Today’s title is based on D. Michele Perry‘s book. She is the founder of Iris,South Sudan; an orphanage where she had devoted her life to change the world. She is an unusual missionary as she was born without a left kidney, hip and leg, yet many consider her to be one of the most joyful people on earth. I had read about her works when a friend of mine had tagged me along with an excerpt from her book in my social network pages. As I read through the article, numerous emotions ran through my mind which reminded me of the love that our Lord has given us. This excerpt is from her book “Love Has a Face: Mascara, a Machete and One Woman’s Miraculous Journey with Jesus in Sudan”.
The story of Ani (not her real name, changed) was a miracle that happened literally in the mud. Through this little girl I understood God’s grace and compassion more than through anyone in my life. Anya came to us at the age of three and a half with two brothers. She was the shadow of a little girl. She did not want to play. She did not allow anyone to touch her. She always looked for the dirtiest and unclean places in the camp. Finding such a place, she lay down in the mud and cried there for hours. If someone tried to lift her, she was twisted and torn again to this place. Most of the moms have already stopped pulling her and just left to lie on the ground and cry. Her roar was especially unpleasant. I wondered how often before, when she cried in the same way, no one heard her or came to her. It had an imprint of the orphan spirit. She was sure that no one loved her and no one wanted her, and to prove it to herself, she made it difficult, as far as possible, for us. “Dad, what to do? How can I love her? “Immediately, an excerpt from Philippians 2 came to me:“For you must have the same feelings as in Christ Jesus: He, being in the image of God, did not esteem the plunder to be equal to God; but he humbled himself, taking the form of a slave, becoming like men, and in appearance becoming like a man” (verses 5–7) Jesus came to where I was. Therefore, I had to go where Anya was. So I did.
I found her lying in the mud and lay down beside her. I did not touch her and did not speak. I did not look at her because I knew that it would only make her scream louder. I just lay down next to her. She knew that I was there. I was just there. The next day I lay down next to her in the same way, but this time I put my hand in front of her eyes. It seemed that nothing was happening. Not accepting disappointment, I tried again. The next time I again found her lying and stretched out my hand. This time her little hand approached mine. Slowly, we joined hands, only to make this scene repeat again and again over the next weeks. Slowly, almost imperceptibly, a miracle occurred in the heart of Ani. She became aware that she was loved and safe and desirable. She deserves to be in the mud for her. She deserves to look foolish for her. She deserves love. She is not alone and not abandoned. Her crying no longer remains unheard in silence.
I will never forget when I saw Anya smile for the first time. Tears flowed out of me, without stopping. Now she is five, and she smiles a lot. She wraps herself in my hem and loves to help younger kids. She plays and laughs and loves to hug. Anya is no longer an orphan. She came home. Traveling with her taught me about the wealth of the Father’s grace. He did not tell me to get out of the mud of my own pain and shame. He did not tell me to get rid of it, and then only to come to Him. Not. He lay in the mud with me. He offered His hand and just waited – letting me see, letting me believe, letting me put my hand in His and then stand together. I understand Anya. The only difference in us is that her pain was visible, and mine was hidden in my heart. God’s love is great. He comes and seeks us in the muddy places of our deepest wounds and dark corners. He loves us so much that he moves the heavens and the earth to show us His great grace. He loves us so much that he hugs us even when we are in the mud. And He loves us so much that He does not leave us there.