I’m a very independent person. Ask anyone who knows me – I don’t like asking for help, I don’t like having to lean on others, and I really don’t like admitting I can’t do things on my own.
I recently started fundraising for my trip to Malawi, and it’s scary. Scary to see what God has called me to, to see my passions and strengths and dreams come together, to see all of this within my grasp – and yet see I can’t do it alone. I can’t move to Malawi on my own finances, I can’t make an impact on the girls’ lives on my own knowledge and strength. I know that raising support is the church in motion; that it’s the beautiful picture of followers of Christ stepping into different roles. Some of us are strong prayer warriors, and I need them to have my back while I’m gone for 6 months. Some of us have the gift of words of encouragement, and I know they are going to be what gets me through some of the rough days ahead. Some of us are able to provide the financial funds for this kind of work, and I am relying on them to provide the money with which I will feed myself for the duration of the trip. All lessons that I, in fact, cannot do this on my own. All lessons that I need to learn in life (but that doesn’t mean I need to enjoy it). Like I said, scary.
But the same week I started fundraising, something even scarier happened. A girl who used to be part of the youth group I work with took her own life. I only met Chloe once or twice (she stopped coming regularly before my internship started), but my girls knew her. And our youth group knew her. And all of a sudden, fundraising wasn’t so scary. Life wasn’t so scary. Because death – and the pain and confusion and hurt that comes along with it – became the scariest thing.
If you’ve been through a similar tragedy, you know there isn’t much you can do and there isn’t much you can say. Which is frustrating for me, because I’m a do-er. I want to bake everyone brownies and write everyone encouraging notes in pretty envelopes and plan an ice cream party or something. I want to be able to do something and say something, so I feel like I’m fixing something. I want it to seem like I can handle things on my own, I can be there for my girls when they need me, I can have answers – even to the hard questions in life. But like I said, there isn’t much you can do. So I did the only thing I could – I prayed a lot. We cried a lot. And I gave my girls a lot of hugs. The body of Christ in motion; sometimes we all have different roles to fill and sometimes we all have very similar functions. Celebrate together; mourn together. One body, one community, one family.
Right now, I’m called to be a comforter in Flood Youth. To be a giver of hugs and send encouraging texts and pray endless prayers for peace, joy amidst mourning, and a sense of understanding. In August, I’ve been called to be His feet and move to Malawi, to be His hands and be a tangible picture of grace to girls in Chinsapo. To be a source of encouragement and a support system to girls who don’t currently have one, to pour everything I have into the Chisomo Idea, to make myself readily available to the work God is already doing on the other side of the world. Neither of these things I can do alone. But luckily, God doesn’t ask me to. He has surrounded me with community to build me up, He has given me people who fill in the gaps of my weaknesses with their fortes, He has promised to provide His strength when mine fails.
Raising $12,000 dollars over the next few months is still scary. Death is still scary. Pain is still scary – especially watching those you love deal with it. The fact that I am not, nor should I strive to be, a completely independent being is still scary to me. But you know what is even scarier? Not embracing God’s challenges and callings for us, because of fear. Not boldly stepping out into the unknown and the uncomfortable, despite that fear. Who knows what we are missing, when we sit inside locked safe and sound and cultivate our apprehensions. Who knows what lives we missed interacting with, what lives we missed the chance to impact, because we were too afraid to try.
As CS Lewis says, “There are no ordinary people. You have never talked to a mere mortal… Our merriment must be of that kind which exists between people who have, from the outset, taken each other seriously… and our charity must be real and costly love”. There are no ordinary girls living in Chinsapo right now; there are beautiful, talented, inspiring girls living there, and at the same time there are hurting, confused, and frustrated girls living there. My hope is to – through the combined work of the body of Christ – bring them charity in the form of real and costly love.
Want to be a part of the body that is supporting me in my venture to Malawi? Check out www.youcaring.com/krystiwilkinson