I returned home last weekend from a missions trip to El Salvador that my mom and her friend led. I joined 18 amazing women from my church to host 3 women’s conferences with King’s Castle Ministries. What a privilege it was to love on the Salvadoran women that came. Their life is HARD. The women who attended the first two conferences live in rural areas where there is no running water. In the dry season, some of those women have to walk close to 2 miles down a mountain to get water from the nearby lake and carry it close to 2 miles back up the mountain on their heads. We had the opportunity to feed these women’s stomachs and souls, give them neck, back and hand massages, the opportunity to win gas ovens/stoves and handmade aprons and sent them each home with a tote bag full of food and other goodies.
The highlight of the trip for me though was the opportunity to speak at a small Salvadoran country church where my friend is a pastor. I met Wilfredo back in 2001 when my church went down after 2 massive earthquakes devastated the country. Half of Wilfredo’s community was buried alive from a landslide that occurred in the first earthquake. The survivors were displaced to a soccer field which later was built up into their new residence called Nueva Esperanza (New Hope).
When my team and I got to Nueva Esperanza back in 2001 I filled my hands with lollipops and was quickly surrounded by many children. While kids’ first reactions to my disability are usually staring, pointing and even laughing, Wilfredo responded very differently to me. Right away he came over and put his arm around me; and wherever I went that day, Wilfredo went with his arm still around me.
Our team did a program for this community while we were there giving out relief supplies. We did songs, a drama and shared the Gospel message. My Spanish is poor at best, but that day God anointed my language and enabled me the privilege of leading Wilfredo to the Lord! Through the help of my friend who was a missionary down there, this boy and I kept in touch through written letters and I would visit him every time I went back to El Salvador. Well, today Wilfredo is married with 2 kids and as I mentioned above, is a pastor! He had been wanting me to share my testimony at his church for a few years now and I finally got that opportunity!! What a thrill for both of us.
I was honored to be one of the speakers at each of the conferences earlier that week along with my pastor’s wife. I spoke on being confident in who God has made us to be in spite of everything in and around us that speaks to our imperfections. While God has given me a lot of confidence in who He has created me to be and has given me a platform to inspire courage and confidence in others, I still have those times when my insecurities can keep me quiet and withdrawn. I am so glad that the day I met Wilfredo wasn’t one of those days. I never would have met him if I avoided the kids that day because of how they often make me feel. Handing out lollipops sure seemed like an insignificant task, but God had plans of significance through it.
Sometimes God uses what the world sees as imperfections to make us the perfect candidate for a worthy task. The powerful image above by Alan Wnuk has always resonated with me as it reminds me that my strength lies in how I see myself. Just because the mirror tells me I’m small, it does not mean that I am weak. And just because I look different and struggle physically, it does not mean that I am insignificant. What makes us different makes us uniquely qualified for the plans and purposes that God has for our lives. He doesn’t only use our strengths for His glory, but He uses our weaknesses too. Wow. The world needs you and me just the way we are.
I swear, my 11 lb. Yorkie never did look in the mirror. He’d go up to the biggest dogs, including the neighborhood Rottweiler, and bark right in their face. You know what they say, “It’s not the size of the dog in the fight, but the fight inside the dog”. Well, that’s true for us too. We need to stop listening to the voices in and around us that call us “less than” and live out of the power of Christ that is in us. If you are a follower of Jesus, then the Lion of Judah is living within you. It’s time to ROAR in the face of the things that hold us back from being all that God has created you and me to be. Now, who do you see when you look in the mirror?