Tuesday, August 16, 2011

Memorial Day II

When I woke up on Friday morning for Day 2 of the Global Leadership Summit, I was still in the zone from all that took place the day before. On my way to the conference, I pondered what God was doing and saying and then thought about what I’d written the night before (Memorial Day). I was so exhausted that night, I wondered if I was too emotional about the day when I sat down to write all that (meanwhile God was all over that day and confirmed things multiple times). Sounds ridiculous, I know. I’m just being real...

Well, the morning session of the summit was on 'Tough Callings' and it started out with Wess Stafford, President and CEO of Compassion International. Serving with Compassion is a tough calling for sure, an organization committed to reaching out to children in poverty throughout the world. One of the other people who also shared was Mama Maggie Gobran of Stephen’s Children. Mama Maggie has been referred to as the 'Mother Teresa of Cairo.' Her life is totally devoted to the thousands of poor and hungry children in the slums of that city. A need so great but not too great for her Great God. Mama Maggie is a woman so simple and yet so beautiful; so small in stature and yet so powerful in spirit. I took some notes during the session but for the most part, I was so captivated by her message that I didn’t get to write much down.  

In her simple white gown and head covering, she talked about true elegance and said “to be elegant comes from the inside, to love. To love is to give, to give until it hurts.” Mama Maggie came from a prominent family, an affluent lifestyle with education, money, comfort, fashion, travel. Yet when Jesus spoke to her heart, she gave up everything to serve the poor children in Cairo. “When I touch a poor child, I’m touching Jesus. When I listen to a poor child, I’m listening to God’s heart beating for all humanity.”

“For I was hungry and you gave me something to eat, I was thirsty and you gave me something to drink, I was a stranger and you invited me in, I needed clothes and you clothed me, I was sick and you looked after me, I was in prison and you came to visit me … Truly I tell you, whatever you did for one of the least of these brothers and sisters of mine, you did for me.” - Matthew 25:35-36, 40

She emphasized silence and closed her session with this: “Silence your body to listen to words.  Silence your thoughts to listen to your heart beating. Silence your heart to listen to your spirit.  Silence your spirit to listen to His spirit.” And after hearing her profound words, silent it was. God’s presence was so evident. Mama Maggie has a tough calling but she answers it each day – for the sake of the Gospel, for the sake of those kids. A true hero in the faith.

Bill Hybels closed that session and he spoke about the prophet, Jeremiah, who most certainly had a ‘tough calling.’ The message was from Jeremiah 20 where he was basically mad at God for the circumstances he was in – “torn between his calling and his ache for success,” said Hybels. Hardships, trials, difficulties. No reward, no accolades, no fruit. But then reminded us of Jeremiah’s words in Lamentations 3:22-23 – “Because of the LORD’s great love we are not consumed, for His compassions never fail. They are new every morning; great is Your faithfulness.” He knew the God He served. The verses to follow are just as powerful…

“I say to myself, “The LORD is my portion; therefore I will wait for him.” The LORD is good to those whose hope is in him, to the one who seeks him; it is good to wait quietly for the salvation of the LORD. It is good for a man to bear the yoke while he is young. Let him sit alone in silence, for the LORD has laid it on him.”
- Lamentations 3:24-28


When we entered the building that morning, we were all given Ziploc bags with little broken pieces of clay/pottery (every GLS host site received them). Before ending the session, Bill Hybels said for everyone to pull out the broken piece and challenged us that if we were serious about the things of God and the condition of the world, to write something on that clay as a reminder.

A memorial.

And in my case, a confirmation (of a confirmation of a confirmation) of the day before. So there, in the silence and solemnity of that moment, I wrote down on one side what I had written the night before, “I Will Remember.”

Praise God for His faithfulness (especially in my hard-headed, second-guessing, faithless moments). He led me to write on Thursday night to mark August 11, 2011 as a day I was to remember. A day He spoke. And with his great love, unfailing compassion and new mercies, He spoke to me again. August 12, 2011. Memorial Day II.

I don’t know the big picture nor do I need to know. I just know the great God whom I serve. He is my portion and I will wait for Him.

“…Yet this I call to mind
and therefore I have hope: 
Because of the LORD’s great love
we are not consumed,
for His compassions never fail.
They are new every morning;
great is Your faithfulness."
– Lamentations 3:22-23


Lindsey said...

oh jenn, thank you for sharing this. i can't wait to see what He does! you are a mighty woman of faith and i know what He brings you to will be GOOD.

Jennifer Roth said...

Thanks, Linds! You're always such an encouragement. I look forward to seeing you soon! Love ya. :)