I had a meltdown on the subway.
I guess it was bound to happen. In less than a week, I’d taken a quick trip to Kenya to show Ann Voskamp around and to bring back new fair trade pieces (rugs! throws!) from our artisans, spent a couple of sleepy days at home juggling all the things and then I was off to New York City to launch Mercy House’s first wholesale collection at a Handmade Global Market.
It started with my favorite boots. I grabbed a seat on the crowded subway and snuggled up to my sister and daughter in the freezing wind. I reached down to arrange my socks and noticed mud from the slum still caked on the heels of my boots.
And just like that –the two worlds I straddle (sometimes badly) collided. I was wide awake in the city that never sleeps.
The heavy responsibility, audacity and impossibility of what I was trying to do hit me like a ton of bricks. I know that God has asked us to turn very poor women into artisans as a way to prevent the trafficking that leads pregnant teen girls to our maternity homes, but it would have been a lot easier to turn skilled artisans into producers. But He asked and I said yes.
What began 8 years ago (this week!) as a desire to help survival prostitutes in Kenya, has taken us on the journey of job creation to not only provide opportunity where there is none, but to also fund three rescue centers from the result of those new jobs.
I kept repeating Jill Briscoe’s words, “You go where you’re sent, you stay where you’re put, you give what you’ve got until you’re done.”
But I was scared. And in the middle of that subway car, as my family held my hands and prayed for me, I couldn’t stop the tears.
Because no one will every really know the high cost of our yes.
But we keep answering because He keeps asking. We say yes because it’s worth it. We go because He came so that others my find Him. We don’t wait to become brave. “Courage isn’t a feeling you wait for. Courage is doing when you don’t have courage. Courage is doing it scared.” Jill Briscoe
Our amazing Mercy House team styled our beautiful booth and hung the cotton throws and soft rugs and I couldn’t help but tell everyone who would listen the names of the women who sat at looms for five long days to weave each one. I whispered miujiza “miracles” again and again under my breath, thanking God for asking, even if I continue to reply with a scared shaky yes.
It is working because He is working. And I’m constantly being worked on. So that I may do this work.
When the first order was placed, for a variety of our product, I had to let our staff continue the conversation with the customer because crying in NYC at the Global Handmade Market might be a little unprofessional.
But when you ask God for a creative idea for a product and He delivers and you fly across the ocean to sit in the homes of desperate women and teach it to them, when you dare to turn very poor women into artisans, and you stand in your unlikely booth in NYC and get your first large wholesale order, there will be tears.
I don’t know what God has asked you to do. But I am certain He is asking. Everyone of us is created to answer Him.
Yeah, I don’t know what He’s asking you today, but I know that it will cost you. The question might be to go. Or to stay. The question might be to open your home to a foster child or your heart to an orphan, to sponsor, support, someone who has less than you do, to sacrifice and share what you’ve been given.
And no one will ever really know what it will cost you–the great personal sacrifice of your time and resources, the energy expended, the fears and tears, the hurtful words of those who question your yes, the way it has broken your heart and given you purpose, the stress and tension its put on your family, the gray hair, the 10 extra pounds, the helpless pain of carrying another person’s trauma, the crushing burden and unspeakable joy it brings you. But God know and He’s the only one who really counts.
We say yes because this is God’s good plan–to use the scared, the unlikely, the broken, the uncertain yes-sayers to do Kingdom work for His glory.
You go where you’re sent, you stay where you’re put, you give what you’ve got until you’re done.
Lean in. Listen close. Say yes to God, friends. It’s worth it. Because it’s here in this place–with mud on our boots and tears in our eyes–we meet Jesus.