we squeezed in the car and we drove.
when the cotton fields were still littered with white snow and the rain had a way of sneaking up with a terrifying wind, we drove on the red dirt that snaked through the land.
we drove to meet the people in a church that had been praising God through life, in another area of this country that has stolen my heart.
and the sound of their rejoicing reached my ears the instant my foot met the sunbaked grass.
worship in a language i did not understand, but i knew was filling God's ear with beautiful words that were for Him.
because as a pastor here reminded me, our God is bilingual he reassured me, "don't worry, God speaks english too… "
and as i was sitting under a grass roof, surrounded by people sitting on everything from rocks to small margarine buckets, it made me think: how much do we honestly, honestly praise God through trials?
i mean really, how often do we lift him up and worship his name with a smile on our faces?
even when our heart is breaking inside?
mom + i had noticed that a lady we knew was pregnant, and we were surprised that we hadn't heard anything about the baby yet.
but maybe it was just a cultural thing to not talk about it because being pregnant + having kids is such a normal part of life here.
she disappeared from church for about three weeks.
i imagined that she had probably had the baby + was recovering, but as the weeks passed and there was still no news we knew that she must have lost the baby.
our pastor later confirmed that she had lost the baby… along with her previous two pregnancies.
and it was a kick in the guts that left me heartbroken and gasping.
why let this woman's babies die again and again?
yet the next sunday, there she was with a flashing smile, praising the Lord.
dancing, singing and praising His great name with so much joy.
and this is just one woman's story, we have heard countless stories + know of so much loss, i wouldn't even know where to start.
but no matter the loss, no matter the pain, they still praise His name.
how is it that we let trivial things steal our joy?
the slightest inconveniences throw our mood in the gutter, and we justify it!
we prop ourselves up with excuses of the complexity of our situation or the crutch of emotional hurt.
how often do we really have to hurt?
like really truly hurt, where our heart is ripped out of our chest and thrown into the bucket of hardship and pain, left to continue beating on…
i've learned so much about joy from burkinabe.
these people, who are among the very poorest of the world, living in conditions that most deem impossible, they not only breathe, they live.
these brothers + sisters in Christ are a testimony to the Father's love, through thick and thin.
because when our heart is breaking, how much more is His?