“There is going to come a day when Kristen wants to quit. When that happens, bring her here to this place,” the photographer told our staff in Kenya.
It’s been a long year.
There have been days when I’ve forced myself out of bed.
I have been exhausted, and sad and maybe a little depressed. I have been elated, relieved and in awe. I have blamed God and praised Him. I wept at my regret and laughed with joy at my purpose. I have worked my butt off. I have tasted burnout and I have grown weary in well doing. I have seen miracles only to want more.
So, yeah, it’s been that kind of year. It’s been the year I’ve wanted to quit.
We all have them and learn what we can in the best way we know how.
But when I stood in this hell, I understood the photographer’s word and I knew he was right.
I couldn’t quit.
Because when we give up on ourselves, we don’t just quit something hard and heartbreaking–we also give up on others.
As I walked through Kenya’s massive dump that stretched the city for miles, I scolded myself for forgetting the scarf I’d doused in essential oils to hold close to my nose as I gagged and my eyes watered. The stench was overwhelming. I watched desperate women dig for daily bread in that mess and I knew that as long as this was their job, I couldn’t quit mine.
People are counting on me and so I must count on Him.
Somewhere along the way, I missed a step and didn’t realize it.
When my counselor asked me one day who kept Mercy House going, I immediately responded me.
She looked up from scribbling on her legal pad and I quickly said, “Um, I mean God.”
But we both knew the truth: I believed that Mercy House needed me and it burdened me down like a brick around my neck. The truth is Mercy House needs God and so do I. It led to some needed conversation about what was mine and what was His.
I don’t know what you want to quit today– that crisis, that class, that calling, that kid. Maybe you want to give up on your marriage, your mission, your motherhood.
You can’t give it up. But you can give it over to God.
Maybe you’re carrying something heavy too that isn’t yours–the blame for your broken marriage, the burden of your wayward child, the brokenness of this life.
There is going to come a day when you want to quit.
When that day arrives, we have to stand on the mountain of our mess and remember that quitting doesn’t work. But surrendering does.