My classroom is hot and the lessons are long. Who signed me up for this? I’ve never liked school, and every time my teacher turns her back I sneakily check my facebook on my fancy iphone a missionary here blessed me with. Why, Daddy God? Why am I sitting in this hot classroom struggling to get the simplest Swahili sentence out? I’m so frustrated I could cry. I sound like a two year old. I’m embarrassed. I don’t want to do this. I can’t speak this language. It’s too hard. Do I have to? I’m supposed to be changing the world. I’m supposed to be rescuing sex slaves, feeding thousands, adopting abandoned children, being a world famous actress doing plays all over the world. Why, God? Why am I in this classroom?
“Daughter, you can get up right now and leave and I would still be proud of you. You can go and change the world, honey. You can go feed thousands. I’ll bless you. I’d be so pleased with you, still. You could even go do plays, make music. You could go into every bar, every dirty hotel in this village and find little girls to rescue. I’d be so pleased. It’s up to you my love, what do you want?”
“Daddy…. I want you. I want to be with you.”
“Brittanie, well, I am here. I am right here in this classroom.”
I got a huge shock when I arrived back from America. While I was away I made so many plans. I was going to start so many projects. I was going to reach so many people. I was going to do so many things when I got back. But after being home for about three days the Lord spoke to me. He spoke to me so simply and so sweetly. He just said, “stop”. He said, “stop and be with me”. This was so confusing because since I arrived in Kenya my most intimate times with Jesus have been as I was doing ministry. I encountered him in villages when I was feeding people or in night clubs when I was loving on prostitutes and strippers. I saw Him there. I experienced His love there. And it felt good. It felt really good. It felt so good in fact that I forgot the first lesson God ever taught me. I forgot about the simplicity of His love. I busied myself so much with trying to go out and love others that I never had anytime to just sit and let my Jesus love me. At some point I stopped thinking it was important….
But over the past few weeks God has reminded me. He basically told me to lay everything else, all the other projects and dreams of my heart, down before Him for a season and focus on two things. Being a daughter and being a mother. I ignored Him when He first said it. I had too many big plans. Too many amazing ideas. But, He said it again and again and again. So gently, so sweetly. Like a lover inviting me into intimacy with him. So, like I always do when He speaks to me like that, I said yes.What does “yes” look like right now? It looks like sitting in a classroom and learning to speak Swahili.
After returning from the States I realize that this whole motherhood thing is not just a cute little thing that i’m going to do for a few years. It’s not just some missionary project that I’ll do until I get over it. I have six children. I am a mother of six children. Six children here in Mtwapa believe deep down in their hearts that I am their mother. They crawl into my bed in the mornings when they wake up just to cuddle for a little bit before they start their day. They use my last name. They fight over who gets to sit next to me at dinner. They show me off to their friends. When they are hurting or in need they scream “Moooooooom!!”, and they expect for either me or Joy to come. They think i’m perfect, not because I do everything right, but because I am theirs. I didn’t fully understand how deeply they felt this until I left and came back. The director of our organization, my good friend Cassandra, called me while I was in the States and tried to explain this to me, but I didn’t see it. Well, now I do. And wow…..
It was honestly a huge shock and pretty scary. Why? Well, because I have no flipping idea how to be a mother. I have absolutely no idea. Even though i’ve had a lot of practice over the past 8 months, there is still so much that I don’t know. Thats where the whole focusing on two things comes in. In order to learn how to be a mother I first have to learn how to be a daughter, His daughter. He told me that if i just stop… If I just stop and be His, that He will teach me everything I need to know about being a mom in Mtwapa, Kenya. He will teach me to speak the language. He will teach me to ride a motorbike to get around. He will teach me how to discipline my kids. He will teach me how to cook Kenyan food, and do it well. But in order to do that He needs me to stop… just stop, and be His.
So this season looks a lot different than I thought it would. I now know that I’m not here to try to change the world and end sex slavery or shut down a brothel town through amazing projects and working really hard. I’m not even here for ministry. I am here for family. Daughters and mothers are not parts of ministry. They are members of a family. I’m not called to a children’s home or a rescue home. I’m called to mother my children by being mothered and fathered by my God. I’m called to being His daughter.
It’s funny because I look at Joy (our other mom) and I laugh because she does this with such ease. It’s like she was created for this. And then I look at myself and I am such a mess. I’m so desperate for Jesus to teach me how to do this…. But maybe that’s why He chose me… because He loves to choose the least likely, the biggest messes, and make them beautiful.