... Living inspired by the beauty of life, one post at a time.

Monday, April 14, 2014

Ambushing Rebel Armies



Every once in a while there are moments that call out to us, moments that dare us to walk a wild and unknown way. There are moments that mobilize us in unexpected ways. We can listen or turn away. 

For me that day was the day I heard Marilyn Skinner speak about the child soldiers of Northern Uganda. It completely changed me. I listened with a growing sense of disbelief as she revealed the heartbreaking extent of the child soldier dilemma. Children, some only 8 - 10 years of age were being herded up in the dead of night from their villages and forcefully abducted. It was the first time I heard the name Joseph Kony, rebel leader and abductor of children. At that time hundreds of children from villages in remote parts of Uganda were walking for hours each morning and evening to the safety of small outposts to sleep safely and thus avoid being taken. They would leave their villages for the night to return the next day, and then repeat the exercise day after day. 

Marilyn's heart reached out and grabbed mine. I sat there with a mixture of emotions welling up, horror, anger, heartbreak and helplessness mixed together into a concoction of inexplicable sorrow. It was a moment that I allowed to fully take hold of me, to feel the horror and pain of a mother torn from her child, the devastation of not knowing where her heart and soul had gone. Her baby running scared, messed with me. It was completely unfathomable that this happened to not just one mother, but hundreds! I felt the whole weight of it, heavy in my soul. 

There is a hauntingly beautiful song by Brooke Fraser called 'Albertine', it is filled with aching feeling and was written after her visit to Rwanda. The first time I heard it, the words ricocheted imploringly across my soul, echoing some desperate finality that lodged deep. The passion in the song spoke to me, the words nudging my heart, 'Now that I have seen, I am responsible, faith without deeds is dead'. 

As I listened I felt kind of ensnared by this proclamation, responsible for something just because I was alive. Responsible because we ARE called to something bigger than ourselves. Yet, so often we see ourselves small in the scheme of things. I see MYSELF small. How do I appropriate my faith so that it holds substance or moves mountains? How do I make my deeds line up with that kind of faith? If my faith is lacking or flawed, what good are my actions then? Can I be sure of what I hope for or certain of what I cannot see? Why does faith need to be tested and how do I endure and persevere? Who am I to think that I might have a role to play? In the words of Marianne Williamson we ask ourselves, who am I to be brilliant, gorgeous, handsome, talented and fabulous? 


There is nothing enlightened about shrinking so that other people won't feel insecure around you. We are all meant to shine, as children do. We were born to make manifest the glory of God that is within us. It's not just in some of us; it's in everyone. And as we let our own light shine, we unconsciously give other people permission to do the same. As we are liberated from our own fear, our presence automatically liberates others.
 - Marianne Williamson

So, I planned a trip to Watoto and visited Marilyn's beloved babies and children's homes, and the Living Hope project in Uganda. I saw the incredible things being done at Watoto, saw how a little bit of hope can light an unquenchable fire. I saw lives healed, restored and hope filled. I left inspired and also a little overcome. I wondered where this hold was taking me, wondered what I had to bring? I saw amazing things, but still felt like a bystander on the sidelines. 

I came home and devoured Sam Childers book 'Another Mans War', the true story of one mans battle to save the children in Northern Uganda and Southern Sudan. I met this 'Machine Gun Preacher' and heard his story. Sat in awe of a mission to take back what the enemy stole. Felt goose bumps prickle my skin as he retold stories of ambushing rebel armies to snatch back abducted children.  I had one question ... How the heck could I ever do anything remotely helpful? 

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