Thursday, October 15, 2009

Beauty and Brokenness

by Ann Marie Granberry

I remember a lot of things from my childhood. I remember my dad's old youth house. I remember saying goodbye to him as he went on mission trips. I remember wanting to go. I remember going to Camp Briarwood when I was eight years old. I remember getting letters while I was there. I remember my grandparents picking me up. I remember when my parents told me that we were leaving. I remember telling my best friend. I remember the Sunday when we told our church. I remember Mission Training Intentional. I remember pulling out of our driveway for the last time and I remember the drive. I remember feeling lost. What I don't remember is, knowing how God would use this transition in my life.
The Lord has used these transitions to pull me closer to Him. Because of my background I look at the world in a different way than I ever could have, or did. I see the beauty and the brokenness in it. I look at cultures and I know how to analyze them and how to fit into them. Because of my background I know how to weep, how to say goodbyes, how to minister, how to fight, how to laugh, how to love, how to trust, and so much more. These are some of the things that I had to learn because of where the Lord placed me.
I've been learning a lot about World Views lately. Through this process I have been able to collect my thoughts and decide what my own world view is. Like I said, because of what the Lord has done in my life I can look at the world and see the beauty and brokenness in it. I admire the beauty, but I detest the brokenness.
Sometimes when I examine these World Views I am amazed by the early civilizations, or by famous people who did something important. In my most recent studies of the world however, I have found myself disgusted by the ways of the world. Sometimes I've felt like I was literally about to throw up because of something I've heard, seen, experienced, or read. Just in the last few weeks, I have felt this way, more than once.
It didn't always bother me so much. Maybe it was because I was too young to know much about it. But after moving to the Reservation things such as racism, abuse, sexual impurity, even cussing sicken, shock, and disgust me. These things are so real to me. I confront them often because I'm on the Reservation.
I know fifteen and sixteen year old girls who have children. I know children who have found their own parent after that parent committed suicide. I've seen the physical scars caused by abuse. But I've also seen the mental, emotional, social, and spiritual scars. I've held babies who struggle from alcohol and drug effects. I've wept with those who weep, and I've rejoiced with those who rejoice. I have felt the wounds, but also the healing. There is definitely brokenness on the Yakama Indian Reservation. But there is also beauty.
In the last six and a half years that my family has been here, we have seen so much growth. We are a lot farther ahead of schedule than we ever thought we would be. Our "baby church" still continues to meet and grow every Tuesday night. We have Kids Club in two different neighborhoods now, and sometimes have over one hundred children show up between the two sites. Our summers are full of teams who are ready and willing to serve the community, and our Sacred Road team continues to develop.
Some people believe that there is no poverty in the United States. Some believe that these things happen, but only on Reservations. Others believe that there is nothing to be done about it. All of these people are wrong. Poverty is not a foreign term. It lives and thrives in America, even today. Poverty is not only on Indian Reservations either. It's all over. Racism, hatred, and abuse are all over too. They are very real characteristics that exist all over the world, including in America. This is because we live in a broken, fallen world. But there is beauty.
I have finally begun to accept the fact that God wants me on the Reservation. For a long time I was angry with Him for making my family move. The only thing that I wanted was to go back to Birmingham. When I realized that going back to Birmingham wasn't going to help, I began to wonder how God could want me anywhere, for any reason. I began to see my own sin more clearly, and it made me realize how unfathomable it was that the God of everything could want me, let alone use me. The Lord has changed my heart in so many ways. I love the people on this reservation, and I know that the only thing I want to do in my life is serve the Lord, in one way or another.
As Christians we know that our Father is working. There is hope, because God is a gracious and merciful God who loves to use broken tools. We are broken, and our world is broken, but there is hope because Jesus' body was literally shattered for us. That is the beauty. We are to be in the world, but not of it. We do have to stay here, and live in this fallen world. But we can know that it is not our final destination. Someday soon we will be in a place that is perfect, and whole. We know this because of His covenant with us. That covenant will never be broken. Of all the things to remember, this is the most important.