You all know that I BELIEVE in putting on my figurative superwoman cape while living in the third world. This summer it delighted me to purchase a REAL super woman cape. It is weighted and shimmery and long and full. It is fun and has a grabbing, inviting look. I couldn’t have been happier with this $17 Amazon *investment. I have enjoyed using it in several talks this past summer. My audience has resonated with this super power cape. Despite having to cut 20 kilos’ out of our desired items to bring back to Papua, I managed to slip the superwoman cape in an overweight bag. Believing that I would need its superpowers this year.
I forget year after year how flying over 36+ hours can become so mind numbing. Let alone jetting from first world to third. Add in there the weight of leaving young adult children, aging (but still thriving) parents, and a quadriplegic brother-in-law. I land in Papua with a heart full of jumbled tired emotions that take rest and time to sort out.
Day 4 hits of re emersion to mission land and I am low. Low in spirit, attitude, hope and grace. It is also market day, which takes much strength on a good day. I pull out of my driveway thinking about my gorgeous superwoman cape and how utterly useless it is to me. Now that I have a real one, I am worse off than when I had just my imaginary one. If only I could just wrap it around my shoulders and it would protect and give energy and strength. If only I could tuck it in my stained market bag and touch my superpower garment when I needed it, like a child with a security blanket. But NO. It’s pointless. I ponder this as I navigate the streets, inching and dodging my way to the market. And I’m disappointed. At the same time, I am fully aware of what does need to happen and what I do need to be clothed in. And so, in half desperation and half humility I ask the Lord to clothe me in His **royal robe of righteousness. Which is exactly what He wanted to teach me and desired to do for me. The benefits are unbelievably more dynamic than any super hero anything.
Fast forward to Day 9. Thankfully my attitude has begun to settle into the rhythm of life here once again. My phone jars husband and me awake at 10:45 p.m. Glancing at the name identified on my cell phone screen my flight and flight hormones kick in. Having a heads up about this expat patient for several days, I knew this call was not going to be good news. It took over 30 minutes for my head to really wake up out of my slumber and get my feet out the door and into my car. A new figurative outfit is on. It’s a starched white outfit with a stiff white cap. This outfit represents care, compassion, life, ministry, healing, knowledge, comfort, passion, and action. My husband helps me out of the locked gates. I speed through the dark and mostly empty streets to the clinic to grab emergency supplies. A doctor returns my call and advices me to take this patient directly to the hospital for a life saving operation. Then she prays. I’m at last at the patient’s home. Time seems sluggish and I know it is ticking against us.
We are about to leave for the hospital (in critical need) when suddenly things shift and change. My patient asks to stay home. She apparently had **touched His garment and I was challenged to be aware and respond appropriately. I tell her that I will give her one hour. One hour with observation. One hour with an IV in and with vital signs checked. If all is stable, then we will stay. If at any point I am uncomfortable, we will go. She graciously agrees.
Mind you. I was disobeying doctor’s orders. I steel my figurative white uniform closer and pray for wisdom. There was room for more wisdom. I was out of my normal area of practice, but enough wisdom came. My patient was relaxed and chatty (verses tense and scared an hour before). The IV went in. The vital signs became more stable and once that hour ticked by it was decided that it was safe to bed down for the night at her home.
I don’t like patients who are on the verge of a life loosing moment, yet I thrive in the challenge of it all. I appreciate that it gives validity to why I take the trip and live here year after year. It also gives reason to why I grapple with figurative clothing and why I stand in awe of those who touch His garment. The strength He gives. The work He bids us to do. All of it, is not easy, and often muddled with pain and disappointments, but…. it is beautiful. And once again I stand in full recognition that we are here for this time and this moment. By His grace. For His honor and His glory. Amen.
*a Boyd marriage term. Describing something we want but labeling it an “investment”. Making the purchase seem much more justifiable.
**Isaiah 61:10 I will greatly rejoice in the Lord, My soul shall be joyful in my God; For He has clothed me with the garments of salvation. He has covered me with the robe of righteousness, As a bridegroom decks himself with ornaments, And as a bride adorns herself with her jewels. (NKJ)
***Mark 5:25-34 Now a certain woman had a flow of blood for twelve years, and had suffered many things from many physicians. She had spent all that she had and was no better, but rather grew worse. When she heard about Jesus, she came behind Him in the crowd and touched His garment. For she said, “If only I may touch His clothes, I shall be made well.” Immediately the fountain of her blood was dried up, and she felt in her body that she was healed of the affliction. And Jesus, immediately knowing in Himself that power had gone out of Him, turned around in the crowd and said, “Who touched My clothes?” But His disciples said to Him, “You see the multitude thronging You, and You say, ‘Who touched Me?’” And He looked around to see her who had done this thing. But the woman, fearing and trembling, knowing what had happened to her, came and fell down before Him and told Him the whole truth. And He said to her, “Daughter, your faith has made you well. Go in peace and be healed of your affliction.” (NKJ)