I want to be a wife and mother, but that hasn’t happened yet. And like many of you, I have heard every reason under the sun as to why I’m still single. I get impatient, I ask God why, and I get distressed over the fact that my singleness might be forever. And yet, while I wait, I give thanks because God has given me hundreds of children to love in distant corners of the earth.
As a volunteer with Engineering Ministries International (eMi) I have been blessed to use my skills as a water and sanitation engineer and also to love and be loved by a multitude of children. They may not be mine, but I love them like they are. It wouldn’t be fair to say that I remember every single child I’ve met, but I do remember every single one I’ve spent any amount of time with.
When my inbox contains a eulogy to one of those children I’ve loved, I ask myself if I can still raise my hands to the heavens and declare that God is good. I decide I can, at least for today, and I ask the Lord if He can give me peace about all the things that don’t make sense. I open my photo album and run my fingers across a picture of Sarah* all the way over there in India and wonder why she had to suffer. A beautiful life cut short by leukemia, yet her memorial says that right in the middle of her sickness, she still sang to Jesus. With arms high and heart abandoned, this teenager praised God and loved those around her. Right now she knows heaven is for real.
A picture of Sarah, bald from chemo and surrounded by some of her sisters from the girls’ home she lived at, fills my screen. She lived in a place of love, surrounded not by people who shared her genetics, but by those who shared her faith. She knew what it meant to have a family. She leaves behind 24 sisters, and I can hear them all the way across the ocean, raising their voices in ceaseless praise. I feel their sorrow, but somehow I know God is right there in the middle of all that, healing the brokenhearted and binding up their wounds.
So often I struggle, and I ask God why. I know He is here, but so often I don’t understand. We are here knee-deep in the mire, living in a broken and bashed up world, and I can’t make sense of it. For He wounds, but He also binds up; He injures, but His hands also heal (Job 5:18). The blanket of grief is heavy, but we serve a God who can carry our burdens. He can carry our sorrows, our insecurities, and all our baggage. Some days, though, I don’t believe my own words. I wonder what God ordains and what God allows and how freewill and our choices factor into that. Perhaps I will always have more questions than answers, but this much I know: I love the God I serve. He is present, and He perceives my thoughts from afar. And for right now, that’s enough.
*Name has been changed.
Jaimee Schmidt loves all things outdoors, running with her dog, volunteering overseas on projects with Engineering Ministries International, and loving and interacting with the many children she meets across the world.
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