Thursday, December 18, 2014

She's afraid of the truth today... but

She's too afraid to know, she's scared of the truth today.
We sat in the doctor's office and she shrank.

She's a thirty-two year old momma who's given birth to five and raised them without the man who should have been caring for them all.
In just 3 decades of living, she's seen too many battlefields where no medals are given for valor and no purple hearts awarded for bravery and courage. But the first day I met her the One who made her walked her right into my heart, and I knew, she was a much loved daughter.
Her name is Carol.
Tall and slim with round, soft eyes, I look at her and think, if you lived in another country, you'd be called beautiful. But here, she's just one of the many who have been wounded and are lost in the sea of dark skinned lovelies trying to care for their children.
She's sick... very sick.
Her cough would clear the room in more sterile, clean places. And she hurts each time one comes.
On her throat is a growth, bigger than it was when I met her, but small enough to cover with a scarf. And that's what she did in the beginning. Now she feels me as a sister and doesn't work so hard to hide what is less than perfect.
During my 42 day visit back home in America, she came to my mind each and every day, and so prayers for her came quickly each morning. The One who loves her most talked of her often.
After my return to Kitale, I went to visit her. Two of her beautiful daughters were outside, sitting on wooden stumps beside ash covered ground. It's their kitchen and dining room, under an old, scarred fig tree, where they cook and take ugali and githeri and kenyan tea. 

Eyes adjusted to darkness entering her one room hut. A twin bed, a wooden coffee table, the wooden frame of an old couch with cushions so old the 4 inch foam had shrunk to one inch. A big, old purse hung from the corner of her bed holding her treasures. No dresser or side table or chest of drawer, just that old purse and 3 bags slid neatly under her one bed. The mud walls had been smeared smooth and painted white. Now, red dust lay on the uneven places and it had a mysterious, enchanting sort of look to it and I thought to myself, “back home”, we work to age our furniture and weather our bricks and lumber to give it a used, mysteriously old look. Here, it's real------ oh what a strange world it is.
With eyes adjusted, I saw her smile and looked into her eyes, and I repented again for all my selfish ways as she shared of the weeks past while I had been away.
The growth on her throat had swelled and had temporarily taken her voice away, leaving her with a sore throat. Then the fever had come. A week later the cough began and the next week she was too weak to rise from her tiny bed.
Each night her two youngest daughters curl into the tiny twin bed beside their sick mum, while the oldest lays on the barely-there-cushioned-rock-hard couch. All together in this one room with dusty, dirt floors and two tiny window openings. To open the “window”, you swing the little wooden door open, there is no glass or even screen. But even in this little, dark room, there was a goodness found.

Kind greetings were followed by words that opened up the Heavens into this little dirt room.
She told me how very sick she had been and how very alone she had felt. How she had looked at her girls and knew she had no way to stop the death-beast walking towards her door. How she'd prayed and begged the only One who could save her, and wondered at why no Savior came. But instead the liar moved in and hope moved out ---- or so it had seemed.
She had become angry with God. Very angry. She had railed against him and wept in wails.
She felt fully abandoned and in the end could no longer even remember the promises she had clung to from His Word.

Then the ladies from our Bible study had come to visit her on her worst day. They had come with tea and love, prayers and hope. They had laid their work-worn hands on her exhausted shoulders and prayed long. And the liar shrank.
We prayed again on this visit, just four days after the others had prayed, her beautiful daughters joined us today.
The next day, oranges were delivered and taken. Strengthening the body and letting the mind and heart feel love flow in those Vitamin C filled juices. She needed a day of nutrition and Vitamins before even trying to rise from her bed.
By the next morning at 9:00 I found her dressed and sitting on her bed, she knew I was coming, we were going to the hospital. We moved slowly through the day as doctors examined her, gave shots, x-rays and ultrasounds completed, blood-work drawn, and finally the results. 

It was pneumonia, not TB (oh thank you God!). But still, it was serious.
She has a growth on her thyroid gland, a cyst, not thought to be cancerous, but it has to go, it must be removed.
Then the doctor spoke privately with me. Asking me to do what I could to encourage Carol to be tested for HIV. She had dropped her head when offered the test, fear had been thick in the air as she nodded and whispered, “Hapana”. (no in Swahili)
An abusive, unfaithful husband had abandoned her years ago, she had known it was possible, but she did not want to meet that unwanted intruder face to face, she knew he would bring words of death.

Meds were prescribed and given.
She would spend two weeks recovering and then return to the hospital for surgery to remove the cyst.

Carol was exhausted, helping her to the Lori-car, we sat and talked inside.
I explained everything to her slowly and carefully. She had not understood all that had been said. I was taken back to when my little ones had been sick and we'd gone to the doctor and we'd get to the car afterwards and i'd tell them, in children terms, what had just been said in doctor words. She was understanding now, and her shoulders were beginning to relax.
“You will have this surgery dear Carol, God has brought you this far. He has heard your prayers and you will be cared for so you can live and love your girls for many more days.” She dropped her head and wiped her eyes. “But Carol, I must ask you to pray long about something.”
We talked about HIV and the truth about the virus.
“The only way to fight it is to know if it is hiding inside.”
Just like the cyst, if we ignore it and look the other way, it will grow and damage the healthy body parts around it and eventually what could have been taken care of earlier will bring an early death if left unchecked.
She said, “i'm just too afraid to know the truth... if I have it shame will kill me before it does.”
We talked long. Tears laced with words, and prayers covered it all.
“Carol, God's Word says, 'the Truth will set you free'. It is the liar, the one who speaks lies to us that tells you to hide from the Truth -----the Truth of our Father's love and the truth of every other thing. Truth lives in the light, in the places where we can see. Lies lurk in the darkness, those places where we can't see and we're scared of what might be hidden in the corners.”
She began to hear.
“On this matter dear Carol, if you let the liar win, it could kill you. But the Truth will save your life.”

i've let my mind sit with it all --- since my time with Carol in the car ---
Knowing the Truth saves us ---- but if the liar wins, it kills us.
It's true in matters of health.
It's true in matters of the soul.
It's true in our marriages, our homes, our hearts, our minds, our friendships, our work.
In our day to day thoughts ---- the truth might be painful to hear, but it is the only way to life.
We might be more comfortable to wrap ourselves in the tattered blanket of familiarity, thinking, we'd rather hold on to what we have known, even if it is a lie, than lay it down and try and get comfortable in the scratchy, new, unsoftened blanket of truth. But the wrap of Truth has no holes, it's complete, and it can shield us from the hard winds of destruction that come at the end of the lie.

As i've prayed for Carol, it's settled so deeply inside, speak the truth in love ... the Truth will set you free ... surely you (God) desire truth in the inner parts... speak truth to each other... He will guide you into all truth...
Ephesians 4:15, John 8:32, Psalm 51:6, Zechariah 8:16, John 16:13

and what happens, really, when we do not cling to what is true?
“They exchanged the truth of God for a lie, and worshipped and served created things, rather than the Creator --- ”
Romans 1:25
Exchanged the truth for a lie – and served created things rather than the Creator --- things like familiarity in what we can see and what we think is the right thing to do and who is around us (our children perhaps) and what we eat or where we sleep or … too many things can too silently slide into a place of importance ---- a place of “worship” in our lives. We push back and say, no, i'm not worshipping it --- but when it prevails over the Creator and what HE SAYS --- it has taken His place of worship in our lives. And He is clear on this point ---- He will not share His throne.

Oh God helps us understand where we have worshipped created things rather than You.
God's words here are speaking of the Truth of our souls, but it is also true for the truth of everything.

Sometimes we realize ----- we do not know the truth of a matter---- and we are too scared to face the light that will reveal that truth. (fear from the liar is winning in those moments)
Sometimes we don't even know we are being deceived. We think we are right and all is well. Only the Word of God will open our eyes to know if we are truly, really, honestly walking in the light.
If we don't sit with and in His Word ----- we are easily deceived.
And the greatest victory of the enemy is keeping eyes so accustomed to the darkness, they don't even realize what they are “seeing” is only shadows and shades of dark.

For Carol, there are medications that can help her fight the virus. Many who might have died years ago, have lived long, because of the meds (ARVs) now available. Years ago, an American president pressed to alot millions of dollars to pay for ARVs to be made available for FREE to Kenyans unable to pay for them. IF Carol is positive, she can receive the needed medications for free, at the district hospital just a mile from her one room home. (Thank you America!!!)
Fear is the barrier that wants to keep her in the dark ------ and make her daughters orphans.

I'm praying.
God is working.
The lamp of Truth is ready to shine.

What blessed, blessed, blessed kids we are ----- our Abba wants truth in our lives.
He is the Way, the Truth, and the Life... (John 14:6)

And the beauty of the Body of Christ (the children of the Father) came shining through so brightly I covered my face with my hands and tears rolled down...
Knowing the cost of the surgery was beyond what we readily had in hand, I sent an email message to over 400 dear ones --- asking for help for Carol.
I prayed over the words, asking the One, before I hit send to ask the many.
Then I went for a walk with my youngest son. As the sunset, we talked of his world and while listening closely to his every word, I also held my asking cup up to the Father on behalf of the email I knew many would be receiving.
Our walk ended (what a blessed momma I am to get to walk beside my son), and I went to my email just to confirm it had actually gone out. And within that short hour, 4 people had already responded... 1 saying they would cover the entire cost of the surgery... (my heart froze)... and 2 giving half of what was needed (tears gushed)... and 2 more giving $50 and $75 to be a part of what God was doing. I hit the floor and thanked the One who moves the hearts of His children.
Then quickly sent another email to let everyone know ---- IT WAS DONE!
I sent emails to try and stop others already trying to give as well (one willing to pay the full amount needed as well) ---- no more money was needed, but the beautiful generosity of love was flowing strong. More gifts came, another $15, then $200, then $100, like a strong flowing river the love would not be stopped quickly.
Oh my heart... how beautiful are His kids.

So now ----
Carol's surgery is funded not just with the amount needed -------
but it is funded for over double of what is needed!

And I remembered --- there is a verse about God giving a double portion --- grabbing my Bible, it was quickly found ----
“Instead of your shame you will receive a double portion, and instead of disgrace you will rejoice in your inheritance. And so you will inherit a double portion in your land, and everlasting joy will be yours.” Isaiah 61:7

Oh God ---
for the woman who lives on the dirt floor and sleeps in a tiny bed with children piled on top of her, for the one who shrinks from the shame that the truth might bring, but is praying and asking for courage to know, for the dark skinned beauty you see and love and have your eye on ---- your Holy Word speaks today just as it did through Isaiah in the 8th century before your sent your son...

...instead of your shame Carol, you will receive a double portion...
and instead of disgrace Carol, you will rejoice in your inheritance... you will receive a double portion in your land... and Carol, I, God, will give you everlasting joy.

And “i delight greatly in the Lord; my soul rejoices in my God.”
Isaiah 61:10a

The One who calls us into the Light of Truth ----- is the God of a double portion.

Carol is in front of Maggie and Ray, wearing the black and white wrap (covering the cyst). Beside her is Eve (middle) and Matilda (left) -- this was taken August 22nd after Bible Study, we were headed back home and giving lifts to the ladies.
Thank you in advance for praying for Carol --- and thank you to those who shocked us all with your quick, beautiful response to the need of one who is surely among “the least of these”.
Oh --- thank you so!

I hope you feel His great smile over you – it is surely there.

©2014 Donna Taylor/Reaching for the Robe

1 comment:

  1. oh goodness upon goodness! the double portion instead of shame part blew me away. what a God we serve.