Friday, May 30, 2014

Confessions of a non-profit leader

"This burden feels crushing" - what I texted a friend this week.

I want to tell you the truth. The real truth of what it means to lead a non-profit (or 3). Except I also don't want to tell you. Part of me wants you to think I can do all of this with a smile on my face at all times and a happy spring to my step (while also keeping a perfect home and raising perfect kids and being a pinterest-perfect mama). Part of me wants you to see me as professional and polished and nonplussed, taking on the world's burdens without a care in the world - confidently striding about knowing God is in control.

But that would be a lie. (hmmmmm to really correct this lie, I may need to do a whole series of posts!)

I'm exhausted. I've spend a good portion of today crying my eyes out.

Sometimes the burden feels so heavy.

212 kids who need school fees or will be sent home (school has already started).
**approximately $7,700 still to raise

villages that need clean water.
**approximately $4200 needed just to have enough wells for all of the people of Olusai

100 mamas who want to be trained for business.
**approximately $9,000 left to raise

2,500 women who want to come to a women's conference
**$2,500 still to raise

4 professionals who will willingly donate their services to our trip, if I can raise the funds to send them
**$12,000 left to raise

Add to that hearing today the stories from the ground of Richard, who at 18 is the head of his household. His mama, Lois, died last year from cancer. (She's the reason we started raising money for all the mamas who are sick). Richard now is in charge of his siblings (3 years, 5 years, 9 years, 11 years and an older brother who is mentally disabled). They are what we call a child-headed household. They are sleeping in the dirt with no bedding and very few clothes and the elementary kids aren't going to school. We need to raise $500 for their basic

I hung up from the call with Rita, in Uganda, and I just cried. No problem. Let's break from the fundraising that feels like it's breaking me already and raise $500 today. But I surely can't say no. They are children.

"Hand it back over to Jesus" people say when I share how heavy my heart is some days.

honestly? I sorta want to slap people when they say that. (it's ok if you've said that to me though :)

Not because I don't think there is truth to that statement. I DO believe I need to continually bring these burdens to my Jesus and remember that He has unlimited resources and He loves them more than I do and He can be trusted.

But I also think this burden is heavy and He knows that

I don't think he would have looked at Simon, who carried his actual cross for Him and said "I bet that feels light." I think His statement about His burden being light was about salvation; about how He doesn't require people to jump through hoops for salvation.

But this burden? In my best guess based on my relationship with Jesus, I bet He would instead say, "I know how heavy this is, sweet girl. Oh how I know. I have carried it and continue to carry it now. I am here. I know this burden. I'm proud of you for being willing to bear this and to witness a part of the heart of God in the process. You are not carrying this alone, dear one. I am here. I am present. I am working. Watch me work."

You see, when someone says for me to just give it to Jesus, it feels shaming. As if my burden only feels heavy because I can't quite figure out how to be spiritual enough to get out from under it. And don't worry, no one needs to shame me....I do enough of that myself. Constantly wondering if it's too heavy because I took on too much, if I'm not giving it to Jesus enough, if I am doing enough of my part and being a good steward of my part of the responsibility.  (PS: I KNOW that people are really only just saying the thing that has been said to them and are doing it out of pure love for me and how painful it is to see someone you love in no shame for you if you've said that to me!)

Today, I go back to my Jesus and I hear that it's ok that it's heavy. Yep. It's heavy. These are real people with hard problems and deep pain and entering into their world can be hard. It can hurt like hell. These are big issues. Big pain. Big burdens He's asked me to bear with Him. "Bear one another's burdens" He asked us.....I'm just bearing the ones of 1,000 mamas half a world away.

It's hard. But it's also worth it. Please know that even in the moments when I'm scared and it hurts and I'm out on the deep water and waiting for more miracles than I could care to count, I am still so very thankful to have the opportunity to do this. I love what I'm permitted to do. I love these mamas. I love being used by God to be a part of putting kids in school, bringing clean water, caring for orphans and a whole mess of other things. It is worth it....but it's also hard and it's time we started telling the truth about that at times.