Sunday, August 26, 2012

Dancing in the Dirt

**2nd post this weekend....similar subject. Yes, when I process one analogy and lesson it tends to pop up all over the place...sorry about that :)

It can be a tricky thing to come into a war torn, third world country to talk to women about brokenness.... All as a white woman from America. On the first morning of the conference, I started off by telling them that I knew they were probably thinking "what could this Mzungu possibly know about brokenness and healing? She doesn't know my pain." I shared that they were right... I haven't lived their lives or known their pain, but I do know pain. I know brokenness and abuse and abandonment. I know what it's like to be treated like trash more than treasure. I know what it's like to have really good people with great reputations want to throw you away. I know what it's like to be violated. I know loss. I know what it's like to feel so broken that you don't think you'll ever be whole again."

Jesus ran into a woman that I'm guessing felt the same way. When Jesus decided to hang out at the well in the middle of the day while His disciples went to town, my guess is that He knew He had an appointment to keep. It was here that He ran into "the woman at the well". A Sanaritan woman, going to the well in the middle of the day.... Most likely because she wasn't welcome in the early morning when everyone else was fetching their water. She had a reputation. She had wounds and issues.

Can you imagine the pain that brought her to going to the well mid-day? Can you imagine the days before she made that choice? The mornings spent standing in line to fetch water while her supposed friends talked about her? Her downcast glance as she avoided people she used to spend time with? Or maybe shed always been the outcast? The bad girl? Maybe she's never truly felt welcome during the girl time at the well first thing every morning? No matter how it came to be, we see her wounding when her very first statement to Jesus is a question "why are you talking to ME?"

But He does. He met her there. Right in the middle of her pain. Right at her well of shame.

And I wondered aloud to the women of Uganda about what He was really intending when He told her that He knew the truth about her.

Remember that this encounter changer her life. I am guessing that this is NOT just bc He told her about her sins. My guess is that she had no lack of people willing to tell her that they knew what she had done.

My guess is that is was all about the WAY He told her. My guess is that it was with gentleness and tenderness. My guess is that what He really conveyed here spoke to the doubts and questions of her heart. My guess is that He knew her first thought was "why is He talking to me?" and after He offered her living water she thought "yeah right.... If He knew who I was... What I've done.... What's been done to me.... He would never make such an offer". My guess is THAT is why He said that He knew. He was saying in essence "I know your story, baby girl. I know your life and yes I am STILL offering you living water"

He knows. He sees. And still... There in the dirt, He offers living water.

I've been talking a lot about dancing lately... It seems to be a metaphor for many things in my life. The same was true in Uganda. He offered to "turn your mourning into dancing".

When people told me that right after my life had fallen apart, it felt cruelz I felt like a woman who's arms and legs had been brutally cut off.... And here people were telling me to "get up and dance". But that's not how Jesus did it. Nope, He laid in my dirt with ms. He

I am under no illusions that the hurts and wounds of the women of Uganda can be healed overnight. Healing is a process. Healing comes in layers, especially when you are healing from MULTIPLE traumas like so many of these women are. So often, the church tries to offer a quick fix. Get up and dance. Turn your frown upside down. Just trust Jesus.

Sometimes, it's not that easy.

Instead, I told them what i had learned.... That it's ok to be scared, scary things have happened. It's ok to be wounded. It's ok to lay in the dirt with Jesus.

Right there, in your dirt, Jesus will lay down and gently begin to tend your wounds. One. By. One.

Later, when you're ready, He may offer to help you sit up in that dirt. But don't worry, He will be there to steady you.

A little while after that, He may gently take your hands and help you to slowly stand to your feet.

And then... When He has tended to those wounds and carefully helped each one to heal, He may take your hands... Right there in the dirt... And twirl you in circles as you dance together.

Dancing, in the dirt, on her hands and knees

It's a beautiful dance.

It's a gentle dance.

It's a dance done in dirt and grime, with scars covering your body. I used to want to clean all of the dirt off and cover up those scars. But they are there and it is how it's supposed to be.

It's beautiful. And it's possible, no matter how wounded or dirty you are.

And one of the most beautiful things, is that if you'll let Him, He will use that same dirt to invite others to dance in theirs.

Later on during the conference, one of the Ugandan organizers of the conference overheard a few of the village women talking about what I had shared that first day. "We can listen to her," they said, "she knows our pain"

My dirty, grimy, scarred up dance was, in fact, being used by Him to invite others to allow Him to heal their wounds and to eventually dance in their dirt with their Jesus.

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