Monday, December 31, 2012

Tears, Struggles, and the Calling.

"Christ has no body on earth but yours, no hands but yours, no feet but yours. Yours are the eyes through which Christ's compassion for the world is to look out; yours are the feet with which He is to go about doing good; and yours are the hands which He is to bless with now" -St. Teresa of Avila

Some days are more difficult than others, I think we can all agree on that. Some days you wake up and think to yourself what am I doing, why am I here. God is this really what you have for me. And then there are days you wake up and are filled with some weird sense of peace and excitement about what God has you doing. Yesterday was not one of those days. Yesterday was hard.

There are many things I struggle with since coming to the missions field. Personality clashes, physically sickness. spiritual weakness. major homesickness and so on. Yesterday I had homesickness and it was bad. I woke up with an intense longing to be somewhere familiar, with the people who deeply love me and understand me and I don't have to explain myself to. I woke up with an intense longing to be comfortable to be able to walk down the hall and plop on my sisters bed. To walk down the stairs and have coffee with my mom and dad. I woke up with that intense longing. I woke up with tears in my eyes and I cried most of the morning. Cried because I miss them, cried because I don't know how to handle it otherwise. Cried because I'm realizing that the most important thing to me is my family and Christ is asking me to put Him before them and I struggle everyday to do that, because I love my family with all my heart. I would lay down my life for them. But God is asking me to love Him with all my heart, to love Him more, to lay down my life for Him. and it's hard.

I struggle to understand what God expects of me. Even being here on the missions field. I struggle to understand what He expects and has called me to do. It's harder to understand when the aching for familiar clouds out His voice. To even be Christians, we must first believe that Jesus Christ is the Son of God. That in itself is no small idea. So we believe. But God expects more. Much more than church attendance, more than prayer too. More than belief, and even more than self-denial. God asks us for everything. He requires a total life commitment from those who would be His followers. The life-commitment is something I struggle with, every single day. It would be easy to turn my back on God, to throw a temper tantrum and tell Him to take me home from Africa. It would be easy to find a reason to go home but as Rachel, the missionary I am working with said to me "Everyday I ask myself am I willing to accept what God has for me or am I going to be angry and bitter about it?" 

That question hit me hard. Am I willing to accept what God has for me? Yesterday I didn't. Yesterday I through a temper tantrum, yesterday I just wanted to go home. But today is a new day. Today I can choose to accept what God has for me. That is the beauty of my God, that He gives me a choice and another day to make that choice. And through my attitude yesterday I saw that I must accept what God has for me, because what He has is much better than what I want. He is calling me to be a carrier of the gospel, not to live out my faith privately but to shout it from rooftops. To love Him and His people recklessly, why would I choose not to accept that?

Yes some days are going to be hard. Some days I will miss my family and my mom's eggs and pancakes. I'll miss sitting on my sisters bed laughing about nothing, I'll miss my brother's stupid jokes, I'll miss watching pixar movies with my older sister and her kids. I'll miss my dad snoring in his chair. I'll miss my dogs pouncing me as I walk through the door. I'll miss just calling up Kelsey and talking with her. I'll miss those things and more, but here is where I need to be. Here is where GOD is calling me. Here is where I need to be. I am human and I will not tell you that everything is great, everyday is a struggle and everyday is a choice. Someday I will wake up with tears in my eyes and somedays I will wake up with peace. It's all in how I approach each day, approaching with GOD and never ever without HIM. How will you approach today?


    HIS and yours,


Sunday, December 23, 2012

Driving through Sand dunes

The other day we went driving through sand dunes. Sand dunes are beautiful things, and these particular dunes out in the desert looked peaceful and beautiful covered in trees and different types of desert plants. But once we began driving over these dunes the peacefulness that was there was replaced by holes that we couldn't see in the beginning and rough roads and bumps and potholes that caused my butt to leave the seat on more than one occasion. I'm sure there is a permanent place for my head in the roof of the car. And so I've come to the conclusion that life is driving through sand dunes. 

I know it sounds strange, but just hear me out for a second. Life is like driving sand dunes, I looked out into the vastness of the desert and out past these dunes to the mountain we were headed for and thought, this looks like an easy ride, a peaceful ride even, the dust and the wind of the desert blowing through the Land Rover, no problem. And then we began to drive over these sand dunes and I began to see uneven roads that I couldn't see before, holes that a tire could easily get stuck in, so many different path to choose from. And as I flew in the seat and a bruise began to form on my hand and arm from holding onto the safety handle I couldn't believe I thought that this was going to be an easy ride.
Such is with life. At least for me. I look out into the vastness that is my life and think this is a nice path, and easy, peaceful one even and I begin to walk with no idea what I'm headed into because I let myself believe it will be easy. And then I hit that first pothole, that uneven road and I feel like I'm flying through the air with no control, I look at all the paths that are laid out in front of me and I am at a loss constantly on which way to go. I thought it was going to be a peaceful way, the wind blowing through my hair, no problem. But this is wrong, because the way I want to walk, the way I am suppose to go is not supposed to be easy. It is a narrow road that many will follow and few will find. and the many will believe it's easy, but the few will see the difficulty and trust in Christ to bring them through it.

  It is the potholes of life that strengthen and refine us. I mean the potholes in the road made me strengthen muscles I didn't even know I had. These tough moments in the roads ahead are there to make us tougher, make us trust in the Lord, make us follow the way that is narrow. Without these potholes and uneven roads in our journey on the sand dunes I would have nothing to add to my adventure, nothing to come back and say this is how high we flew over the bump, this is how fast we were going when we skidded through the sand. The laughter that came after flying through the air and my butt leaving the seat made the journey that much better.

So it goes with the adventures of life. These potholes make life hard, but Christ makes life livable. No life does not get easy or simple when we decide to follow Christ. The path is narrower and difficult, but these difficulties, these potholes is what makes the adventure with Christ worthwhile. It's what makes me wake up in the morning ready to tackle each day with HIM. Because when I look back, I don't remember the easy days as much as I remember the days I struggled through.

My journey so far here in Africa has felt like it has been filled with potholes. I'm not ashamed to admit that there are many days I wake up thinking "God just take me home to my family, to my friends, to my comforts, I don't want to be here." I sound like a stubborn child. And I struggle with the realities of my calling, everyday. Because it is here I realize, that how much I thought I depended on God was nothing at all. It is here I realize how weak and helpless I am, and how much I cannot do by myself. It is here I see Christ in HIS most distressing disguise. It is here that I find myself, who I truly am, stubbornness and all. It is here that I realize there is more to life than what new movie has come out or who's engaged to who. There is more to life than these things, when my neighbor is literally starving, when one of my new friend's father just died, when the blind man has to walk alone over lava rocks and thorns, because there is no one to guide him and no cars available. There is more to life than me. This life is more and I look at how I have lived and who I am and see that I have not been doing more I have not been living more. It is here I see that I have not served, I have not loved, I have not been Christ. And I struggle with it, wake up crying about it, stress over it, my heart aches over it. 

I am called to be His hands and feet, but I have only been my own. The minute I start over that sand dune of life and see a pothole I try to go around it. The minute I see a person standing on the side of the road begging for a drink of water, I want to drive past them. The potholes of life I want to go around, but I'm not suppose to, I'm suppose to go through them, it's why they are there. I'm suppose to go to these people, Christ is calling me to them and it is time I stop trying to go around them. It is here I see what kind of servant I really am, that many times I serve out of convenience rather than from the depths of my heart. But this is going to change, as I lean on Christ and let HIM drive over these dunes of life, I know that these potholes, though difficult, with be easier to manage. Because at the end of the day Christ has overcome the world, so I know HE can overcome a pothole!

  Driving over sand dunes,

    HIS and yours,


Tuesday, December 18, 2012

Small Moments with a Great God

"For godliness with contentment is great gain. For we brought nothing into this world, and we can take nothing out of it." -1 Timothy 6:6-7.

  Two months! I can't believe it's already been two months that I have been here in Africa. And though it has been 2 months a part of me feels as if I've hardly done anything. That I've hardly served, hardly given anything. There are times I sit here and say "God have I done enough? have I given enough?" and than I hear His still small voice whisper to me. "It's not how much you give, child, but how much love you put into giving." 

I'm saying, of course I love people, of course I love serving. But is it true? Is this love welling up from the depths of my soul and onto others? Am I really loving, or just saying that I am. And It's not just the love I give the Gabbra people, but the love I give my ministry partner when moments get frustrating. It's the love I give the missionaries and their kids. It's the love I give people at home, who are 8000 miles away. It's the love I give complete strangers that pass me by everyday. And I have realized that I keep to much to myself. I keep love to myself thinking that I need to save so much love for a great person, for a great moment. But God is telling me that each moment is great no matter how small, that each person is great, no matter how unloveable. That I've come into this world with nothing and can take nothing from it, so why must I continue to hold onto to things He has blessed me with to give away. So I must give it away.

I think we are conditioned to think that out lives revolve around great moments. That we feel as if we don't do anything, or nothing happens unless it's something great. But great moments often catch us unaware beautifully wrapped in what others may consider a small one. The smile of a stranger. The whispered hello from a shy child. Sitting in the kitchen cutting potatoes and singing worship songs. Laughter. Before coming here these moments would have seem meaningless and not important, but in reality, these are my greatest moments, the smallest. Our God is great, but even He is in the smallest things. I've realized that the moment, the action does not have to be great, because God is still moving in it, no matter how small. 

We tend to believe that our lives our measured by these great moments, by how much we can accumulate, we measure our lives by things. But the measure of our lives will not be in what we accumulate, but in what we give away. What we give away in each moment, the big ones and the small ones. Because we came into this world a blank slate, came into this world with nothing, and when we leave we will take nothing with us. So why do we continue to grip tight onto things that don't need to be held onto? Material possessions, addictions, and so on. Let go, let go of the things that seem to keep you from Him, keep you from those great and small moments. Stop holding out for something great and jump into something small, into the God moments and I guarantee that small thing will become one of the greatest moments in your life, because God works through it. 
Many times I say to myself, "okay, God I am here, but I don't see anything happening." I find myself waiting for something huge to happen, but He reminds me to stop looking for that one big moment and look at the small things. He reminds me that, just like my faith, even though I can't see something happening does not mean that it isn't there, that He isn't there, moving. I need to stop looking through my own eyes and look through HIS. I need to let go of the things I keep trying to take with me and give them to God, and as I do this I realize I can move a bit faster and stand a little taller. I don't feel as heavy or loaded down, trying to hold onto things that I'm suppose to give away. 
So this is the time, I cut the strings of the things I've tied to myself to keep and I let them float away. It's time to live in those small moments, because this is the place where I am supposed to be, supposed to follow Jesus, obey HIM, and make my best effort with His help to let go of those things and care and love people unconditionally. To love each person that He places in front of me, even in the smallest moments.

Living in the small moments,

   HIS and yours,


Friday, December 14, 2012

Story of Realities

All your life you hear stories about other places and other people. Things that happen that are bad, so so bad. You hear these stories, and have no way of identifying with them, no way of understanding them, but you hear them and all you can know is that it's bad and people need to be saved from these actions. 
  I remember reading stories about girls who have been through mutilation, and I heard from speakers and people that these things happening are bad and that people need to be saved, but never fully understood because I could never relate. This past week I met 30 of 35 girls who have been through this and my heart was literally broken as I stood asking these young girls between the ages of 13-20 why? how? to help me understand. The realization hit me that these are not stories. This is not just some thing that is bad, but that now I have thirty faces and voices that are attached to this thing and I don't know what to do about it. I don't know how to process, I don't understand why. 
  When hearing the stories and listening to the differences of why or because of culture I kept asking God, why? Why and how can He let these things happen to girls as young as 9, why do they see it as a cultural okay, why can I only see it as something terrible? I want to understand but I can't. And I probably never will.

  The truth is, this is a big problem for me. I desire to have understanding. Understanding of so many things and when I can't understand it makes me frustrated and angry. I want to understand the language, I want to understand the people, the cultural traditions, but I can't and sometimes that is hard for me to surrender. To remember that even when I can't understand and I don't know God does, He knows the reasons why things like this happen, He knows the pain and the hurt and the healing that each girl has and is going through and He understands. 
  In the middle of trying to understand this heavy topic, a young girl three years younger than me was admitted into a clinic for being cut by her family, they tried to cut her with a thorn, but with no justification as to why. They cut an artery and the girl was bleeding so much, and yet she didn't want to help because she didn't want to go against the cultural, she didn't want to seem different from the other women who have gone through this procedure before her. There is fear there, but there is also so much loyalty, so much respect for the culture that sometimes the right and the wrong things become blurred and for me it's hard to say what is right and what is wrong because I come from such a different culture, from such a different background. It's hard. just hard to help when I can't understand.
  Here in this place reality hits me hard in the face everyday and days I wake up and I hate it, I hate that reality is so real! haha. I know, strange. Reality is real and when it hits me, it hits me hard and it has taken a lot of dependence on God and a lot of trust in Him to know that He understands and He is taking care of these women, these young girls. That He is there provider and protecter, that maybe it's not for me to understand, it is just my job to love them no matter what they have gone through and to remind them that they are loved. Loved by me and loved by God. In this moment that is all I know how to do. that is all I can do. and it is all I want to do.

   This week of the youth camp has finished and I met some amazing people. Some Germans, some Kenyans and the girls above as well as all the other male and female youth that were here. It was a great time to spend with great people. God really continues to bless me and I am enjoying the relationships I get to have and build no matter how short they last. He is in all and has all in His hands. His reality is that He is going to take care of me, no matter what and no matter where I am He's got me in the palm of His hands.

     trusting in the reality of God,

  HIS and yours,


Tuesday, December 4, 2012

Waiting on the Cliffs of Insanity

Waiting. Waiting. Waiting. 

I feel as if that one word could define my time so far in Africa. Waiting.

A part of me feels like Indigo Montoya, in The Princess Bride, when Wesely says "I'm afraid you'll just have to wait." as he is climbing the cliff and Indigo's response is "I hate waiting." That is how I feel, I'm asking God all these questions, pacing back and forth, waiting impatiently for God's plan to come climbing over the cliffs of insanity and He's saying, "Cami, I'm afraid you'll just have to wait." and my reply… "I hate waiting." 

No matter how many words and promises and ropes I throw over the edge He continues to tell me "to wait, to be patient, because is plan is worth not rushing up that cliff." So I wait and pace. I'd like to say that patience has become a goof attribute in me in all this waiting, but honestly I've become more impatient than ever. And I see that and He sees that.

"God, God how long must I wait?" I cry out to Him and sometimes there is silence, and sometimes I hear His still small voice "Trust me child, Trust me dear one." And when I really sit down and think about it no matter how impatient I am or get, I would rather be waiting in God's perfect plan, then working outside of it, then running in the opposite direction just to feel as if I am doing something. 

Yes there are days I want to quit, actually almost everyday, there is no sugar coating this. I am a selfish human being, there days I say "Thanks God but no way, just let me go home." I am weak, so so weak, I know that. and Every single day it's a struggle between flesh and spirit. Flesh calling out at me "Look all your friends at home have forgotten you, you can't do this, you are worth nothing, why would God want to use you. You are helping no one." And my spirit is doing everything it can, in reminding me that my flesh is selfish, that I am selfish, that this is not about me or anyone else. This is about God. this is Kingdom work, not cami work. 

This is His desire for my life. He's prepared me for this journey, from many previous journeys. And in this journey and in this desire, it will come with waiting, it will come with sacrifice, it will come with realizing that life moves on even when I am on the other side of world. realizing that yes, people will forget about me, people you say that will stay in touch will not, and it will come with mountains of struggles. But it will also come with a growth in Christ, a growth in my spirit and my heart, in knowing that in this glory is coming to Christ. It will come with genuine people supporting me, praying for me and loving me despite the distance. 

Yes right now I am impatient, I'm ready to get going to see all the many things God has in this journey, in this season of my life. But in the waiting He has blessed me with getting to know my ministry partner better, and the missionary family we will now be working with better. To connect and grow in the waiting and the resting. Things I wouldn't have been able to do if I had just jumped in right away. So I guess the conclusion is to just wait and see, to pray a ton for patience. 

In the end I know it's all worth the wait. I know that God will grow me and stretch me. And while I wait I'll practice my sword fighting, because I know that when His plan comes climbing over that cliff so will the enemy. In the waiting, I will prepare. 

Impatiently, trying to be patiently Waiting,

  HIS and yours,