Tuesday, 19 March 2013

"Dark Nights Of My Soul"

 So I have seriously debated whether or not to post these. They are a little baring of the soul and somewhat remind me of a teenagers emotional Facebook outbreak, but with that said, what do I have to hide? I mean, you all know I’m not perfect. I am sure many of you may identify with the following. In fact, I know some of you do. This is what spurred me on to post these journal entries in the first place. Sometimes, just knowing that you are not alone is encouraging. This is not an update, this is not a missionary outreach, this is just me.

 Below are some of my journal entries from the past year. Yes, I am letting you read right from my journal. :)

Starting from last year. February, 2012:

In so many ways, I am afraid of the harm I could do here in Nagishot, many terrible things have been done in the name of God: Crusades, killing Jesus and the ones I have felt and seen myself.        I want to do the right thing but I am aware that this is only possible through the Spirit of God himself.  I am inclined to iniquity and lack of love. Sometimes, I hate sin and sometimes I ignore the voice in my spirit that beckons me to light.  I take pleasure in darkness, though I hate the loneliness that inevitably follows. Simply put, I am not good, not in the least.  In my flesh dwells no good thing at all, even my best things I do fall short of the glory of God. I am a sinner with no hope of righteousness! I have tried to conquer my thoughts and only think pure, I have failed. I have tried to master my feelings and respond perfectly, I have utterly botched. I have tried to conform my will so that perfection and grace is poured forth, I have tried and tried and failed…Oh, have I failed and ended so desperately unhappy in sin.

 'I know that nothing good lives in me, that is, in my sinful nature. For I have the desire to do what is good, but I cannot carry it out...Who shall save me from this body of death? I thank God through Jesus Christ our Lord, so then with the mind, I myself serve the law of God, but with my flesh the law of sin.'

Another journal entry:

Sin, like a Vampire walks around in my life, its power may be already dead, but it sucks the life out of me.  Why do I still sin? I thought God was the answer? Where IS all the peace and joy and all the things that I am supposed to have? Was I wrong about this Christian thing! I thought that Jesus was the Everlasting Well that I could drink from and never thirst again, but
 I am thirsty, very thirsty. Why?

Another days writing:

I have discovered that it is impossible to find pleasure in God while trying to seek joy in other areas at the same time. A divided heart will always be an un-happy one. I do want God, but I also want MORE, because of this, I lack joy, peace and all the wonderful fruits that spring forth when I am living in the Spirit. I know this, though I often forget it and I find myself in a very lonely place, speculating, wondering and forgetful of the Everlasting Well. When I do come to Him and Him alone, he does fill me and at that moment I am never ever thirsty for more.

 Another days writing:

So often I want to hear God’s direct voice. Now, I am no charismatic, but I am willing to change that if God wants to speak to me directly. That’s just it though, I want it to be easy, I want everything around me to be easy. I don’t want to have to read my Bible every day, I mean it’s work! I gotta read and everything! I want God just to talk to me while I’m snoozing in bed.  I don’t want to have the hard stuff of living in Africa, only the good. If I could just play with kids and people would spontaneously get saved and everyone would just want to do the right thing and eventually this studdly, godly guy showed up, that, of course, adored me, hey, sign me up for another ten years!  God has been good to me. God has been kind. Everything he does has purpose. I don’t always understand things, in fact, I usually don’t. I don’t understand death, especially of the unsaved.  It stumps me. Ignorance and sin anger me.  Knowing there are still some who have never heard, breaks me, but this I know, God had been good to me…and I trust Him.

And another:
I want more… I want something sensational! I don’t know what it is, but my soul is in ever search of it. I think it is love. There is something in me that screams that I must be loved. I don’t want to be loved just by anyone, I must be loved by someone noble, by someone whose love I don’t deserve and yet they are in-comprehensively in love with me.
I need more, something to shake me from this half-life. Something worth dying for, something worth living for, something worth dying daily for, I want to have a radical life. I want to be so much more than I am.
Haven’t I found you my Jesus? You who have shown such kindness, You have showered upon me gifts and love. Oh Jesus! Why am I still searching? Save me, help me see! There are times like this, when you feel so far away.  I feel so sinful and I am so afraid that I don’t even know you anymore.  

You seem like a stranger on the road, I wonder if you will look at me or pass by. Let me know you as you are. Oh Father, like a child I have ruined my picture, I have colored outside the lines... I have not trusted you.  

Confession, I am like the children of Israel: "And he called the name of the place Massah and Meribah, because of the chiding of the children of Israel, and because they tempted the LORD, saying, 'Is the LORD among us, or not?'"

Even though you've been here with me always... "He took not away the pillar of cloud by day, nor the pillar of fire by night, from before the people"

But again:

I am still ashamed, out of excuses, helplessly lost, desperately miserable, sick, discouraged, struck down, falling, I am tired, I am weary, I am still not enough. GOD SAVE YOUR PEOPLE! THIS IS NOT WHO WE WERE MEANT TO BE! 

Take my heart and heal it. Talk to me, I don’t want to miss it! Father, How can joy be in my heart? How can I rejoice when there is pain, such unbearable, unquenchable pain that hurts my heart and leaves me unmovable? Your church is wounded Jesus. We are lost, come find us, please! We need you to fulfill our purpose. We cannot do it. I cannot. I am hopelessly lost.
                                                                                                     Only in you is there hope for me.

Another journal entry (almost done!!!):

"Now faith is the assurance of things hoped for, the conviction of things not seen."  "And without faith it is impossible to please God..." There is a feeling that seems to be eating away at me lately.  Yesterday, I coined it, "overwhelmed".  It's been building in my soul like a unwatched pot and yesterday it boiled over me.

 I went for a walk as an attempt to encourage myself but all I saw was need, empty eyes and my own helpless hands.  Feeling exhausted I went to sleep early crying and hoping the morning would bring some solution. I only woke up with an intense desire not to rise. I looked up in my dictionary the word, "overwhelmed" to confirm its accuracy.

 "Overwhelmed:  to bury or drowned beneath a huge mass of something, especially water. - Excessive or extra weight, to defeat completely."

 When reading this my face went hot like a good smack from a loyal friend. As one phrase seemed to shoot straight into my heart, "Where is your faith?" Where is my confidence and trust in HIM? Oh Father, forgive me! You who have done great and impossible things that I have seen with my own eyes. Now what I must have is what the whole Christian life is based on: Faith, believing You and who You are. You love me, you love the Didinga, you do all things with purpose and beautiful reasons - You have not changed! Father thank you for this opportunity to have faith, thank you for not showing me what you are about to do but merely teaching me to trust. There is no fear, no defeat, no failing with Jesus by my side, in the mist of darkness, unknown and confusion He is on the throne. If the tapestry is unseen, the way unmarked, the storm rising high, maybe this is him saying, "Trust me, trust who I am" 
                                                            And in the end, we will know we really do.

Last one (I promise!!!):

I remember the time Dad told me, as I leaned up against the door frame of our house, listening to the meadow lark, he said that he thinks all the birds sing an unfinished tune, never fully understood by the listener, but their music all together would make a beautiful symphony such as would cause the soul to worship.

I love how dad can look into nature and see what so many people miss.  

Today I am thinking about the unfinished tune I sing. Each believer has a life tune that when brought together and completed will cause the world to worship. What is the song, I wonder, that our lives will create together? I know my part must be something like this,“Faithful, faithful is he who is ALL, close, close to all troubled souls, beckoning me always to know him more, I love him, His love has changed me.” 

We are apart of  the body of Christ,  we are not alone, we have Him and we have each other. Our lives were meant to sing together in perfect harmony a song of praise, a love song to Him who loves us, who has saved us and who will redeem us.

Reading all these, as I look back on the past year, I see a common trend of doubt, confusion and yet, a thread of God bringing me to Truth. I am starting to see clearer, though I have a ways to go.

Being here has given me a love for the church (believers) that I never had before. Maybe it’s because I am in the midst of a place where who you are, IS your tribe and it’s made me lonely for MY tribe. We are one tribe, you are my people. I don’t know if that means anything to you, but it means everything to me.
Praying for you, oh beloved of God, praying for us. With him all things are possible, you are not alone, I am here too, stumbling, rejoicing, falling and being raised up. We will go forth by grace alone. God will have the victory! He will have the VICTORY, Hallelujah!

Tuesday, 12 March 2013

Beautiful Faces of My Life-

Walking down the path I see,
people who have become a part of me.
Forever broken my heart will be,
 broken by geography.
 Love for here, love for there,
 love for the people whose lives I share.
 Those who have caused me now to see,
there are more important things in the world than me.

 Just some of the faces I love.

Friday, 8 March 2013

"There and back again" By Abigail Banham

 Snatching up our few essentials and tossing them into a bag Kim, Bakita and I began the the ten mile journey down into Chukdum this last weekend. Chukudum, though rather a small village, is the metropolitan of Didinga, as you walk wide eyed you'll hear the loud music bursting from solar powered stereos, the high roaring engines of a few vehicles and a few people talking on cell phones. You will see sodas in bottles, random soaps in shops and maybe even a flashlight with Obama's face on it all imported from Uganda. One has the feeling of saying "Baby, we're in the city!"

Our aim for this journey was simple drink a coke and visit friends.We were successful on both fronts.

 Hiking down to Chukudum.
Bakita (a former student) and her sister Evelynn were our hosts and what magnificent hosts they were! Upon arrival we where offered a cool place to sit, chapati (flat bread), rice and beans and chai (tea) . They even rolled out a mat if we felt like sleeping. We felt like (poorly dressed) royalty.

Evelynn making chai.
Chukudum, located in the low lands, is hotter than Brad Pitt (I know there is a better way of explaining that but for some reason it was the fist thing that came to mind). Yet the hot afternoon brought on a lovely evening warmth that spurred on song after song under the bright African stars.When it was finally time to sleep Bakita and Evelynn insited that we sleep on their bed (a mud platform) while they sleep on the floor.  Have you ever felt so blessed by someones hospitality?

Kim and I were planning on leaving early the next morning avoiding the scorching sun but alas our plans were thwarted, being held as Chukudum prisoners as our friends prepared for us one final feast of cow meat (a very special treat.)

I tried my "Take my finger off" trick.
Well, at least one little guy fell for it. He's all like, "What?!"
 After filling ourselves with the large portions given to us, suggestions to "Just force it" were offered but our cultural sensitivity has it's limits, it's called "I am going to vomit."  After the feast was finished Evellynn and Bakita waddled with us to the head of the mountains and we said our "See you later'." We managed to leave during the hottest part of the day at around one pm. 

Kim, Evellyn, Bakita and myself.

 The stream on the way, filtering water.
Meeting up with some friends on the path we began the ten mile straight up assent to Nagishot. It was long...It was hot...It was really hot, it was so hot in fact that when stopping at a stream I joined everyone in stripping off nearly all my clothes and bathed in the stream (Don't judge, it was hot, everyone was doing it and we hid behind a banana tree) 

Finally we reached home just in time to take a nice cold bath and eat something before the sun went down.

Anyway, I better get off and do something useful, just thought I share a bit about last weekend. It was simply wonderful and amazing!