A Note from Kelly King: God calls women to serve others in various places and cultures around the world. I admit missionaries are among my greatest heroes. They often serve in messy places and with messy people. Ongoing contributor Deb Douglas recently served in El Salvador and saw the messiness of ministry in a different place. May all of us continue to pray for those called to minister in the messy—whether it’s next door or across the world.
I have three heroes who are living in the messiest of the messy. God has called them there. He has placed them in the messiness to serve Him. Their hero status in my estimation comes from their total acceptance of the messiness as their norm. I do not mean they have come to accept the messiness around them as good in God’s eyes. It’s just they have accepted the messiness as an obstacle to be dealt with by grace.
All three of these heroes serve in steaming hot countries where electricity and water appear in their homes at some distant government official’s whim. Air conditioning is non-existent in their lives. But these women have come to accept this messiness as normal and focus on the messiness beyond their homes:
- The orphans with stories that shock our hearts to hear
- The women who see being trafficked for sex as their only option
- The families controlled by fear of the gangs that run their neighborhoods in the country with the highest murder rate of people under age 25 in the world
- The children who live in slums with sewer running down the streets, trapped by the loss of a way out into a better, less messy life
- The governmental limitations placed on sharing Jesus to a world of hurting people
These three women are my heroes. They are brave enough to continue to serve in the messiest of the messy. They are strong enough to endure discomfort with humor. They are gracious enough to allow others to participate in the messy work alongside them.
This last week, I had the humble privilege to partner with my El Salvador hero. Even though I serve in the messiness of my Louisiana town, and I have been around this messy world to share Jesus, I am spoiled. I like air conditioning. I like ice. I am OCD. I like to take a shower whenever I feel grungy.
And I am convicted.
I had gotten in the habit of “visiting” the messiness of this world, not living in it. I had allowed myself to forget just how uncomfortable life in the messy can be. I came home and took a long soaking bath in my tub, leaving a dirt ring—something I haven’t done since I was five years old. As I sat staring at that ring, I realized that God has called me to the place where I am just as He has called these three heroes and hundreds of women like them to the messiness of the messy.
But He also opened my eyes to be in fervent prayer for these women who are my heroes.
- Prayer for their safety
- Prayer for their children
- Prayer for their endurance and patience
- Prayer for their wisdom and discernment as they face the messiest of situations
- Prayer for their encouragement
When we serve in the messy, it is easy to forget others who are serving in the messiness around the world. Please partner with me in praying for the women who are bravely serving around this messy world!
For more help and resources on ministering in the messy, check out Women Reaching Women in Crisis and Steps: Gospel-Centered Recovery or refer to the other articles in the Hurting Women or Ministering in the Messy categories.
Dr. Deb Douglas has served in women’s ministry for over 37 years. Now she spends her time working with Purchased Ministry, a ministry to women in the sex trade industry. Deb is also the Director of Biblical Counseling at First Baptist Church, Bossier City, LA. She was the first to graduate from New Orleans Baptist Theological seminary with a Masters degree focusing on women’s ministry and has earned a Doctor of Education in Ministry degree from NOBTS. She is “Pearl” to 3 sweet grand babies, “Mom” to Jared Douglas and Katie Chavis, and wife/sweetheart to Paul Douglas.