Saturday, May 5, 2018

The Joy Of Being a Bit Player

Human beings are story-driven.

Millions of short stories are unfolding right now all over the world.  Occasionally one of the stories revolve around you or me.  More often than not we are discovering the elation or sadness that erupts with one of those stories that happens with someone else.

And ... once in a while, we may be called on to be a "bit player" in someone else's dynamic story.

BIT PLAYER:   a person with a very small acting role with few lines to speak ... a person or thing with a very small part in something

Nearly five year ago, I had the privilege to be called on to be a pit player in a story that now moves me in more ways than I can express.

I'll let the principle character recount a life paragraph from her story ... here ... in her own words.

It was late in the day and I was on, let's say, the fifth time of the day cleaning and mopping the floors, dusting off ever inch of every corner of her house.  I don't know how, but the woman had declared, from the first year I arrived in her house, "The minimum times a house should be cleaned in a day is at least six."  I literally chocked on my own saliva.

Everyday, this woman would come back from work and pass a finger over some random place ... the TV or speakers, ends of the carpet, veranda, or whatever came into her mind.  Then she would ask her children, "How many times did she clean today?"

This day the woman had stayed home and not gone to work because my grandfather's body was laid in the ground just the day before.  "This woman" was actually my auntie, my deceased father's sister.  She was content to sit at home that day and tally the times everything was cleaned until she was satisfied.  You would think I am exaggerating.  I am not.

This woman would come home to her well washed, ironed, and folded cloths or bed sheets (yes, she never slept in a bed without sheets ironed!) and after passing her fingers over theme would say, "This dress or shirt was removed from the line past 12:00 PM.  The sun hit it too much."

Of course our African house did not have surveillance cameras, but in times like these I thought it did.  How else would she know how I got the clothes out of the wonderfully strong shining Uganda sun past noon?  Or if they remained on the line more than they needed?  She was a whole town away from her house, for crying out loud!  To say she was my nightmare in moments like these was an understatement.

There are days you can feel more broken, more hopeless, more grieved than any other times in your short life and all you can do with the slightest of the breaking-of-you is to just simply bend.

Because to bend is to be formed, to change shape, to be transformed.

She never stayed at home much.  But, on those few days that she did, was when I wanted the ground to swallow me.  It was the hours in the morning before she left for work or the hours before bed when she returned that seemed the longest.  I dreaded them.  I hated them.  When I felt I was in her midst ... so small, so helpless, so broken ... my heart and soul were always trembling in fear of her presence.  They were running away faster than my legs could.

I always wondered why I felt that way.  The truth is ... I loved her.  I still do.  I wanted her to love me.  And I did everything she asked, everything she wanted, longing for that one thing!

A heart can break a billion times over for love.  Because love is the essence of living.  There is not a human being throughout all of God's green earth that doesn't want to love and be loved right back.

It is written there in 1 Corinthians 13 .. three things remain: faith, hope, and love but the greatest of these is LOVE!

In all a person does, pursues, gives, or shares, their primary goal should be to love.

When the father and mother God provided for me by adoption decided to purchase a plane ticket so Mom could come see me over my Spring Break, my Dad told me that their deciding factor was love.

Love caused one to leave and the other to stay ... to remain 10,000 mile apart from each other for the sake of another.  When love is the highest goal, there is no thought of what you are gaining, losing, or any form of payback.  The Supreme Example was demonstrated for everyone.  God's priority was motivated by love ... to send His Son from Heaven to Earth.  The beauty of Heaven and the throne seemed subordinate to the love that He had for you and me.

The unquenchable desire to give love and receive love is in every blood pumping organ.  But no matter all my efforts to please this one woman, she was not capable of it.  It took me so long to realize that one cannot give what one does not have or received.

We know what love is because we know Who love is.  We can love because we have already been loved.  I doubt that anyone had ever shared this reality with my auntie.

Her daughter had come that evening to pick up her two boys and they had a little time for conversation.  The daughter recalled a fight that had gone down between her and her maid.  The maid ended up packing all of her belongings and left without even saying goodbye.  When the maid arrived home she recounted her experience to her parents and the daughter was not happy about what the parents had to say regarding her abusive behavior.

Personally I was not surprised.  Misty Edwards sang, "broken men break their own children."  I cannot imagine how her daughter would be any different from her mother and I can honestly say I had compassion for her and for her children.

The response of my auntie to her daughter's story shocked every fiber of my being.  I am not sure why I keep thinking that someday surely she will love me.  There was an insane amount of hope in my heart that if I would keep trying, keep working hard, didn't show her my hurt, smile even when there was nothing to smile about, hide in the dark, limp my trembling legs into the next day, then maybe she would love me.  Just maybe.  After getting everything right.  After she was happy and pleased enough with me.  Maybe she will.  I had hope.

But hope hurts when put in the wrong place.

With a proud look on her face I heard my auntie say in response to her daughter:  "It is for these kind of reasons that I like to have orphans in my house because they don't have anyone to report to.  Then I don't have to worry about any parent coming at me."

I seriously wished my ears had  not heard and my memory had not registered that message to say the least.  But how could I not hear?  I was just one couch away, bent down dusting the lamp stands.

It was in that downward bent position that I stayed, frozen for what seemed like an infinite number of minutes.  Because for all that is right in the world the woman was right.

There is a bending in hearing.  If you want to hear clearly you have to bend.  You can have ears, but if you don't bend down and lean toward God, you will not hear.

I heard and I wondered ...

  • Who fights for the orphans?
  • Who protects them?
  • Who hears their silent, yet loudest cry for help and for love?
  • Who cups their faces into their hands?
  • Who breaks for their breaking little hearts?
  • Who knows of the tears they muggle under their covers at night?
  • Who believes them when they say, "I have been abused?"
  • Who trusts them?
  • Who?  Who?


The church or the government?  Parents?  I am not so sure.

They take it all in.  Into their heads and into their hearts.  They carry all the their sorrow and strength to their shoulders.  They bend their helpless hands over because there is no one there to hold them.  As they bend, they transform ... for better or for worse they transform.  They do not stay the same.  They are changed forever.

But it was not lost on me that five years ago a 5'11" old white man I had never seen before in my entire life stood inches away from my tired orphaned face in the month of January, 2013 and asked, "Who wounded you?  Who hurt you?"

The bit player & me days after we met in 2013
It did not seem like a nice way to start a conversation with a stranger; with a girl who had worked all day in an electronics retail store and who was completely exhausted at nearly 10 PM.  But you know what?  It was exactly what happened to me ... and this Catholic who was transitioning to Born Again girl thought to herself, this old man must be a prophet!

Let me tell you.  There are people in this fragmented world that we call home who are far from home, who live their lives in a very distant land, and who have made love the highest ambition.

As I have thought over the significance and meaning of this man's brave and scary questions to me that night I have come to think of this:

It wasn't that man asking me.  It was God himself.  That man was just a bit player in my God story.  God, the Creator of the entire cosmos.  The One who measured it's dimensions and stretched out the surveying line.  The One who supports its foundations and laid its cornerstone as the morning stars sang together and all of the angels in Heaven above shouted for joy.

This God who did that and much more is the One to whom I am supposed to report.  It is this God who is my Father and He is the One who requires answers to the root cause of my sadness, my hurt, my pain, my shame, and my guilt.

When I learned this I never stopped smiling.

Every day now, when I wake from my peaceful bed, I know the Creator of all things cares for me enough to ask who wounded me and who hurt me.  And I get to give an account to Him ... that woman hurt me when she did and said those things ... that man and that woman that hurt me so deeply when they considered me worth nothing more than to be abused ... that person who hurt me because they thought of me as something I wasn't ... who labeled me as someone I am not.

I don't know if you ever wake up with the thought that God would like a daily report on your life.  He wants you to tell Him why those tears are falling down your cheeks.  Why there is still an ache in your soul and why, after so many years, there is still a fresh wound that does not seem to heal no matter all your trying.

When the enemy thinks He can get away because he thinks he has got you and that you are now finished, that there is nothing left to and for you ... the voice of your Father thunders from Heaven above, opens the seas and makes its way to your breaking and bent heart to ask, "Who wounded you?  Who hurt you, my child?  I want to know."

Of course I am aware that He already knows the answers to these questions, but He asks because He loves me and I feel His love when I get to tell Him.  He desires to hear it from me.

I'm no longer a slave to fear ... I am a child of God

Over the past two years I have literally met people for the first time who have given me a prophetic work or told me of a vision God has shown them about me, and to my surprise they all have something in common.
"You sit at God's heart.  So very close.  You are His favorite.  Everyone is ... but YOU, you are (and then they would pause because they couldn't seem to find the right word and would finally say) ... His favorite favorite."
I have been somewhat inclined to think that God has a special kind of favor for the fatherless.  I have even thought maybe He loves orphans more than He does any other people in the world.  While that is not true, the truth is He cares deeply and fights hard for them.  There are 23 scriptures in the Bible that are direct commands from God to the Church to care for the orphans, fatherless, and widows.

It is the least of us who the world mistreats, takes advantage of, exploits, damages, wounds, breaks ... and for that I am sorry you and I had to go through those experiences.  I am also overjoyed at the thought of knowing there is hope and an anchor for our weary souls.  I am deeply grateful that the Greatest Love of All bent over and picked that broken woman before she was stoned to death by the same people she loved and wanted to lover her right back.  When Jesus bent down, He did not stay the same.  He changed and transformed into a Cross.  His arms opened wide and stretched to the end of time and never returned.  Those same arms can reach and touch all of us here who are damaged under the earth's blazing sun ... and for goodness sake aren't we all in need of surgical repair?

The Farmer's wife said it perfectly wonderful:  The miracle happens in the breaking.  And Jesus' body was broken, bent over, and deformed, transformed for you.  For me.  For all of the least of us on that Calvary tree forever.

When my mother surprised me on that Sunday morning in March, I just knew.  I love her.  She is my person and she is here.  Now!  And when she leaned in and into me and whispered into my ear, "I have come to make sure that you know you are loved" I heard her and I just squeezed her with every strength I had in me and never wanted to let go!

Dad wrote me an email later and confirming I had seen her and he wrote, "Love decides everything" and for all there is to believe, I believed him then. I still do now.

That is what my auntie did not know all those years ago.  To love and care for the fatherless is an absolute privilege that nobody should miss like she did.  Because she did not know then, I hope she will come to know that Love did come to me.  We know Who love is.  He is always coming to me.  Finding me, time and time again.  Every time He says, "I am evidence that you have Someone to report to."  He did what she could not do.  He came and told me I have a Father who loves endlessly and I can report to Him ... any day and any time.

I don't know anything better than that.  It is the best news anyone should hear.  Jesus brought that Good News to me and to the world.

I am now in the United States on a student visa.  I have to write a lab report every week of what I have experimented on in chemistry and physics laboratory classes.  I must also report my life to God ... my successes, my failures, my hopes and dreams, strengths and weaknesses, my all in all.

And, my question to you is:  Who are you reporting to?

My name is Rebecca N Hunter and this is part of my story.  Two years ago and three years after I met them, Paul and Pam Hunter legally adopted me and I now have earthly parents.  They are the ones mentioned in my story.

I wrote to my Dad and told him he could share this story with you on his blog.  My story is just of many that will people one more picture of what God is doing in and through the lives of those who are loving people in Uganda, just like He did me.  I hope it helps communicate what Next Generation Ministries stands for and what the organization aims to do.  The byline of NGM is simply:  CHANGING UGANDA ONE PERSON AT A TIME.  I am one of those "one persons" who has been changed forever because of their love.

3 comments:

  1. Wow, what a story, Rebecca! I loved reading every word of it. It so clearly demonstrates God's Saving Grace and the purpose for which Paul and Pam started NGM. They are the real deal. I have known and loved them for well over 3 decades and they are the most authentic people I know. Their motives are pure and the vision God has given them is clear.
    You and your story perfectly and beautifully illustrates how they are bringing the love of Jesus Christ to the nation of Uganda and changing it, one person at a time. Let's help them continue this amazing work.

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  2. So wonderful! To GOD be the glory!!!

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  3. Tears. Joy. So many emotions as I read this. Such a beautifully written story Rebecca. God LOVES and FIERCELY defends the fatherless. I know it!

    Paul and Pam, I can’t find the words to say what’s in my heart for you; THANK YOU for being faithful stewards of God’s heart and love. When you finally meet Jesus face to face, He will say to you what we can’t say with words. May God reward you in this life and in the life to come!

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