Waiting Tables in the Florida Keys AKA: Sometimes God tells us "Not Yet"

Anchors and the Backstory (insert dramatic movie music here!) 

This is the post I have dreaded to write. The reason my Blog is “Haiti Heals” rather than “Heal Haiti” because I am not so arrogant to think that I have some white-girl magic fairy dust that can transform a country. More importantly, that country doesn’t need to be transformed but God has informed me that maybe I do. 

How do we talk about the freeing of anchors without the backstory? How do I tell the backstory while still NOT being messy? I have struggled for a year to find the balance. 

When I started talking about my “story”, I will admit, it was out of spite and revenge. Like any good therapist, however, I was able to wrap it up in a nice little package, put a pretty bow on it and call it “healing” (the term we use in the therapy world for this is "reframing", in the real world I think some might called  it "BS" and it God's world, there might be a story about a plank and some sawdust? Matthew 7:5).  It wasn’t healing. It was revenge. I was betrayed. By two people I loved. And then again. And again.

It hurt. A LOT. 

I found out about this betrayal two days after my only child left for college. My identity as a mother changed. My identity as a wife ended. My identity as a therapist changed (I thought no one wants a therapist who is messy!!!). I was, for the first time in my life, free of any hats that I once held closely to define who I was. 

I seriously debated my options. The best plan I could muster was to grab my two little dogs, pack five pairs of shorts, tank tops, two pairs of Chacos, eyeliner and ponytail holders into my convertible and wait tables in the Florida Keys. I will admit, there were many days that I struggled to keep my car going east rather than south. 

Too much freedom is a bad thing. No accountability to other human beings is a bad thing. Despair and sadness and loneliness and fear and hopelessness are bad bad things. 

I struggled to keep my car from pointing south. I went through the motions of my life. Then, slowly, ever so slowly and quietly, I started to heal. A little bit. A tiny bit. I opened up to friends. I started telling my story asking for help rather than asking for validation that I had been wronged. I prayed more for forgiveness than revenge. Then I went backwards. And forwards and stayed still and moved to the left and right and all over. I felt better....slowly. One day, I didn’t have to fight so hard to keep my car to the east. 

While I was in the middle of the waves, I met up with my friend from Haiti. I told her my story. She was heartbroken and said, “You should have came down for a month! We would have taken care of you.” 

God didn’t want me there then. Because I was running. I was running from despair and sadness and loneliness and fear and hopelessness. The Holy Spirit told Paul to keep quiet in Asia because it wasn't the right time----God told me---not yet. I couldn’t have healed anyone running and I wasn't allowing God to heal me.  In the meantime, I sat in despair and sadness and loneliness and fear and hopelessness. And sat. And sat. 

When I finally made the decision that waiting tables in the Florida Keys might be a waste of my very large student loans and I had purpose and meaning with my stained, messy, modified hats, I suddenly was open and then was called to go to Haiti. My business is running well on it’s own. The team God has assembled there is amazing. My focus and attention have increased. God’s plan for microloans and The Play Bridge (more to come! So exciting!!!) are flowing and sometimes, I am in the right place at the right time to catch them. 

God said—maybe but just not yet. I know, through faith, that God allowed my crazy ideas of running away to open up my heart for what is next. He not only freed anchors of things and people and obligations but He also freed my soul, my heart, my mind, my body to do what is next. I allowed Him to anchor me when all I wanted to do was free-fall. I asked and prayed and begged for Him to anchor me when I only wanted to drive south. 

I can’t heal Haiti. I can provide a small spot in a small corner on top of a mountain. I can wear a new hat that is only defined by God's love and promise. I can ask God to continue to heal me on top of that mountain and I can ask Him to pour in to me so I can pour in to the people I meet. I will say from my years of working in child welfare, my years in private practice, my years of social work, and the years I have been a Christian----this is the ONLY way happiness, healing, and hope work. To quote the famous words of Paul and John (the Beatles Paul and John---not the Apostles ((but that is RATHER ironic, if you ask me....))

"And in the end, the Love you take, is equal to the Love you make...."

As I prepare for this trip, I ask for YOUR prayers for healing. For me, for them, for you. 

I ask you to pray to be poured in so you can pour out. Forever and always!! 

Renmen Lavi,