|My little Caren|
"You will never be completely at home again because part of your heart will always be elsewhere. That is the price you pay for the richness of loving and knowing people in more than one place." -Miriam Adeny.
Everything comes back to me in moments...
Moments of bittersweet joy, joy so bright and bold that it could keep the sun ablaze for years to come.
Moments of deep sadness, sadness so deep and tears so wet it could fill the seven seas.
Moments of hardening struggles, struggles so tough it could wear down the strongest man.
and Moments, moments of overflowing love, Love so indescribable, love so high, so deep, so wide that no one could grasp onto, no one could reach out without feeling it wash over them in waves of mercy, waves of grace. Love that only Jesus could give and fill. Love that doesn't come from this world.
Everything comes back to me in moments.
Her little ebony legs hugging my hips tightly as she climbs onto my back and the green and orange conga gets wrapped around her tiny little bottom. She's too big to be carried on my back, but neither of us care, we are laughing. A laughter echoes through the Tanzanian sky, laughter that cause heads to turn to look at the Mzungu and the little African girl. Pure laughter. Her little 5 years old hands are already calloused and tough as they grab my neck and she pulls herself up. Her chewing gum, smacking in my ear, would typically drive me insane, but today it's a sound I take deep within me, to remember this second, this minute, this hour with her. I bounce up and down, and her head hits my shoulders and her sweet high pitch squeal echoes through my ears and fills my heart with so much love and so much joy. We're running around the compound. My sweet little sister, my sweet little Caren. And as we laugh, as we dance, and as she grip my neck so tight, trusting me to not drop her. I think this is what I must look like with Jesus. Clinging to his neck, tied with a conga, dancing and laughing and His heart is filled with joy, the way mine is carrying one of His children, the way He always carries me.
Moments. Beautiful moments.
And I can't believe it has almost been a year since I departed for that country. Since I set my feet on that ground and buried my heart deep in the soil. And everyday is reminder of these moments. Everyday is a transition into the person Jesus is making me to be and what's He teaching me about Him and myself and the people He surrounds me with. Everyday is filled with new moments for me to take down deep inside of myself and remember. Always remember.
But with these moments and with talking with friends and family about transition, those who are struggling same as me and those who don't understand, God has been blessing me and teaching me more about Love. I never knew, seriously, how important love is. People say we throw this word around too much, that it has lost it's meaning. But I think love is to be thrown, to be cast out like a fisherman's net, to cascade over people and draw them in. Love is meant to be spread.
The truth is that the more intimately you know someone, the more clearly you'll see their flaws. That's just the way it is. This is why marriages fail, why children are abandoned, why friendships don't last. You might think you love someone until you see the way they act when they're out of money or under pressure, or hungry, for goodness' sake.
|Sweet girl and I in one of our giggle fits|
But Love. Love is something different. Love is choosing to serve someone in spite of their filthy heart. Love is patient and kind, love is deliberate. Love is hard. Love is pain and sacrifice, it's seeing the darkness in another person and defying the impulse to jump ship.
And that is Jesus. and that is who I want to be.
Saint Augustine says it like this "Attract people by the way you live."
I want to live like Jesus, every day, every single moment, hour, minute, the rest of my life. I don't want people to be drawn to me, I want people to be drawn to Jesus in me. that I would throw His love over people and bring them into a big bear hug, that Jesus would use my hand to hold the hurting and my arms to wrap His arms around them. That I would be patient, that I would be kind, and I would be deliberate. Through the hard and pain and sacrifice and through the darkness.
Because He sees the darkness in me and yet He still lets me climb onto His back, wraps me in a conga and carries me through.
I desire to choose each day to serve someone in spite of the filth. I've seen messy and I've fallen in love with it, because in the messy God meets us. He's there. Always. And in each transition I'm learning to love different people in different ways. I'm learning that the moment I open my heart and my arms God enters in and I am His vessel. And what else in life could be more glorious.
My life was not made to be something pretty. I was not made for storybooks, and princess poems, and easy living.
My life was made to be messy. I was made to enter into the darkness and shine His light. I was made for the roughness and tough love. I was made for reckless love, for dirty hands and dirty feet. Though I feel unqualified, He uses me and it's an amazing thing.
I will not live my life trying to stay squeaky clean to this world. I make mistakes, I get dirty, but God is with me and He dusts me off, puts me back on my feet and leads on. And I will follow.
We are all a bit messy, we all are struggling. And yet God is giving us piggybacks, wrapped in congas, carrying us to where He wants us. Because despite the filth and the mess, He does want us. No one can tell you differently.
Throw out your net, let love overflow. His love. Great, grand love. Be messy and know God is there, always dusting us off and leading us home.
Taking in the moments,
HIS and yours,