It’s almost comical to me that my last blog post was titled “On Spring Cleaning and the Hard Work of Healing” because it was almost as if Jesus had me write the exact truths that I would need to hold onto during the months after I put the post into the world.
This summer left me battered and bruised. For a million reasons, nothing looks the same as this time last year and I’ve spent the past few months curled up in the arms of Jesus asking a plethora of big questions and fighting off anger with the few defenses that I have left. I’ve been working through trust with Him and begging Him for healing and rest and kindnesses and kisses of faithfulness. I also had signed up to go on a global outreach trip to Egypt before all of the summer madness started, knowing that Jesus had wanted me there for some reason. Jesus gave me the money through the kindness of my dear friends and family that donated (thank you, I appreciate you!!!) and a couple of weeks ago I set off on the trip with a backpack full of hard questions, trust issues, and prayer requests lined with the glimmer of hope that I would come home with stories of God’s faithfulness to His people and kindness to His beloved.
Instead, Jesus (of course) gave me not only stories of kindness to His Egyptian and Sudanese babes, but also stories of His kindness and tenderness towards me. The backpack that came to Egypt stuffed with heartache came home overflowing with stories of His faithfulness to me, His kindness to me, and so many kisses from Jesus on my tear-streaked cheeks. I came home renewed with the comfort that my God hears me, knows me intimately, cares for me deeply, and is radically for the good of my soul even as I walk through this season of heartbreak and confusion.
Egypt was a special trip. I’ve been on quite a few global outreach trips, but none of them has shaken me the way this one did. Between snuggling kiddos at a school for Sudanese refugees or leading our team in worship every morning or painting a Bible verse mural on the wall of a school, Jesus opened my eyes to a deeper love for His children and showed me that my creative gifts are indispensable opposed to frivolous or unnecessary. He also gave me a million gifts throughout the week… He gave me a two month old babe to snuggle (babes are my FAV!!!), a camel bud named Michael Jackson, a new best friend that lives in Nashville (really four new bffs), and a handful of new incredible friends that live across the world.
But the greatest gift of the week happened on Saturday night. Our team had just finished a night of prayer and were gathered in the living room talking about what the Lord had revealed to us as we prayed and how our hearts had changed, when my best friend Sydney (and the leader of the trip) looked at me and said, “Whitney, you’re gonna hate this (because I hate emotions and crying LOL) but Jesus told me that I need to wash your feet and that our entire team needs to lay hands on you and pray over you.” She proceeded to get on her knees and wash my feet in a glass basin of soapy water as our teammate Ben read the passage about Jesus washing His disciple’s feet. Then every single member of our team laid hands on me as Syd prayed rest and healing and clarity over my heart and my life. She prayed every prayer that I’ve become too weak to pray as all of my teammates surrounded me, stroked my back, and held me as I sobbed all of the tears that’ve been stuffed deep down for awhile now.
“Having loved his own who were in the world, he loved them to the end… Jesus knew that the Father had put all things under his power, and that he had come from God and was returning to God; so he got up from the meal, took off his outer clothing, and wrapped a towel around his waist. After that, he poured water into a basin and began to wash his disciples’ feet, drying them with the towel that was wrapped around him.” John 13:1-5
Are. You. Kidding. Me.
What a picture of the heart of Jesus who used this very act to love His disciples to the very end… and He called one of my best friends to do this for me on the hardest day of the whole trip. I had basically spent the entirety of the day in despair and confusion and questions before Jesus interceded on my behalf to show me that He really does care for my hurts… and I want you to know that He really does care for yours too.
So for this post, my post about my Egyptian adventures, I just wanted to encourage each of you the way that Jesus used this trip to encourage me. Because you, dear one, are loved just as intimately as I am by the God that sought me out in a literal desert and reminded me that He never ever leaves His children alone. You are not forgotten nor forsaken. You are not overlooked. You are not left to fend for yourself. I, your sis, am praying over each precious person that reads this… that you will have stories yourself. Stories of God’s faithfulness to you, stories of His tenderness and patience towards you. Stories that move your questioning heart towards healing and your wayward soul towards refreshment and even redemption.
I am for you. Jesus is for you… He sees you. He loves you. He knows you. He knows your needs, He hears your cries, and He’s a ready Father waiting to hold you tight and kiss your cheeks. From one kiddo to another, walk with me in trust that our Dad in heaven is on our team, for our healing, and ready to supply our anxious and fretful hearts with all of the peace, joy, and kisses they can hold.
All my love,
P.S. I know that everyone is wanting me to also post pictures, so just wait because I’ll have a whole gallery of pictures up next week so stay tuned!!!!!!