Friday, May 30, 2014

The Comfort Mamas

"He comforts us in all our trouble so that we can comfort others.  When others are troubled, we will be able to give them the same comfort God has given us.  You can be sure that the more we suffer for Christ, the more God will shower us with his comfort through Christ."  2 Corinthians 1:4-5

Recently there was the awful news of another barbaric honor killing in Pakistan.  The scene of Parveen’s dead body crumpled up on the ground murdered by an inflamed family who felt dishonored and were determined to restore their name was too difficult for me to watch.  My heart ached for Parveen. I felt wounded by her unspeakable pain and deprivation of human rights. I know angels gathered her up in their arms.

That happened over there….It was communion time and I fought back tears.  The pastor talked about how Jesus became broken on our behalf.  Suddenly, a wave of emotional pain washed over me as I reflected on what I had just walked through in ministry….right here. For privacy purposes all I can say is that I encountered a very messy and scary family situation.  The mom was broken in spirit.  Could her heart be healed from her wounds?  The wailing and grieving were worse than at a funeral; her shame unbearable.  I couldn't bear to see her isolation and helplessness and didn't have a clue what to do but hold her and pray for her.  As I sat in church I felt strangely removed from the suffering of the needy world around me…and I didn't like that very much.  At the same time I was thankful to have a quiet beautiful sanctuary to escape to.  Could there be healing for my wounds, too?  How can I do ministry when I am wounded?  There are so many sad stories and broken women both here and there.  I grew up with messages about “being broken about the things that God is broken about.”  But I didn't hear how one was supposed to cope with a broken heart without becoming hardened or walking away from suffering; especially if there is not much you can do to bring change.  I've been reading Jimmy Carter’s book A Call For Action which addresses some of the same issues that I encounter.  God has placed him in a position to speak for justice, especially in regards to the violations, deprivations and abuses that victimize girls and women.  But what can I do?

God, I need some comfort big time, I pleaded. I went through my music cds and, as always, at these times of sorrow which have no answers, decided to soak in Sacred Lullabies. I was comforted once again…ready to go out and continue to love and take the Light.  We can get wounded ministering among Muslim women.  We feel their pain.  It is vital for ourselves to find comfort or we will not be able to comfort others well.  When there is nothing we can do but give comfort that is worthwhile.  We give comfort in proportion to how much comfort we receive.  Henri Nouwen gives clarity on this issue in his book, The Wounded Healer.

Dear heavenly Father, someone reading this needs the ministry of the Comforter. Please come to her aid.  In Jesus’ name, Amen.