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the simple things. Tuesday, 12 February 08
Last night I had a dream. And I remember it.
I was paddling on a surfboard, in the ocean, trying to catch a wave, struggling to stay atop my board. After a while, I began swimming towards the shore, bawling my eyes out because I was reminded of Muizenberg (where I first learnt how to surf)… as I got out of the water, I realized that I was back in Muizenberg! Excited, I tried to find my way back to the YWAM base so that I could say hi to Rene, Jojanneke, and everyone else.
Suddenly, it looked like I was back in Virginia (but in my mind I was still in Muizenberg) and everywhere I walked, I couldn’t find the base. I literally circled around some roads and failed to see where it could possibly be. We passed by some South Africans, and I began to speak to them in kinyarwanda (which they don’t even speak in South Africa…it’s the main language of Rwanda.) I said “Ndagukunda Jesu” to people, explaining to those who were with me that it meant “Jesus loves you”… only when I woke up I realized it actually translates “I love you Jesus”. Haha, oh well.
Anyway, I thought I was over it. But I guess Africa’s been impressed upon my heart more than I realize. Though it doesn’t pain me as much any more, I still deeply miss it. The more I think about it, the more I realize that I don’t want to lose this feeling, this aching in my heart to go back. I don’t want to forget. I mean, I don’t want to live in the past at all, but I am finding it hard to let go.
I feel like I had a simplistic outlook on life while I was there. Everything was simpler. It was about waking up and loving people, and being thankful for clean water, and being ecstatic about running water, and not being too busy to go exploring the town or dancing for hours in an empty room… Why is it so much harder here to find meaning in the simple things? It’s always about schedules, and classes, and who am I going to meals with, and what meetings must I attend, and when do I have to work at the desk… God, I long for simplicity.
To see people the way You do.
To see myself the way You do.
To see You the way You really are.
To be loved.
To see You lifted up in my life. On the earth. This is what I want to live for.
Don’t let me forget!!!
Refocusing Tuesday, 17 July 07
Last night I went out for coffee with a friend. Actually, I had only met her once before, and that was over a year ago… but we have a mutual friend, who ended up re-introducing us and before we knew it, we ended up at the Cheesecake Factory talking for nearly two hours.
I feel like it was one of those moments in life where God becomes so much clearer, and all that once was blurry begins to sharpen, and you begin to really SEE. Anyway, the whole conversation was so refreshing and encouraging, that I just want to share a little piece of the things we discussed.
Being home has been tough at times, boring at other times… but the whole of it, God has felt really distant. Or maybe it’s just that I didn’t want Him to be too close. But last night as we chatted, I realized that God is such a jealous God and that He will literally destroy anything that gets between us and Him. It sounds funny, but often times, it’s quite painful when the things or people in which we’ve put our hope, fail us.
Leaving DTS was a hard transition, mainly because I was constantly surrounded by people there, anytime I experienced God, it was in the presence of other people. And coming home, I am mostly alone. And I think I began to think that maybe I could not experience God by myself. Which is so off, I can’t even begin to tell you…
I’m beginning to see that God likes to kinda pull the rug out from under us, so to speak, so that we will start to depend and rely fully on him. If we are depending on anything or anyone more than we depend on Him, then we have lost sight. And He is so faithful to keep bringing our focus back to Him.
We were created for intimacy with Him.
That is the basic message and motivation behind the Gospel.
God wanted to be intimate with us. We were made for the sole purpose of knowing the One who made us.
How is it that life carries us so far away from our main purpose?
How is it that in the search for our God-given destiny, we sometimes stop seeking the Destiny-giver?
God is a jealous God.
He is after your time, your attention, your heart.
Your entire life.
And I think we’ll find time and time again, that that is the only way we can truly LIVE.
We must keep coming back to the cross. To the Source of our life. Jesus.
Life without him kinda sucks.
If you haven’t found that out yet, sooner or later you will. : )
May you be totally satisfied in Him alone today.
I was thinking today about how when I was in Rwanda, there were so many comforts that I missed from home. Simple things too, like running water, hot showers, toilets that flushed, and carpet under my feet. There were other things too like my mom’s cooking, my cell phone, a comfy pillow, privacy, alone time, etc…
And now I am home. I took a hot shower last night, every toilet I’ve used today has flushed, just had lunch (that my mom made), there is carpet under my feet as I type this, and I am alone in the study. And strangely enough, now I miss comforts of a different sort. I miss late-night conversations with Georgie underneath our mozzy net. I miss Arun poking his head in our window, asking “Do you need your iPod charged?” I miss Rene pulling me aside randomly and hugging me tightly. I miss the walks Taz and I used to go on, where she’d just encourage me the whole time, telling me, reminding me of who I am in Christ. Oh how I miss these things!
You see, I think when there is a lack of physical comforts, you turn to people, and the joy that they bring you becomes comfort to you. Truth be told, I can live without a flushing “loo” or bread and bananas for breakfast every morning… I’ve done it, so I know.
The Africans are onto something though. In African culture, people (and the relationship you have with them) are valued above all else. You drop everything to talk to your neighbor, you can get distracted at the market, but it’s okay, because people are more important than your daily agenda.
And I really, really miss that. I miss people who will listen to what I say, because they truly want to hear the words I say. I miss being hugged- the kind of hug that feels like they’ll never let you go. I miss it.
When I think back to the past six months, what I treasured the most was my relationships. I felt so loved and so accepted by the people with whom I spent my time. I wish I had taken advantage of it more.
Maybe we just show love differently here in America. Or maybe we are just so busy with our “comforts” that we forget just how valuable people are…
what do you think?
the beginning Friday, 29 June 07
I guess just because I am back from Africa doesn’t mean that I can’t keep writing. After all, there’s a lot to write. So, I’ve changed the title heading which used to read “Live from South Africa”. I briefly considered “Live from Ashburn”, but decided against it.
I don’t actually have anything brilliant or earth-shattering to write today. So if you are looking to read something that will change your life, I apologize. This isn’t it. Try checking back a bit later… who knows, I may have some amazing thoughts in a few days.
Oh, but I will do this: I’ll recommend the book Velvet Elvis to you. I’ve been recommending it to everyone and their mom lately. And I will even go so far as to say that it actually will change your life. $15 at Borders for all you Americans! (I know because i just bought a copy earlier this morning) Go get yourself a copy.
Rob Bell really ought to pay me for promoting his book.
home Tuesday, 26 June 07
I’ve been thinking a lot lately. Well, in the past day or two especially. I am back in the States. I flew in from South Africa early Sunday morning, and met my parents in the airport.
You know the saying “Home is where the heart is”? I am realizing that I have given pieces of my heart to Africa, to my friends from DTS, and I no longer am so sure where my home is… really. Sure, Ashburn is my home. It’s where I grew up, celebrated my 3rd birthday, learned to ride a bike, and it’s where my family lives now. But I think Ashburn will have to share my heart with Rwanda, and with South Africa.
DTS was incredible. I simply don’t have time to sit here and type up all the stories I have from South Africa or Rwanda, but I will tell you this: I have tasted and seen God’s goodness, I have seen more glimpses of his amazing grace, and I am in awe of the beauty God has placed in Africa. If you want to hear specific stories, invite me to a cup of coffee.
I won’t lie, reverse culture shock is throwing me for a loop right now. I miss people, I miss sounds, I miss South Africa, and I am hoping this feeling doesn’t last too long because it is rather painful. I read a journal entry I had written in March, and it was so apt for what I am feeling now. I was writing about how I needed to learn to let go of people, memories and experiences, and rather hold on to Jesus. I am one who finds it rather difficult to let go of those things. I won’t hold tightly to money or possessions (normally), but when it comes to people… I am quite tight-fisted. Which, is not completely a bad thing, but might could be if say, I keep crying all the time because of how badly I miss Africa and my DTS friends. I’m not sure how to release them in a healthy way…I feel like I have been traumatized by leaving every single person who has lived with me the past 6 months…but I am reminded of God’s faithfulness. And if He was faithful to provide me with friends in SA, and if He was the one who called me to go there in the first place, then I am sure He will help me to move on into other things He has for me in this brand new season of life.
Alright, so this marks the end of DTS, and my blog. Thanks for reading!
we climbed muizenberg mountain to watch the sun rise…
it was completely worth it!
julienn, age 8 and his brother ludovic, age 10 (their parents are staff here on the base)
both of them can speak english and french fluently…and a little bit of laos. such cute boys!
our accountability group met on the playground last week.
so much fun!
the most beautiful gate! at olive station- the best mediterranean cafe/restaurant in muizenberg (ok, so maybe it’s the only mediterranean cafe, but still)
muizenberg- the beach