Kira and Jack are stuck on the movie, The Incredibles. They watch it in the car while I drive and I listen to the story. I admit I like it too and if I were to pick my super power I would be happy to be Elastigirl. I tend to need to stretch in all directions at once (as most moms) so I would welcome some super natural power to do it. Someone I met this year described me as a woman who wears a cape. I laughed. The only cape I have is a bible open on my lap and a contrite spirit before the almighty God who is leading me carefully in the work of orphan care in Uganda. I am the first one to say none of this work to establish the children’s home in Uganda has been done on my smarts or strength. Only God could take a red head stay at home mom from Texas and use her to start an orphanage in Uganda. Yes I love children, I am passionate about cultures, and I have a great sense of justice. But this work was too hard for me to do. Me? I would have quit at the first sign of trouble. The obstacles were ominous and I cowered in their presence. I have been lied to more than I’ve been told the truth. I’ve had thousands and thousands of dollars stolen from our family personally, (not ministry money). I’ve been attacked in a public courtroom in Uganda and called an unforgivable liar. Good friends have schemed to steal from us. People want to be my friends to embezzle money while supposedly helping me help the children. My good intentions have been used like a filthy rag. But a big and powerful God had my back and led the way. This is his work. He’s just using me to get it done and I happily surrender to being useful to Him, even when it hurts.
Why? Why would I do this when it has proven to be such a struggle. It’s not because I want to be famous. It definitely won’t make me rich. I would rather not have the influence. I am a true introvert and like my solitude. I don’t feel motivated by heavenly rewards, though they are nice to think about. I do fear being outside the will of God but I’m sure he would find another use for me if I declined this work. I am passionate about the cause for the children who are alone on this earth. Mostly I am just so full of the love of God that it compels me to walk this path of orphan care in Uganda with him. The love is so great it can’t help but pour abundantly over this ministry.
I’m not a good enough person to do this work. I am full of flaws, and I struggle with all the temptations of the flesh. I by no means get it perfect. I’m not sure why God would use me other than he loves me and extends his grace towards me. He is forgiving and gives me this opportunity to serve him even though I could never have deserved it or earned it. I’m so thankful to be useful to Him.
I remember the moment I felt the full thrust of the LOVE of God. I had been a Christian for over a decade and I was operating mostly on the fear of being outside his will. I was so fearful that I would do something wrong it kept me in line. I have to say that gave me stomach problems. Fear is a terrible motivator. I became so legalistic in my every choice. Yes fear of God is the beginning of wisdom…but I learned we are meant to progress from there. There was a time I struggled with a personal relationship and my husband helped me see, “Tonya only God can love you the way you crave. He’s the only one who can do it you have to lean on him for that love and no one else.”
That was my revelation, my turning point. I accepted the full force of the love of God and it changed everything. I no longer had great expectations of people, I could simply accept all people are limited in what they can offer. I didn’t have any more expectations! That was a big Ah-Hah. The next thing that happened, I found I could give complete forgiveness because I only needed the fulfilling love of God to keep me safe and secure. I could just let everything else go because I was completely loved, full with it and satisfied. The love that flows from the father is a powerful force and it just flows right through me. As a conduit, my friends, is the only way I am useful to God. Mostly I try to keep myself out of His way. When I am good at that things go well for me. I am also realizing I will always have to watch for prowling lions waiting to devour me if I am doing a good work for God. I thought we would get one lesson and then be out of the zone. I was wrong. There will always be the next deceiver to come and derail this ministry. All I can say is I’m much smarter to his ways than I ever was before. And I’m not afraid because God has the power to close the lion’s mouths. It’s not for me to do. And I trust he will do it. And…I’m getting so good and sniffing out the scent of a deceiver. I can even smell it in Uganda from Texas. Ha!