Written by Ryanne Stout
Today was the picture of one of the hardest things about my job. This morning we got the call that one of our lambs was leaving later today. It’s been a busy week and was already shaping up to be a busy weekend before we got that call.
Working at an orphanage is an emotional roller coaster. There are so many ups and downs while a child is with us. We see them processing and dealing with whatever it was that landed them here in the first place which for all our kids is some sort of abuse. Often, they have to reconcile the desire to go back to what was their normal with being out of that bad situation. Most of them go through phases of acting out before we get to know them for who they really are.
We love them, we show them Jesus, we help them learn new things, and then they leave.
We always circle around them and pray over them on their departure day. I cry every single time.
The hardest part is not knowing the situation they’re going into or worse yet, knowing that they are going back into the same situation where the abuse happened. Now, don’t get me wrong, it would be amazing if they could go back to their families in a safe way. While they are here, we know that they are getting three meals a day, they’re in school, and they have everything they need. None of that is a guarantee when they leave. But what can we do?
It would be easier to become callous. To distance myself from the kids and only spend time with them when they are with the horses. It would be easier not to love on them and become attached. It would be easier to not feel the way I do every time someone leaves.
Being a missionary isn’t easy. Living in a different country than your family isn’t easy (especially in the middle of the craziness these days). Loving on people for months knowing that one day they’ll leave, and you may never see them again, isn’t easy.
Some days the only thing I can do is ask myself “do you believe God is who He says He is?” and then I remind myself who He says He is. He is good. He is faithful. He is with us always. He is our strength, our hiding place, our rear guard, our help, our hope. He is working out all things for good according to His purpose.
I know with every fiber of my being that God has called me to this place for this season. There are days like today when I have to preach to myself the Truth of who God is. On those days I feel like I’m holding onto the knowledge that God has called me here with white knuckles. God often calls His people into hard places. Sometimes walking in faith looks like staying in a hard place and loving people well even when you know you will end up getting hurt.
Today as we were praying over the girl leaving, I was reminded of this:
God loves her more than I do. He wants the best for her more than I do. He can watch over her better than I can. He will be with her when I can’t. And I can trust Him to do that because He is trustworthy.
It isn’t always easy to be where God has called you, but sometimes faith stays in hard places.
The Lord GOD is my strength [my source of courage, my invincible army];
He has made my feet [steady and sure] like hinds’ feet
And makes me walk [forward with spiritual confidence] on my high places [of challenge and responsibility].
Habakkuk 3:19 AMP
Ryanne Stout is a CBM missionary who serves with Little Lambs Orphanage in Jalapa, Guatemala. Ryanne runs a horse therapy ministry for the orphans. To learn more about the ministry follow them on Facebook.
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