I am writing a book about our years in Haiti. In the process of writing, I am also reading. Today I started reading Kisses From Katie by Katie Davis, who is a single missionary and adoptive mom of thirteen in Uganda. I have to admit I am almost completely jealous. As I read about the land of Uganda – the hardships and beauty, and the people – those so desperate for God’s love, I feel I’m back in Haiti. Or I guess I wish I was back in Haiti. Katie’s story is incredible. She is sold out to God and is full of His joy in the midst of a place most of us would be miserable in. I remember those contradictory feelings. I remember the heat and the way life was just so hard. But I also remember feeling so fully alive… quite different from being so comfortable that I am almost numb.
I am jealous of Katie because she’s in the thick of that hard, abandoned-to-God life. I am back in the comforts of the U.S. I am jealous because anyone who reads her story can’t help but be in awe. I am living such a bland life right now that if I told you about it, you couldn’t help but yawn. I’m ashamed to admit that I’m jealous of Katie because her story is in a book and thousands will read it and marvel. And I’m ashamed to admit that I want thousands to read my story and marvel. Maybe someday they will. But I am asking myself if they will marvel for the right reasons… marvel at the right Person.
“The heart is deceitful and desperately wicked…” My primary motivation for writing has always been to give God the glory for what He has done for us. A nine-year long adoption process, culminating in a dramatic miracle… It’s all about Him and giving Him glory. Then there’s the nine years in between the beginning and the end of the story. God kept us in the palm of His hand all that time. He deserves the glory for that too. So where do things get messed up? With my deceitful heart. When I begin to tell our stories, how quickly my mind can shift from how awesome God is to how I managed to survive such challenges. I think about how obvious my courage and perseverance will be. Well, I don’t actually think such things – I wouldn’t dare. I just feel such things deep underneath my more spiritual thoughts.
When I read Katie’s book, I’m convicted on so many levels. First of all, I fight the sinful jealousy. Then I am taken back to Haiti and the hurting people that I am no longer of any help to – do I still care? Do I pray? I am convicted about my current passions – am I really sold out to Jesus? Would I do anything He asked me to do?
And so I ask myself, What do you want from me, Lord Jesus? Show me. I really want to be used by Him. Have you ever heard someone say what a privilege it is to be used by God? How they consider it an honor to be His servant? I think it’s actually a longing that He gives us. What if part of my jealousy is actually a holy jealousy given to me by the Holy Spirit? What if, after I ask Jesus to rid my heart of the self-centered desire for attention and the praise of others, there remains a jealousy that I’m supposed to have? What if jealousy is exactly what God intends for me upon seeing the joy that is possible when I do what God wants me to do?