Silence is deafening.
I moved to Haiti almost two years ago. It doesn’t feel like it has been that long, but when I think about the healing and purifying of my soul in this place, God has been hard at work in those years. My soul, heart and mind needed a strong, refreshing cleanse and thankfully God has provided it in Haiti.
Through that cleansing has been a lot of listening, many moments of sinking deep into scripture and even more moments with my friends who are in the care of a local pastor while living in a children’s home. My small friends have taught me it is ok to be still and the value of being fully present, among much more I’m sure I am not even aware of yet.
Over a year ago, God imparted a thought on me that I have struggled with since. Over that time, we’ve argued back and forth with a solid amount of avoidance on my part and equal part overt denial. The reality was he had sent me here to restore my heart, mind and soul…to live fully within my calling and who he has created me to be…and now he has poured into and purified those three pieces of me to the point he wants to use them for his church in the States.
For me…that’s scary.
I don’t feel I have a voice that is useful.
I don’t feel like anyone in the Stateside church would listen to anything I have to say, or am given to say.
My apprehension is that I won’t fit back into that world well, because I have fit so well within this world. And friends, they are not the same. They should be, but they are not. There is a freedom of Spirit within the Haitian church that I haven’t ever experienced in Stateside church. There is a freedom in this reality that makes Stateside life seem unrealistic. There is freedom within the all encompassing Kingdom culture that is inspiring and life giving.
A couple of months ago, God brought me to Acts 18…
One night the Master spoke to Paul in a dream, ‘Keep it up, and don’t let anyone intimidate or silence you. No matter what happens I am with you, and no one is going to be able to hurt you. You have no idea how many people I have on my side in this city.’ That was all he needed to stick it out. He stayed another year and half, faithfully teaching the Word of God to the Corinthians. [Acts 18:9-11]
The image God gave me within those words is one of a flower with petals missing…scattered, but instead of the typical ‘he loves me, he loves me not’ of pulling petals off of the flower, instead this visual was that the petals had chosen to be separated and were actively choosing to stay separated when they have a Lord whose desire is for all to be grafted together as one whole flower.
Too many times, the local church chooses to stay separate from each other and chooses to not cross denominational lines. One of the best examples working against that separation I’ve seen recently is GO Project’s CarePortal where many local churches are making small, simple choices to assist social workers and foster kids with needs that come up, despite their differences. (to learn more about CarePortal go to careportal.org) But in order for believers to fully be a Kingdom community and embrace our calling within the Kingdom…we cannot be separate. We have to be one. God’s heart is for us to be unified as his people, all fighting to right the wrongs of this world. Instead we get caught up in religious and political differences. When we choose to let those things motivate and move us, we choose to allow silence on the things that matter to give a stronger picture of who we are as believers. Our silence becomes our inaction. Our silence continues the status quo, and gives us no gains for the Kingdom. And frankly, the status quo sucks. I’m not content for people to go hungry, kids not be education, parents to give up their kids, kids who have lost everything to be alone and injustice to be swept under the rug.
As most of my friends and family know, I am not good at silence. Constantly, my mouth does not have a filter and it gets me in trouble. Constantly. And I think that inability contributes to my thoughts that I won’t be able to fit in well with Stateside local church. God has changed me in Haiti. I like to think for the better. He has intensified many things I have always been passionate about, and he has directed me into new territory. Though, I do have faith and confidence that God knows what he is doing and that ultimately, his way is best and most life giving for me. Basically, I’m just too stubborn sometimes.
But I choose to not be intimidated and I choose not to embrace silence on the things that really matter within the reality of God’s Kingdom and his unconditional love and grace.