Your God Story is Powerful!

I am once again in awe of God.

Just over one week ago, I was in the beautiful country of Rwanda with a very specific God assignment.  

Earlier that morning, our team leader shared that we would be visiting Mama Joy’s Ministry.  She is helping women get off the streets by teaching them life skills like how to sew.   She asked at our team meeting for one of us to share a devotional or words of encouragement to these women.

As I went back to my room, I saw my broken clay pot in my suitcase.  In my heart, I could hear God saying these women are broken just like your clay pot and you can share your testimony on brokenness. 

God was asking me to step out in faith.

To say that I was nervous is an understatement.  I had never stood in front of a group of women and shared my story before.  My emotions were high.  As I was getting on the bus, my eyes just kept watering. 

As the tears kept running down my face, I thought it was because I was concerned about being prepared for this last minute God assignment.  But as I sat quietly on the bus, I knew deep in my heart that God had been preparing me for this for a long time.   Thinking through the words in my book and my recent blog posts on brokenness, I realized that God was just asking me to share my life message.

God never wastes a hurt!  He specializes in turning our pain into His purpose.

I just had to trust that He would give me the words to share with these women.  Friends, I am here to say that He was once again faithful.

In a tiny alley on the streets of Rwanda, I poured out my heart and shared my broken story.   

Holding up my broken pot, I shared how my world got turned upside down when I had my miscarriage as well as how my heart was shattered into a million pieces when I walked through my divorce.  But through it all, I shared about God’s love, comfort, and faithfulness to meet me in the middle of my heartbreak.  

Honestly that day, even though I was sharing my personal story, I was really sharing God’s story!  God’s story of redemption in my life.

Friends, God wants to use all of our heartbreaks, hurts, and pain as we share His story in our lives.   His closeness when we are heartbroken.  His comfort and love when we are grieving.  His faithfulness to redeem it for His purpose.

Your God Story is powerful! 

Your personal example of how God was faithful and met you in your pain is exactly what another hurting heart needs to hear today.  I want to encourage you to take a step of faith and share your broken story.   There is power in our God Stories!

Love, Jodi

Remembering Rwanda!

Her words touched my heart.

As she shared her story, her eyes revealed years of struggle and hardship.  A survivor of the genocide. A single mom of 3 kids.  A woman fighting HIV+.  Her frail, weak body poured out her heart to us as we crammed together inside a tiny room she called home.  

We asked how we could pray for her and she said, “Please remember.  Remember me and my family in your prayers when you return home.”  Her words keep ringing in my head.

Please Remember!

There is so much I want to remember from our life changing trip to Rwanda with my younger son, Conor.  I want to remember the God moments, the heart felt stories and especially the people.  Below are some special people that we met and want to remember.

Florence, the single mom that I described above.  As I stared into her eyes, I could see that life had been very tough.  She shared that her husband left her when she became sick and paralyzed by the illness.  Thankfully the church stepped in to help with her children and get her medication. On my hard days as a single mom when I am tempted to complain or get frustrated, I want to picture Florence.  My hard days do not even compare to her struggles.  We truly have so much to be grateful for. 

I want to remember to choose gratitude!

Joseph, a twenty-year old who we met him on another home visit. Sadly, he lost his father and siblings in the genocide. This young man is seeking.  As we sat in his home with his mother, he asked lots of questions.  He showed an interest in learning more about Jesus and being baptized.  Even after sharing our faith, he was not quite ready to make a decision.  Before we left, we prayed for him.  It was special that we were able to plant seeds in this young man’s heart and I know God will continue to water them.  Praying for God’s perfect timing for him.  We were thrilled to hear that he attended church the following week- God is so good!

I want to remember the power of prayer! 

Innocent, a preschool teacher who we met while helping at his school.  When we asked about the challenges he faced as a teacher, he shared that they don’t have any visual aids or hands on supplies to teach.  Only a pencil and paper. As a fellow teacher, my heart just broke as a pictured my classroom full of colorful posters, manipulatives and hands on supplies.  To help, we began saving our bottle caps from our water bottles as math manipulatives.  In addition, before we left, we gifted this school with crayons, soccer balls, stickers, and colored construction paper.  I will never forget their smiles as they received these teaching aids.  Helping meet others’ needs is a priceless gift.

I want to remember the importance of helping others.

Finally, I want to remember the sweet, smiling faces of the children.  It is wonderful to see how much joy they have.  I remember meeting Divine and his younger brother, Jeffrey at church.  Divine was only 10 years old and he was holding and taking care of his 18 month old brother.  Jeffrey had fallen asleep on his lap so he could not participate in the singing or bible story activity. To help, I held his brother so he could participate.   This is not uncommon in Rwanda to see young children caring for even younger children. The older siblings don’t complain about the additional responsibilities whether it is walking to get water or taking care of younger siblings. 

I want to remember to have joy no matter what the circumstances.

There are many more life lessons and amazing stories to share in later posts!  Conor and I are thankful to have experienced such an amazing two weeks in Rwanda.  We arrived home safely yesterday and are still processing all that God has shown us and taught us.  

Our trip to Rwanda has changed our hearts forever!  

Love, Jodi