"Be Still." Two words. Constant and always present. Having morning coffee, I hear it: "Be Still." Swimming in the clear blue ocean. Walking on snow white sand. Watching a Fiery red sunset. "Be Still." Fellowshipping with people who have become family. Listening to music, old and new. Feeling the presence of God.
We leave something of ourselves behind when we leave a place. We stay there even though we go away, and there are things in us that we can find again only by going back there. Kenya is such a place. It is truly like Narnia. There is something beautiful about Kenya that is thousands of years old. Too old to be truly captured by poems and songs. Loved by everyone, loved so very deeply. Kenya is everything real in a world of make believe. But even though I left some part of me behind, I also found a part of myself whom I thought was missing. I found her at a lookout point overlooking the breathtakingly beautiful plains of Massaailand. And I couldn't help thinking and knowing that I serve a God who makes the most beautiful things. We serve a God who loves us so much that He would come down to feel what we feel, to experience what we experience and even gave up His life to leave a part of Himself behind to always stay and be with us. This love, I have found, is not passive, it is never disengaged, it is always present and it hangs on every word we say. His love keeps promises, it keeps its word, it honors what is sacred and its vows are good. This love is not broken, it is not insecure, it is never selfish and is always pure. He is a good good father and He truly does not give His heart in pieces. He gives it unconditionally without is having to do anything to gain it. He loves us not only because but He also loves us despite. That is a love that conquers. He shows us this love not only in big things but in the small events of everyday life. He shows it in 14 hour roller coaster bus rides, cramped taxi game drives, swimming in breathtaking rivers, 24 hour campfires, hippo pool hikes, walking with the Massaai, worship sessions, packages from home, starry starry nights, footscrubbing sessions, nutella chapatis, heart key charms, rural house visits, tea cans, very fast bike rides, wind in your hair, Mika, laughter and so much more. So much love I do not have enough pockets to out it in. Kenya, you will forever be one of my most favorite places on earth. Home away from home. You showed me true humility and servanthood. Nothing I have I can call mine because it belongs to the one who knows the number of hairs on my head. Kenya showed me what family in Christ means and showed me firsthand what James meant when he encourages us to rejoice in suffering and to worship in trials. Tough times really do show us that we should always hold on to Jesus. God is good all the time. Keep holding on to Jesus even if the world around you shakes. Kenya You have taught me gratefulness, and if we are true in the small things, God will be true in the big things. Life is more enjoyable and even more beautiful when we hold on to Jesus. He knows what is good. If this is what it means to sit at the feet of Jesus then I will stay here forever. Jesus is everything. His love is everything. May God bless your nation and His people for you have blessed me with a gift that I can never lose. Staring at the beauty of our King. May peace and grace be yours forever. Asante sana Kenya! x x x
Going to the Promised Land for the first time of my life was a dream come true. Seeing the places where so many things happened in the Bible, reading the stories and seeing the "exact" place where it happened was amazing. Using your imagination to see where Jesus died, going to all the places where some of it happened, and meeting amazing people at these places that tell us so much of what they know about the old city. The Dead Sea and the Sea of Galilee were memorable, but the most amazing thing was when we were in the Old City of Jerusalem doing a challenge where we had to go to all the significant places where Jesus was. Like the upper room were Jesus and the 12 disciples had the last supper before He was crucified, but not all of those places were as “wow” as I had hoped it would be, to be honest. None of the other places that we visited were “wow” places for me. I was disturbed when I saw that the others were overwhelmed by these places and then it struck me, like a lightning bolt to the chest, why I was not overwhelmed. It felt like the Holy Spirit was telling me: “why did you expect to be overwhelmed at these places? Is it because it’s where Jesus was?” If it is, what then, have I missed the entire story? Many of you know that not all of His works were written down and that means that there are places on earth where He was and we don’t even know it. None of those places has a ‘Holy Spirit hot spot’ so why will these places have them and not the others where He was. Then the Holy Spirit spoke to me and said: ‘These places bear no witness of what He has done or will do but it’s me that bear witness of what He has done and will do. Where I am, there is the ‘Holy Spirit hot spot’. Where I choose to glorify His name, that is where He is and where He is, is far more important that where He was.
You never know what you can live without until you have to carry everything in one bag on your back -JS
Good day dearestsSince infancy i've been fascinated by rings! You know you only remember certain childhood memories? Well one i distinctly remember is my using my positive carving tools (manipulating) with a friend of my gran's. I remember thinking if i make a massive deal about how much I love her rings, she'll think " the hell with my own grand daughter. This one appreciates it more." So if that doesn't say enough about my 'mild' obsession with rings then just know it is badSubconsciously I still do it. My friends will tell you! I always fit their rings on and then just wear them for like 10 minutes. That child in me still waits for someone to just give it to me. I mean, can't you see i really like it? I can't stop looking at it. I mean com on! Just hand it over!So during training a girl who has been on a journey ( you know who you are ) had this amazing ring that she bought in Israel. When the disappointment sunk in that she, along with the hundreds of others is not going to give me this gorgeous ring that I so obviously love. I mean the nerve! Anyway, when it sunk in I got this crazy idea to ask God if He would ask someone in Israel to be obedient and give me a golden ring with three rubies in. I mean nothing is too big for God and I am His daughter, so cool thanks!So guess what God tells me the next morning..."please take your rings with on your journey" now you cannot hear the tone of my voice, but He was basically telling me " ok , sure! Why don't you give away your rings, then we will see what happens" God has an amazing sense of humor!So it hit me hard, but i realized in the midst of that intense useless denial that my attachment to my beautiful thin, fragile, golden ring that my sisters gave to me for my birthday and this amazing golden ring with this big black stone in ( that people never claimed after staying at our guesthouse... We tried to contact them... Well my mom tried.) and this beautiful copper ring with a blue stone in that my friend's mother bought for me. That sentence got a bit long... My attachment to these beautiful rings was unhealthy. I mean I recently mos learnt the meaning of life. The reason why I am alive and, these beautiful ( don't know how to emphasize this more ) rings don't really add to that. No calm down convicted reader. I'm not saying sell it all. ( God will get to you eventually hiehie joke! Calm down. No really, I'm joking ). It was just the fact that this useless earth thing is making me rethink my obedience.( #obedience is better than sacrifice).So yes I packed in my rings. And my 'self' part of myself had all the wrong motives. Motive 1: People see what I do and think it honorable ... Yes i admit I am an disgusting human person.#justdiealreadystupidflesh!Motive 2: God sees my obedience and returns my gesture by giving me the dream ring. Again, yes i know, I already annoy myself don't you worry! And secretly i hoped my bringing the rings and being "willing" God would recognize my willingness and bless me by letting me keepem. Haha cuteSo today I painfully said goodbye to two of them. Yup He is ripping the band aid off quickly! ( so that the wound can heal)And i get how this must sound to you... What kind of God asks for this? I thought His yoke was light but now i have to give up what I love?God just knew exactly how to teach me the power of His freedom. It was and is still such a liberating feeling! And He used these opportunities to reveal a lot of things to me! First ring (thin golden birthday ring) : I am like totally judging peoples unworthiness of this beautiful ring! Crazy, i know! "It won't fit her, she only wears silver, she has a beautiful ring so she won't appreciate it" many more believe me! The mind comes up with a lot of junk to side step inconvenience... And there it hits me! God gave us this beautiful gift, Jesus. And we are not worthy of it, we will not want to fully receive it or 'wear it' or want it even. But He, knowing we wouldn't see the worth of it, still gave it without thinking twice. We truly are disgusting! That verse in the first book of Revelation sticks with me " when we see Him, the ones who know Him and not, will mourn on behalf of Him!!!!!!! Whaaat! In that moment our entire reality will shift so much! We will see how bleeeeh we are and how That stunning beautiful King is wearing all of this bleeeh's filth. We will finally die ( our self- prideful selves) and we will morn on behalf of this Beauty, carrying the stuff that should not even exist near to His sight! What a drastic change in our manner of thinking that will be. I'm not even close to understanding the full extent of this and i already find it horrifying.Sorry for that slight side track...So I gave it to a lady and I am not going to lie, at first i was pretty sour, but since then I have received so much freedom and peace over the situation. I can almost feel how a weight has been lifted from my shoulders. Second one also made its way from my fingers, 'freeing my fingers' literally and of course lets not ignore the obvious metaphorical 'freeing myself'- very deep! Almost can't even see it's so deep. I know, I know.So yea the "empty handed" is a cool pun. Because yes the obvious- i have no rings onBut also the deeper metaphorical meaning- when I am weak He is strong. I have nothing to offer Him. He already owns everything- cute that I think I can in some way deserve anything. I come to Him empty handed. To be empty handed is to give up all worldly things that i can hold on to for comfort. I am dependent on Him, because without Him I am nothing. I can do nothing. Useless. Entirely useless. Tomorrow I will give away the other ring. And I really am fighting against the pride of saying " gosh i am so obedient" ( don't you just hate how pride steals from beautiful experiences with Jesus?) so know I write this post with no intention of boasting, but simply sharing this painfully freeing experience. Again, a liberating education. I don't know if He will reward me. A big part of me obviously feels like I deserve it, but that is a big lie. So we will see. Perhaps my receiving nothing in return will be a bigger reward than actually receiving the dream ring. Yea yea reading this you probably think I am so full of it, but please know I am sharing where my heart is at the moment. If it annoys you please forget about it, because God has His own way of revealing His character to us. Hahaha what I've learnt from this though. If the idea of giving your stuff bothers you, you should go ask yourself "Why?" Why am I so attached to this? Hahah it is a dangerous game, but believe me it is so worth playing! But like I said- We shouldn't connect a certain formula to Him. Watch this space More over Jordan. I am inlove with this culture. Truly the most hospitable people group i have ever met. Yesterday a 100 year old lady invited one after the other and massaged all the ladies' hands with Nivea she probably can't afford. They are so hospitable that we had to find tactics to avoid another serving of coffee. The whole seconds tradition that ruled in training is now being countered. If you don't use these tactics they will keep on serving you and they don't take no for an answer! And the children are amazing! Beautiful and so well mannered in nature. The world's idea of these people, well my previous idea of this people was so flawed. They are kind hearted.God is at work here! It is so beautiful to see first hand how we really aren't needed here and yet He still lets us experience His love. He speaks to them through beautiful dreams and then we just listen and praise Jesus. What an honor!Cool cool see you soon
More recently i am convinced that the greatest battle you will ever fight is for your FIRST LOVE! The greatest call you will ever answer is the call to RETURN to your creator! The greatest purpose of your existence is for intimacy. You have been saved for GOD! "And this is eternal life, that they know You, the Only True God, and Jesus Christ whom You have sent." [john 17:3]. What an Awe inspiring God we serve, the King of the universe loves and pursues a creation that's predisposition is to betray and reject HIM! But before you begin to think that this is another one of those pieces that will make you feel guilty about being a human listen to this Story ...