I’m in Alabama now serving with AIM and Israel and it has been truly an honor. A little about the guy in the picture…I couldn’t even list all of the certifications and areas of expertise that Israel holds. He is EMT certified, a rescue diver, and on reserve with the county police and fire departments as well. He was called in as soon as the tornado hit. He runs an adventure sports business (rappelling, caving, extreme hikes, etc.) and does training for disaster and crisis response. The Lord has given him a big vision of building a world class training operation for anything from basic disaster preparation for individuals to much higher certifications of specific technical skill sets. He has an amazing story.
Finding strength to do hard things
I spent a week in Alabama earlier this month doing disaster relief with AIM and we stayed at Israel’s place. I had the privilege to work with and get to know him a little in those few days. The guy really is inspiring and generally seems willing to help others in any way possible.
I think the hardest thing God has called me to so far, is the situation I am currently struggling with.
I have a co-worker who is transgender. There really isn’t anything about that situation that I am comfortable with. The whole thing is just really confusing.
To be honest, it offends me. Not in a personal way like I was wronged, but in the sense that it just isn’t natural and it’s disturbing and all kinds of things come up that I would be happy to have never had to think about.
But, on the other hand, it is very obvious that this person has been deeply, deeply wounded. I can see it in his eyes and hear it in every word he speaks. And I don’t think you could put yourself through something like that, and then choose to live a lie for the rest of your life in order to feel “normal” unless there is a serious disconnect between your body, soul, and spirit.
I want so desperately to let this person know that they are valued, and that God didn’t make a mistake when He created him. Instead, I find myself being very judgemental and critical and deffensive, and everything but loving and accepting. For as much as my heart aches for this person, my flesh screams in protest.
So I’m caught between offense toward the “fakeness” in front of me, and offense toward the “fakeness” or hypocrasy inside myself. I definately need some God sized grace to walk this one out.
@KM, you are right at the place that God can begin to work. You have acknowledged your inability and are seeking his sufficiency. He will meet you there and help you the rest of the way. I’m praying for your struggle.
C.S. Lewis said that courage is the highest of the virtues.
He was on to something.
Thanks for finding strength…to admit your thoughts, to admit your struggle, yet the eyes of your heart have shown you the deep hurt in this person’s life. Remember, this person is being prayed for by someone’s family, perhaps years of praying, that God send SOMEONE to them to represent HIM …it is you.
How did God prepare Israel?
@KM – I have got to be honest, it amazes me that you actually think that it is your duty somehow to change this person. Has it ever occured to you that they might have a completely different belief system than you do? That they don’t view themself as “God’s mistake”? What if, God forbid, they felt that they had an obligation to change something about you? How offended would you be? Live, love, and let live.
What hard thing has God asked me to do?
Taking my friend to get his overdose sorted out, then the following day washing the blood from his arms where he’d slashed them with a razor, feeling my heart break as he told the doctors the story of the neglect and violence he’d suffered as a child, then taking him to hospital later the same day coz he’d done the other arm and spending 6 hours trying to get the doctors to take him seriously. Harder still, telling him when I got up that there would need to be boundaries in our friendship, that I couldn’t say I would be there whenever he needed me and that he could call any time of the day or night, because ultimately that wouldn’t be helpful for either one of us. Yet I still want to love him through this, and for him to know the only love in the universe that’s big enough to fill that void inside him. He’s started coming to church, so even though it’s been a tough week I know there is hope, that God will always come through in the hard things he’s called us to. If anyone can spare some prayer for him that’d be much appreciated.
One of the hardest things God has asked me, yet prepared me to do is take care of my mom. She was diagnosed with Normal Pressure Hydrocephalus and then had a blocked shunt, meningitis and a stroke, all while we were with her in Italy last summer.
I thought she was going to die.
Instead, God gave me strength to advocate for her, love her (she has lived a life full of bitterness, anger, and a host of other hurts and our relationship had not always been tender…) and bring her home, build an addition for her to live in, and oversee and carry out every aspect of care for her, some I suspect my husband would have difficulty providing for me…and believe me, God had lots of material to work with in changing me…
And yet God prepared me; I went to nursing school years ago to work in OB, yet I believe it really was for such a time as this. And a host of challenging experiences have provided ample fodder for me to develop responses of grace.
I would love to meet Israel…
Saz, you’re a hero. Loving the unlovely. What an awesome testimony – I’ll pray.
Kathy – I’ll try to get the message to Israel that you’d like to meet him.