Around here, we live bent low.
Tuesday morning ladies from Masese stream through my front door. We have moved our weekly meeting from the slum of Masese to my living room because I have been up all night with new foster baby and can’t imagine getting all 14 of these little people out of the house. Excited about a change of pace and my sweet friends in my home, I enlist the help of darling Tamara and 13 eager little girls to give these ladies pedicures. We wash and we rub and we paint. I rub lotion into old scarred feet and think of the journeys they have traveled. I whisper thanks for the ways they have blessed me and the things they have taught me, and here in a puddle on the hard tile floor, Joy overflows.
It is on this same cold, smooth tile that I kneel hours later, face inches away from the burn on Makerere’s calf. The stench doesn’t even bother me anymore. And while it looks horrific to outside eyes, I remember what it looked like months ago and ever so slowly, I can see the healing. I can see the healing in the blood red life that spills out as I bandage and in the smiling eyes that tell me stories as I work. Laying on my belly with a surgical blade I scrape out the dead and do my best to preserve the new pink tissue that is starting to form around the edges. He laughs and says, “I have told you now all the stories I have! It must be your turn.” And I tell him a story of a Heavenly King born as a pauper and of a Body broken for me and for him and for each one of us. And I don’t even realize but there are tears on the tile and I sit astonished that messy, inadequate, ungraceful me would get to share such a story.
We sit in the dirt, not worried about the red stains and serve 400 plates of food to sponsored children on Saturday. I look into these faces and remember them nearly 4 years ago, destitute and hopeless and starving. Afraid of my funny white skin. We feed them lunch and we feed them God’s Word and we watch them transform. We feel like family now, no one noticing these skin differences. The suns rays beat down the glory of God and covered in mud and chicken broth I know that this is contentment.
Our family sits on the street corner down town sharing ice cream and laughter. My daughter bends low to offer a homeless man her popsicle and as he cries that no one cares about him she looks straight into his face. “We will be your family,” she asserts, and she means it. We kneel on the pavement and we pray and people stop to look but we hardly notice because we were made for this.
I bend to sweep crumbs and I bend to wipe vomit and I bend to pick up little ones and wipe away tears. I bend over a big pot of stew and I bend to fold endless laundry and I bend over math books and spelling sentences and history quiz corrections. And at the end of these days I bend next to the bed and I ask only that I could bend more, bend lower.
Because I serve a Savior who came to be a servant. He lived bent low. And bent down here is where I see His face.
He lived, only to die.
Die to self and just break open for love.
This Savior, His one purpose to spend Himself on behalf of messy us. Will I spend myself on behalf of those in front of me?
And people say, “Don’t you get tired?” and yes, I do. But I’m face to face with Jesus in the dirt, and the more I bend the harder and better and fuller this life gets. And sure, we are tired, but oh we are happy. Because bent down low is where we find fullness of Joy.
Praying for you as you bend today for whoever is in front of you. He will meet you there.