Addiction, Dependency, and Grace

As we crossed back over the Rwandan-DRC border I wasn't too sure what to expect from my emotions. After two months in a war zone, a few days of rest was highly welcomed, but what would my heart feel upon its return? Crossing the border we were welcomed by a man taking the butt of his Ak 47 to a civilian with brunt force, knocking him straight onto the pavement, didn't cause much fuss at all as he calmly walked away and returned to his journey. Along with this was the familiar sound of UN helicopters steadily buzzing by, sometimes a little too low for your ear drums and personal comfort, the hundreds of UN officers manning various posts and looking like they desperately needed a nap and perhaps a good joke or their mommys to make them smile, volcanic dirt in the air already painting my pale white skin a new shade of grey. I slowly took in all the sights and sounds as I climbed onto a boda taxi. It's amazing what grace can do. As we made the drive through the city back to our home across town I realized I had the similar feeling you get upon returning from any vacation, the extravagant break was nice, but now I'm ready for home.

Over the past few years I've traveled, moved, and changed professions several times eagerly desiring to follow the voice of my Savior. After these changes I've finally come to the realization that no matter where He sends me from carpeted cathedrals, heels, and Starbucks to war zones, chacos, and mud huts, His grace is always sufficient. His presence is always worth it. No matter where I'm at as long as He's there, I'll stay. It doesn't concern me much if that's behind a pulpit preaching or sitting in the dirt with the orphan, it doesn't concern me too much if that's feeding the hungry or filling in a needed spreadsheet behind a desk, all that matters is my obedience and His presence.

At Texas Tech I minored in Addiction Disorders and Recovery Studies and was always intrigued on the nature of addiction on an individual and a family. As an addict goes along their dependency upon a drug increases. The amount that satisfied them at the beginning of their use is no longer enough to produce the same satisfaction.

The day after our return to DRC we were practically running to church, so hungry for His presence. It's funny to add that it's strange enough to see three white women in the area of town that the Iris church is located much less on foot, speed walking, smiling away. That's what i love about the heart of iris and our pastors, they'll do anything to reach out in the worst of places, to the hardest of sinners, to the most destitute and broken. So here we are already sticking out in the crowd, practically bolting for the doors of the church. And immediately as we get in, He's there. My Beloved. My Best Friend. My Necessity. My Lord.

As always God heard the cries of the desperate and as He promises in the Word multiple times, when the cries of the hungry go up, He comes in like a rushing wind to fill them. As my natural senses began to tangible feel more and more of His Presence I just began to weep. And weep. And weep. Soon I lost all control and ended up on my knees, lost in the sweetness and peace of Him. It wasn't until after church that a realization hit me. I'm an addict and I'm becoming more and more dependent. What used to be enough of time with Him, time in His Word, time worshipping, time loving others with Him, it's no longer enough... My dependency has grown. The amount of surrender I used to put forth will never be enough again. The thought of living without His manifest presence is enough for me to cry out from every fiber of my being, "I'D RATHER DIE THAN LIVE WITHOUT YOU".

For the past year God has been speaking to me about the American bride coming to a place of desperation. It was clear in the Word that He shows up for the desperate, but I so struggled with this issue mentally. How can a people, including myself, who have all we need, become so desperate? I now understand what it means to be desperate. The more I surrender, the more dependent I become, the more dependent I am, them obviously the more desperate I am.

We must become Jesus addicts. So dependent on the One that we are desperate for His presence, desperate for His touch, desperate for His voice, desperate for His will to be done, desperate... Our love can produce surrender in obedience, your surrender will produce dependency, and your dependency will produce desperation.

You don't have to be completely poor to be poor in spirit, you don't have to be abused to be broken before Him, you don't have to be lacking natural water to be so thirsty that you cry out for more, but we must learn to become desperate and dependent even in our abundance.

And with all addiction, there will be many who don't understand, who don't want any part of it, who will persecute and reject you. There will be times when you're desperation for a God that people don't know causes you to do things that seem foolish and illogical. (I mean really who "understands" going into a war zone with no weapons but love and worship) Now is the time though. It is time to lay down our pride, our rights, our dignity, our "knowledge" and theology. It's time to go back to the basics. Love God with ALL your HEART, SOUL, MIND, and STRENGTH and love your neighbor as yourself.

You don't have to complicate it. It can be that simple. Give Him every ounce of who you are, depend on Him completely, let go of all of your "image", be humble, just LOVE Him and LOVE others.

Be blessed, J. Tate

We leave for the UN red zone today to visit a village filled with the spiritually and naturally desperate and hungry. For twenty years they have been ravaged by war and are dependent on Jesus everyday for their protection and nourishment. What a blessing to go love like Jesus with these people. Thanks for your prayers.