Two Lessons from a Mud Hut

The girls' hut.

These women are dangerous.

See this little hut with the grass roof and mud walls? I can hardly believe it myself, but for seven days, eight women called it home.

It amazes me now, solitary as I am, that I didn’t throttle anybody or succumb to panic in the suffocatingly close quarters. In fact, I thrived there. The midnight prayers that rose from that hut were so precious, I keep admiring them like a handful of emeralds.

Pray, then balance sandwiches on your head.

Pray, then balance sandwiches on your head.

Here are two things I learned in that hut.

1. We are stronger in tribes – even independent Americans.

While I prefer to sequester myself from other humans and their intolerable messes, it makes me weak. In Africa, I allowed older, wiser women into some deeply shaded parts of my life, allowing their years of wisdom and experience wash over me, and I finally understood what it is to rest for a moment in someone else’s faith.

See, when we go deep with people, into their triumphs and messes, when we witness their failures and are not scared or offended, we grow in community. Perhaps that’s why Jesus told us to stay in church, so we can deal with the inevitable conflict of being human and learn what grace really means.

The reward for the effort is deep affection for one another, and the experience of God’s grace. I love these women now in ways I can’t fully describe.

2. Prayer with a group of woman all kneeling at the feet of Jesus, works.

One night in that hut, we gathered under sleeping bags and headlamps and prayed for things some of us have never spoken out loud. I saw icebergs calve, skyscrapers of hidden guilt and fear, shearing off those women and crashing into the water below, melting in the light of God’s grace and mercy. Jesus told us to do this because He knew it would make us lighter, more nimble, and dangerous to the enemy, but I had to go to Africa to take it seriously.

After all, what scares you doesn’t scare me, so in the name of Jesus, I can walk into your dark corners and kick some ass for you. Then you can do it for me.

And something changes between us forever.

Hubbard Glacier - "Calving"

Hubbard Glacier (Photo credit: roger4336)

I wonder if our independent streak is sometimes a cover for laziness and fear. Of course it’s easier to mind our business and small talk each other to death, but who will slay your dragons when you’re too far down to do it yourself? Who will call that thing you believe about yourself the bald-faced lie it is? Who will say, “You’re drowning in Scotch but I love you and I’m here?”

So if I must choose between a lovely stone manse, with silent wings and empty grounds, and a tiny, mud hut with your socks on my bed and your burdens in my heart, I’m taking the hut. Because I need you, and you need me. So let’s do this thing together.

Do you have a small group you rely on? How did you meet them?

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15 thoughts on “Two Lessons from a Mud Hut

  1. Yes! to the value of staying in community! One of the disadvantages to having a church on every corner (I live in Texas) is that if you hit a rough patch with someone in your church you can just pull up your stakes and go somewhere else to worship. It takes the community out of corporate worship and makes it a very individualistic thing. If we stay, we find a way to love and be loved and “kick ass” in each other’s dark corners. Within my church of 25 years, I have a small group of women who take it a step further. Such a joy it brings to the journey through this world that is not our home.

  2. I have a small group of women that I can rely on. We met during a bible study yrs. ago. I am not in constant contact with a couple of them. But I know that I could send out a call for help & they would each be there for me instantly. It’s just the nature of the type of bible study we had. We know the worst about each other & love each other for it. We all opened that door with our deepest, darkest secret that we couldn’t open with anyone else. We started as strangers & a few months later we were closer to them than friends that we had known all of our lives. It changed my life forever. I love these women with a passion & I am grateful for them, will value their friendship for the rest of my life. I praise God that he put these women in my life.

  3. Authentic, healthy relationships begin with embracing the truth that mankind was created to be in community. Sadly, few understand what this means much less how to create it. A community where commonality of thoughts— ideas isn’t what unites but rather a genuine love for one and another. I’m so thankful that I know Jesus. Knowing Him ensure that I will always have a community.

  4. Pingback: Come Do Love in Austin…And Pensacola! | Going to the Sea

  5. Pingback: Want to Quit Your Job? It’s Thursday. | Going to the Sea

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