My Place in this World
“The place that God calls us is the place where the world’s deep hunger and our deep desire meet.”-Frederick Buechner
Ever since I set foot in Swaziland in 2008, I knew it would hold my heart forever. I know the Lord has called me there for a specific purpose, and ever since I came back from my nine month teaching adventure in 2010, many people ask me, “So when are you moving there?” or “Are you going to go back long term?” The answer in my head has always been “yes,” but I just don’t know when. When, Lord, am I called to go back for good? It’s so painful living with a broken heart and being away from a place I call “home” and beautiful children that call me “mama.” Sometimes I honestly wish I didn’t care because then it wouldn’t hurt. But that’s just a selfish attempt to protect my brokenness, when really brokenness is a beautiful thing.
Recently, especially after the way this past school year ended (and other events from my previous blog post), I’ve been wondering if maybe I’m not supposed to go back to Swaizland long term. What if I am supposed to stay here in the States but just go back to Swazi and visit, lead teams like I am this summer for Hosea’s Heart. That thought turns the knife that’s already in my heart. How can I not go back? How can I stay away much longer?
I am torn. I am conflicted. I feel called to two different places. I feel called to Swaziland as my life mission, yet I feel called to the broken and empty American youth, too. Lately, I’ve been secretly planning my departure for Swaziland indefinitely, but just a week ago I read something that made me stop dead in my plans.
“The place that God calls us is the place where the world’s deep hunger and our deep desire meet.” As soon as I read those words, I knew what it meant (though I hardly want to believe it). Though there is a physical hunger that is so cruel and unjust, there is a spiritual hunger that starves beyond a physical sense. The best way I’ve been able to sum up my confliction with my purpose is this: If I knew I were dying right now, I would without hesitation move to Swazi. I would go there to spend every last ounce of love and hope and breath to pour out onto these girls, these forgotten ones. I would do everything I could to love and serve and bring them the hope and healing of Jesus Christ. BUT, (as my good friend Lindsay Crouse had once commented) if the world were ending, I’d stay here. I’d spend every last ounce of life and breath loving people with the light of Christ so that their spiritual hunger may finally be satisfied.
So, I guess my conclusion at this point, is that my deep desire is to bring hope and healing–and that’s to the girls in Swazliand, and that’s to my students right here. Maybe it’s not about where I physically am, but where my heart is. I can’t physically be in two places at once, but my heart certainly can. As my dear brother suggested, “Your hands are needed there, Kate, but your heart is needed here.”
So here I will remain until the Lord says, “Time to move.” I’ll have to settle with just spending summers in Swazi, which to some might sound like plenty of time, but to me it’s still so painful to be away for so long. One thing I have found to be healing for my own heart, though, is that when the people I love here want to know and help the people I know there. A piece of my heart heals every time a student wants to know more about Swazi, asks about my kids, or puts thoughts into action and create fundraisers for them. But I think the greatest healing is going to come this summer, as I journey to Swazi with a group of ten team members!
My heart is already healing at the thought of my mother meeting my children, my sister seeing the faces she’s been yearning to hold, my brother breaking for the hearts he’ll minister to there. My heart is already healing that my best friend from high school who has always been so supportive of me is serving with our team, that Hosea’s Heart co-founder is going to be lit on fire for a cause he’s only been invested in from afar, that a dear friend whom I met while counseling at Lutherdale Bible Camp all those years ago is diving into this journey, that a beautiful young teacher with a passionate heart is so joyfully excited for this mission, that a lovely friend who the Swazis adore is coming back again for the second summer, that a third young man with an incredible heart will be an example of a man of God for these children, and that a young woman from Oregon is sacrificing a year of her life to volunteer with Hosea’s Heart and serve the girls of Swaziland with a heart of abandonment. Wow. What an incredible summer this will be to be blessed by so many incredible teammates!
Follow us on our journey at: http://www.hoseasheart.org/blog.html.