This past week has been difficult. As the new Global Ministry Director for MOPS International, I have the privilege of interacting with moms all over the world. I spend most days communicating with moms via email, Facebook, FaceTime calls, all things tech to keep us connected. It has been exciting and I love learning about the different cultures and challenges that moms face in different countries. Even though our countries are different, motherhood is our common language. So it was shocking when I received an email that told me our new group in Rwanda had experienced a terrible tragedy.
MOPS recently began in Rwanda and these ladies were new to the MOPS sisterhood. Last week there was terrible flooding in Rwanda and while the group was meeting their building was washed away, killing 5 moms and hospitalizing 11, many of whom remain in critical condition. There are many small children who have lost their moms. Over 40 children affected by this tragedy. Some are now orphans and some are waiting for their moms to come home from the hospital. Husbands, family members, and a community grieving for the loss of their beloved.
The honest questions that arise in the hours of tragedy, the most prevailing always being – why? This side of heaven I am not sure we will ever really know the answers to all the times we utter, cry or shout – why? Trust and faith in a God who I believe is good and who is loving is what I cling to today. The answer of trust is simple but the application is hard.
Within minutes of making this profoundly sad announcement to our MOPS community, we had an outpouring of love, prayer, and offerings to help from women who never will step foot in Rwanda. The witness of this generous love was amazing and when the Rwandan families read them they were overwhelmed with love. The sting of grief will always feels lighter when you sense others will help carry the burden. Their emails to me were of thankfulness for this covering of prayer and love.
I have spent the evening preparing for my family’s Thanksgiving celebration. I admit I have had feelings of guilt that I will be surrounded by my loved ones, feasting, while others around the world; especially my friends in Rwanda will awaken to another day of grief and hardship.
I plan to honor these women tomorrow with prayer and with the ways I show I am thankful for what I do have. Loving my family well because none of us know for certain how long our time on earth will be. Tomorrow I will focus on what the T A B L E represents to me.
T – I will take the time to be intentional with each person at the Thanksgiving table. Taking time to interact and love on those around me.
A – I will ask questions that show that I am genuinely interested in what is going on in their lives.
B – I will be more interested than interesting – this definitely reinforces the first two and is a good reminder not to monopolize the conversation.
L – I will laugh and listen – There is nothing better than laughter . Sharing old stories , recalling childhood memories or learning about new friends. Laughter is good for the soul.
E – I will enjoy myself, and my family and friends – thankful for another day !
This Thanksgiving, I pray that my gratitude will be rooted in the character and nature of who God is more than my ever-changing circumstances—and this is my prayer for you too. And in our gratitude may our lives be a bright light declaring to others our thankfulness to the Lord!
Sending prayers to Rwanda this Thanksgiving –
Love and God Bless –