As I have written in a few past posts, it took me about 2 weeks to decide if I should go on this tour across Canada telling a devastatingly beautiful story about a young girl who has been trafficked and a man who goes out to try and stop it. This is my life right now. We are only 3 cities into the tour and already I feel like we’ve been doing this forever. I think it hit me big just in the last few days when we drove 3 days straight from Saskatoon to Ottawa. Those were long days!
Anyhow, I decided to go on the tour because it would not leave me alone. It was pounding on my heart and I could not say no to it. It was pounding on my heart. What’s that supposed to mean? I don’t know that I could explain it to you.
What I do know is that I was told by my mother to lay on my bed and just breathe. Breathe in the silence and listen. I cannot express how scared I was. I became completely aware of how I was doing anything and everything to avoid sitting in the silence and listening for God. Why is it so hard to deal with SILENCE?
The other day my friend Sienna lost her iPod. Either it was somewhere in the car or it fell out of the car hundreds of miles back. It really upset her. Of course it would, an iPod isn’t cheap. When inquiring about it to her a few days later she said, “You know, maybe it’s ok that I lost it. Maybe it’s good for me to just listen to the silence.”
Rob Bell did a great little talk on NOISE. In it he said, ”182 million people are regularly exposed to noise levels labeled as excessive by the Environmental Protection Agency.” Do you ever intentionally surround yourself with noise? We have so many gadgets and gizmos these days. We are always playing music in the house, in the car, in the background, as we fall asleep. Why do we do that?
Do you wish God’s voice would be louder in your life?
Does all the noise around you maybe make it hard to hear God?
Let me tell you. I talked to so many people about the tour before I said yes to it. I talked to everyone. I have never talked about anything so much in my life. I guess maybe I wanted someone else to tell me what to do or tell me that it was the right thing to do. I spent so much time worrying and talking about it to others and even to God. I talked and talked and talked to God. I did. Lots. But I never stopped to listen to what he might have to say.
Do you sometimes avoid silence because you’re afraid of what God might actually have to say to you?
When we were in Saskatoon we were billeted with the most lovely couple. They took such good care of us. It was such a blessing to be in a real home and have real breakfast. They even set up a fire the first night were were there and we had smores! Then they sent a smore kit with us as a goodbye gift! Lovely people! There was a small mall near their home that I would run past most mornings and inside I picked up a booked with quotes by Mother Teresa. The book is called Where There is Love, There is God.
Of course, silence would be quoted among the first few pages. It’s a word that has been going through my head over and over the last few months now and it won’t leave me alone!
Mother Teresa says, “If we talk always we cannot pray. Jesus is not present within me. We must keep silent. In the silence of the heart God speaks. Listening is the beginning of prayer, and what we listen to is the voice of God, God that cannot deceive or be deceived. Then if we keep silence, silence cannot be corrected; if we speak, if we answer back, we make mistakes.Try to be alone. Try to keep that really deep silence to get rid of bitterness or hatred.
I think it is very important: that union with God. You must be full of silence, for in the silence of the heart God speaks. And empty heart God fills. Even Almighty God will not fill a heart that is full-full of pride, bitterness, jealousy-we must give these things up. As long as we are holding these things, God cannot fill it. Silence of the heart, not only of the mouth-that too is necessary-but more, that silence of the mind, silence of the eyes, silence of the touch. Then you can hear Him everywhere: in the closing of the door, in the person who needs you, in the birds that sing, in the flowers, the animals-that silence which is wonder and praise. Why? Because God is everywhere and you can see Him and hear Him. That crow is praising God-I can hear its sound well-that stupid crow; we can see Him and hear Him in that crow and pray, but we cannot see and hear Him if our heart is not clean.”
When I finally stopped puttering around, stopped talking, stopped thinking and was just still in the silence God spoke to my heart and I knew. I knew I had to do this tour because I finally surrendered to God’s will. I cannot tell you how important that is. I can tell you that even though I know this, it still scares me. I’m scared of what God will ask me to do. This tour isn’t easy. Apart from telling a brutal story, I have a lot of other struggles that I could have avoided by not coming on this tour. But God has placed me here and I see the blessing of it. I would not want to be anywhere else. And maybe a decision that should not have been hard was hard because it meant more than I could ever imagine. And maybe my voice is just the right one to be carrying so many other voices.
“Search your hearts and be Silent.” Ps. 4:4.
Today was the first day of our Canada tour that we did 2 shows and a talk back in between. She Has a Name is a hard show to do twice in one day. I am emotionally raw and exhausted. I wasn’t part of the talk back. Andrew Kooman, the playwright, Rachel Hansen, India Field Director for Mission of Mercy Canada and Matt Baden, Calgary Community Engagement Coordinator for ACT Alberta were on the panel and I sat with the patrons and took in the conversation.
A lot of amazing things were shared and asked and each of the people on the panel were incredibly articulate. Andrew talked a lot about the value of each of our human hearts, about how we each have gifts and how we can use those gifts to get involved. At the end of the talk Jamie, the AD of Burnt Thicket Theatre, ask each of the panelists to share a story of HOPE.
The story that Rachel Hansen shared sticks out to me. She works in India building schools and homes and finding the children on the streets before the exploiters do. She talked about a young woman she met at the school one day. Rachel asked the girl to to tell her her story. The girl shared that at the age of 8 she was sold and moved around to more than 4 different cities. In this time the young girl was mistreated so much that she really began to loose her mind. The exploiters didn’t want her any more so they threw her out onto the streets. No one wanted her. Who knows how long she was on the streets before Rachel’s team found her. When she was found her hand and feet bound and she was tied to a tree. Even when she was taken in, no one really knew what to do with her. However, they started to love on her. They started to treat her with love, kindness and openess. They began to pray over her and sing with her and finally this young girl began to heal. Because people accepted her as she was, cared for her she was able to take the next steps into healing, learning and growing. Rachel asked her what it was like to take these steps. She said: “I do not know how to say it in words but I can show you.” The young girl then put on some music and danced for Rachel.
Beautiful story. It brought tears to my eyes. I think I can grasp a little understanding from my life to know what it feels like not to have words for something that I feel deep down; that sometime like a dance, or a sound, or a song, or even just tears will be words enough to say what I am feeling inside. That spoke deeply to me. I can feel her pain and her joy in her action to play music and dance to express herself.
Friday Night Knitting Club - Kate Jacobs
In faith, I do not love thee with mine eyes, For they in thee a thousand errors note;