Thursday, September 23, 2010

What Joy Looks Like #3

"I have no greater joy than to hear that my children are walking in the truth." 3 John verse 4

What joy looks like...

Dirty feet. My daughter's feet... muddied from the streets of Kampala, Uganda.

Five years ago (or so) she came home from summer camp ready to pack her bags again for Africa. She'd seen the documentary called Invisible Children that revealed the horror of the Northern Ugandan children; children under the age of twelve, stripped of their childhood, forced to live as murdering soldiers, desensitized of all emotion. My daughter was ready to fight for justice on their behalf. "If I don't go, who will?" she asked.

I knew her desire was true and not a whimsical, emotional, teenage wish. I could see God's hand print for foreign missions on her life since she was a little girl but, war-torn Africa? That was beyond my comfort zone as a mother. So, we prayed for three years. We prayed that an opportunity would arise for her to go with a well established ministry team from somewhere in the United States.

God provided the way the first Sunday we set foot in Wellspring Church, November 2008.

She's traveled and ministered to the children at the Kampala Children's Center twice now. The first year was full of pictures of gorgeous children full of joy and hope; children who have been stripped of everything this world calls precious. Yet, they're full...full of God's redemptive work through Jesus; full of dreams and purpose not only for their own future but the future of their nation.

This year, there was a photo of her. She was teaching the children how to play; how to "think outside the box" (literally) when it came to creative play. I can't explain the emotion that overwhelmed me at seeing her face fully animated and engaged with these children. She exuded Jesus from every pore. She was alive! She was doing "the good work" that God had preordained for her from the beginning of creation.

Every parent has great aspirations for their children when they're born. We dream about how great they can be; imagine the career path they should take; wish the best for them. But, we must remember, God is their Father. Our only purpose is to raise them to explore how God made them, designed them and encourage them to follow God's desire for them.

"I have no greater joy than to hear (see) that my children are walking in the truth." 3 John 4

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