Sunday, February 17, 2013

Pote mwen.

Pote mwen.

These Creole words were some of the first I learned upon my arrival in Haiti. At church, at the Hope House, or visiting a local village, you hear it countless times.
It means 'carry me'.

Sometimes in the heat of the day, you question the idea of clinging to another sweaty body, but the little children of this country could care less. They scramble to your side, take a hold of your hand and look up at you with those twinkling eyes. It doesn't take long until they give your arm a gentle tug and yearn to be lifted up... Up where their dusty (usually barefoot) feet can rest easy. Up where they can touch the overhead palm leaves. Up where a shoulder is a perfect match for a pillow.

This past Sunday, the Church of Hope was hosting a youth camp, so the pew benches were packed to the max. After scanning around for an empty seat, I finally found myself in the standing-room-only section at the back of the sanctuary. As the worship team began to sing, a little girl who wasn't much older than 5 years old approached me. We exchanged smiles, and she stood by side for a minute before leaning her body against my legs and uttering those familiar words. All during the worship set her skinny arms clung to my neck.
On the way back up the hill after church, my mind kept focussing back on the simple act of being carried, and I felt the Lord probing me to dig a little deeper...

Isaiah 46:4 says that 'Even in your old age and gray hairs, I am He who sustains you. I have made you and will carry you. I will sustain you and I will rescue you. 

This verse brings one of two reactions. The first is relief. There is such comfort and peace knowing that I can be rescued and carried by the One who is greater than I.
But deep down, I react to the verse a different way. Avoidance. Because as much as I long for a sustainer, being carried means that I have to be vulnerable. To be carried, I have to admit that I'm weak.
Frankly, I often care too much about outward appearances, and would rather struggle through a task than ask for help. I want to be independent and able. I want others to think that I am competent. And so I try to do it alone.

The simple act of carrying that sweet little girl at church was an important reminder to me. A reminder that I was never meant to go it alone. A reminder that we as followers of Christ were made for one another, and that carrying one another and being carried is how the body functions.
I was also reminded of the Lord's faithfulness of how He has carried me in the past. All of the times looking back where I had nowhere else to turn, and yet how He sustained me even then.
And last but not least, a reminder of what is to come, as was written in Isaiah - that whatever the years before me will bring, come what may, I can be lifted from my tired wanderings and rest safely in His everlasting arms.

Thank you Jesus for making me in such a way where You knew that I would have to be carried. May I embrace the areas that make me weak and burdened, knowing that You hold it all, and You hold me.

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