little experience with kids with special needs, but I quickly grew to love these two boys and their friends. I learned a lot from them, about God, about myself, about humility, about unconditional love. And in no small part because of them, I found my voice. Perhaps related to being a middle child, I definitely had a go-with-the-flow attitude, and would rather be at peace with those I loved and others around me than share my opinion. To be honest, I wasn’t even sure I had an opinion about many things. I was already starting to delve into this part of myself before coming to Haiti, but there’s something about being with someone who actually doesn’t have a voice that puts your own vocal discovery on fast forward. How could I keep quiet when these children I cared so deeply about needed to be heard? How could I let them stagnate without getting the therapy they needed? How could I let the rain drip on them through holes in the roof while they tried to sleep night after night?
The verse God has pressed into my heart since the beginning of this journey is Galatians 5:13, “You, my brothers, were called to be free. But do not use your freedom to indulge the flesh; rather, serve one another humbly in love.” We are free. Free to have an opinion. Free to have a voice. At least in some parts of the world, we have freedom of speech. But how do we use our freedom? To shout our opinions from the rooftops, our own needs and desires from the mountaintops? To shame and slander those who disagree with us or whose needs and desires compete with ours? Or do we use our freedom to give a voice to the voiceless? To advocate fiercely for the oppressed, the forgotten, the downtrodden? To serve one another in love? To serve one another humbly in love? An important distinction, that is. I’m quite certain the passage does not say “do not use your freedom to indulge the flesh; rather, speak up for others so you look like a good person.” My boys, J, K have taught me much about truly selfless love. Not to say I’m always that great at it, but that it is worth striving for, that I will never stop trying to serve them humbly in love.
God has given me a voice, I know this now. And I know that He has called me to use that voice to speak up for children in Haiti with special needs, to make sure that those considered weaker and less honorable are treated with special honor (1 Corinthians 12:23), to serve J and K and their friends humbly in love. And now that I know this, I will not waste my freedom, I will not choose another path.
I choose to believe that many of you are already using your freedom to serve others humbly in love. Please tell us how you’ve been called to use your freedom, who you are giving a voice to, who you are serving humbly in love. Not to pat yourself on the back, but to set a spark or fan the flame in someone else, to encourage one another, and to give praise to the One who called us to be free.
I also believe that some of you have yet to discover your voice, or have yet to discern how best to use it. Pray (or meditate or think); who does your heart break for? Who is oppressed, forgotten, or downtrodden and you simply can’t stand to see things continue as they are? What are you going to do about it? How will you use your freedom?