A woman named named Seda walked into our house this evening, pulled me into a hug, and I immediately felt released. Seda's from the Ivory Coast, was in Africa for the summer or would have been in our house two months ago. Warm, friendly and grateful to us, she is also a teller of truth, and before she left our house, Seda told some hard ones to the 15-year-old daughter of her best friend. V sat quietly on our couch and listened to her 'auntie Seda' tell her how hard this summer had been for us, how grateful she should be, how wrong she'd been to have run away from our house. Then she said, "You need to apologize to them. I hope you already have, (she hadn't!) but even if you have, you're going to again. And I'm getting out my cell-phone to record it." V, who had texted Beve last night, "I wasn't disobeying, I just needed space," just sat there, but Seda crossed her arms across an expansive chest and gave her the hairy eye-ball, and finally V turned to me and actually said she was sorry--for the first time all summer. Not just those words, but those words with meat behind them. I was moved. Where had this woman been all this time?
Then Seda laid down the law in her house. There's going to be a tight rein on V now. She's blown it, big time. And, as Seda said, "I didn't move 25,000 miles away from my home for education not to be important."
V's life is going to be study, study, study. But there's so much love in Seda for this girl. Where had she been all this time?
We carried V's stuff out to the car, hugged her good bye, and walked away. And J drove up just then, so we were all a little giddy, standing around in the house. Then then Seda knocked on the door again, and I went back out the help her move her car. Beve told her we'd just been asking where she'd been all this time.
And she said, "I had to be gone so she could live with you."
From my journal on June 21st:
Last night, after reading Psalm 51, which spurred thoughts of repentance, I asked God to forgive me for wanting things different with V, for not wanting her here, to be blunt. And I heard that voice that I've come to recognize as His say, "She needed to live in your home." Just that. No long paragraphic explanation, but I was stopped in my tracks, so to speak. She needs to live here. It doesn't matter if I'm called to do this work, have the gifts or bent of hospitality. This girl at this moment needs to live in our home. It is His purpose for HER. Not against/counter to His purpose for us, but our purpose at this moment is to embrace that she needs to be here.
I don't know if you feel chills reading this, but I do. These kind of things always give me Holy Spirit chills. It would be easy for me to feel at this specific moment that V's time with us was a failure. It certainly seemed to ended that way. But seemed is the operative word. And in God's economy, we never know what is contained behind the seams, do we? Right now, I am awed that God chose this moment to reveal Himself so profoundly to me. At the very point where I could be chastising myself as a loser or determining I will "never".... (there are so many things at the end of that sentence I can't even begin to list them all) He reminds me that He was in this beginning, middle and certainly ending, as difficult, stressful and painful as it was.
And for that I will rejoice, yes, and I will rejoice.