I feel like there hasn’t been a moment to really sit and write since we got here! But God has placed this on my heart to share since Monday.
In Haiti (really anywhere) – it’s always the little things that keep people from talking. When I arrived in the Mole – I noticed that some of my women were not at the New Years Eve Party. I noticed again on Sunday – they weren’t there either. So I took Sunday afternoon to talk to the Pastor’s wife to figure out what was going on.
The women had a Secret Santa Christmas Exchange that went wrong! We do secret Santa every year in St. Louis. But apparently we didn’t explain it well enough for here. They all drew names – but they never saw the name they drew. They just handed the folded piece of paper to the Pastor’s wife. The point of Secret Santa is keeping the person you drew a secret. But you are supposed to know who you’re buying for. Well no one knew anything.
Then all the women brought their gifts to be wrapped by the Pastor’s wife so she could stick the name on the present. Well people thought that the Pastor’s wife was switching names around so that her friends got the best gifts! When the party took place – people were angry and they left the presents and walked out of the church!
Seriously? This silly thing is going to divide our women? I don’t think so. Momma Gigi and I went to a few of the women’s houses to encourage them to come to Bible Study on Monday. They reluctantly agreed.
At 4pm Monday I had 3 women sitting on the benches. I was nearly devastated. I have worked too hard and too long to get these women on track to lose them over something so ridiculous. I told Momma Gigi to go ahead and start the service singing. As she sang – the church slowly began to fill up. By 4:20 – our pews were full! Everyone was there!
Before I got up to speak I had them sing a beautiful song about forgiveness. The lyrics say –
Pardon Me Lord. I know I shouldn’t have said what I said.
Pardon Me Lord. I know I shouldn’t have done what I did.
Pardon Me Lord. I know I shouldn’t have gone where I went.
Pardon Me Lord. I know I shouldn’t have seen what I saw.
Pardon me Lord. Lord – Please Pardon Me.
On my knees Lord – Please Pardon me.
I explained to the women there are 2 kinds of forgiveness. There is forgiving someone else – and there is forgiving yourself.
I shared a few personal stories – where I deeply needed forgiveness. Not that I deserved it- but I needed it just the same. I shared about a time when I wasn’t forgiven for my actions. I had been held prisoner by my sin. I explained to them that Forgiveness is me giving up my right to hurt you for hurting me. It’s loving someone who doesn’t deserve it. I asked them are they holding anyone hostage right now?
I shared about my biggest struggle – forgiving myself. Sometimes we hold other people prisoner and sometimes that prisoner is ourself. There are things from this past year that I struggle to get over. Even though I’ve been forgiven – I can’t let it go. It used to keep me from sleeping. I am learning that forgiveness is setting a prisoner free and realizing that prisoner was you.
I explained that forgiveness is not about right or wrong. It’s about making peace with yourself. It’s about letting go of the person who hurt you AND the event that transpired. It’s not for the weak – no – forgiveness is an attribute of the strong.
At the end of my talk – I asked them to pray with all their heart. To ask for forgiveness and guidance. Then ask for deliverance – and He will deliver them.
Then we sang the song above again.
A few hours later Momma Gigi came to me. She told me that the women came together – hugged each other – cried – and let it all go! AMEN.
We had a staff meeting yesterday. I knew that there were issues with two of our staff members. It had been that way for months. Before we closed the meeting – I made us deal with everything. Everyone had a chance to clear the air with what was on their heart. The meeting went for nearly 3 hours. There were moments where it was really intense. But it ended with two grown men – embracing each other with forgiveness.
I don’t know where you are right now. Whether you’re holding yourself hostage or someone else. But let me tell you – there is no better feeling than freedom! It’s a new year. It’s time for a clean slate. Whatever it is – let it go. Ask for deliverance. – HE. WILL. DELIVER.