Some people wonder what my life is like.
I get the question, “What is a typical day like for you?”
I laugh. I don’t mean to, really, but sometimes I can’t help it, so please forgive me!
One writer asked me recently to “Describe your normal routine.”
My reply: “My normal routine is never normal or routine!”
Honestly, I try to comfort myself with the fact that it probably just can’t be normal or routine with the life I live. And perhaps…it shouldn’t be.
At the moment…(and I say “at the moment” because God only knows what the next will hold!)
I am “Mommy” to 6 children ages 4 and under.
That means I have… a 4-year-old,
another 3-year old
and an almost 2 year old.
(4 girls and 2 boys)
Then in addition, I am “Mommy Amy” (foster mother) to a 9-year-old little girl and 10 teenage girls who are either pregnant or nursing. Oh, and I am also “JaJa” (grandmother) to 8 babies born to some of those 10 teenage girls.
And in addition to that, I am the Executive Director of an organization that ministers to over 300 mothers & their babies in the villages and slums…saving them physically from dying in childbirth (before, during, and after) as well as saving them eternally by leading them to Jesus Christ.
And I guess in addition to that, I am a daughter, a granddaughter, a big sister to 4 younger siblings, and a friend to many on several continents.
I am a business marketing major graduate who is now delivering babies on dirt floors in
I am the mother who has to counsel & discipline without laughing when her pregnant teenagers steal the neighbors chicken for dinner.
I am the mommy who shouts “No! We do NOT throw the filthy washcloth in the pot of boiling rice!”
I am the mother who holds and consoles when the teenager’s heart is breaking over past sins…and is terrified over future consequences.
I am the mommy who sits on the couch way-too-many multiple times a day to go over yet again with my 2, 3, and 4-year-olds, “What did Mommy say? That’s right – no eating the dirt. And what did you do? That’s right – eating dirt. And what else? Disobeying Mommy, that’s right. Now say, ‘Mommy, I’m sorry for eating dirt. Will you please forgive me?’ Yes, I forgive you, sweetheart.” And kiss their little precious sweaty foreheads.
I am the mother who laughs and weeps in the same moments while rejoicing over the salvation of another single teenage mother…who was living as a prostitute, is HIV+ now, was completely hopeless and at the end of her rope contemplating suicide and abortion…yet accepted Christ while sitting beside me holding her adorable little 3-month-old baby girl.
I am the mommy who loses her temper, cries in anger and frustration, and then has to go back, get down on two knees and apologize with tears streaming down my face to my 3-year-old for spanking her in anger, not in love.
I am the young single mommy who bandages the scraped up knees, kisses the cut fingers, rocks tired bodies to sleep, stays up late and is up early…if I get any sleep at all between delivering babies, nursing sick little ones, and walking with terrified 15-year-old teenagers enduring labor pains.
I am the scared-to-death 26-year-old knelt huddled down in a pool of blood trying to save a moments-old newborn while screaming, “’Jesus have mercy!’ at the top of my lungs as the baby is not breathing or responding at all.
And of course the list goes on…and on…and on.
In a large nutshell, I guess, that is my life here in
But that is just the shell. The outside of what people can really see. What people can really count. What people can really take pictures of and pray for. What I can update on about on facebook. What I can put in the newsletters.
That is the nutshell.
But the nut? What about the nut itself? The important part, the meat of it all?
It is deeper inside. So much deeper inside, and so much more complex.
"Man looks at the outward appearance, but God looks at the heart." 1 Samuel 16:7
He is the one who sees the nut. The real nut.
The woman who is running half-crazy 24/7. Trying to be all that she believes she is supposed to be. Trying so hard to live up to all that she believes she is supposed to live up to. And at the end of the day, the nut falls flat on her face. Crying out to her Jesus to carry her. To help her stand. To give her one more ounce of energy that she can not muster from anywhere in the nutshell.
Jesus sees the nut.
When I yell at my children out of anger as disobedience has yet again won in my children, then I realizes that my own disobedience is what has caused me to yell in the first place.
He sees the nut.
When I am singing out praises to my King as the tears won’t stop streaming from an outpouring of heartache and brokenness over all of the heartache and brokenness that I face every day in too many mothers’ lives.
He sees the nut.
When I am out of advice after hours and hours of speaking and counseling, and that 15-year-old looks at me with those tear-filled eyes and says, “I’m sorry.”
He sees the nut.
Who knows that He is everything, yet I still try to do things on my own. But in the moments of sheer desperation, I cry out knowing that this baby will die in my hands if He does not intervene on this nuts behalf.
He sees the nut. All of it.
He sees the inside part. That is weak. And weary. And burdened for a lost world. Brokenhearted over death and lives lost. So confused about how to live this “nutshell” life and everything that it is made of – He sees me crying out for help on my bathroom floor because I don’t know where else to turn, who else to cry to, what else to do – because I’m at the end of my rope.
He sees that nut.
He sees ME.
And I have to believe that is what makes Him smile.
Not the numbers, or the list of “what I do” or “all my responsibilities”.
No. He smiles at my lostness. My confusion. My worn-out-ness. My tiredness. My “I’m done ‘cause I have nothing left”.
I believe that this is where He wants me. He wants His nut right in the moment of my desperation. He wants a desperate nut clinging to His cross. Clinging to His feet. Clinging to His hands, knowing that He is the only way that I will make it another minute. Knowing that through Him, I can do all things, but without Him…I am nothing.
That is the place He wants His nut.
Oh, this is where He longs to find His nut. In that place of utter desperation for Him. Of utter spent-ness. Of utter clinging to Him for every breath of air in my lungs.
That is how He wants to see this nut.
Not the nutshell. Oh, He gave me the nutshell, yes. He gave me every bit of it. The children, the pregnant teenagers, the babies, the ministry, the needy, dying mothers & babies, the craziness…all that my life is that makes up the nutshell.
But I believe that He gave me all of the nutshell…to make me His nut.
So, some people wonder what my life is like.
And perhaps my response should be, “Would you like to know about the nutshell…or the nut?” :)
“Lord, keep me in this place…that uses the nutshell…to make me Your nut.”