(I wrote this about two weeks ago just a few days after we got back to the States, just now got the internet to post)
Why do I find myself seeking comfort anywhere other than in the arms of my Father. I know in my mind I can run to Him, but do I know in my heart? If I do, then why don’t I do it. I know I can dwell in His presence at anytime, I can talk to Him, I can sit with His arms around me. When I am sad, feeling lost, lonely, confused. And when I am happy, thankful, joyful, excited, I can and should run to Him also. And be thankful! Because all things good come from Him. So why do I decide to spend my free time, my down time, or sad times, or happy times anywhere else? Why?!? He is all I need. He is all I could ever want! He is God, Lord of ALL! He created us. He loves us. We are His people. When I feel lonely in a world of strangers, in another country away from home, what I need is NOT American comfort food, or to listen to some country music to taste East Tennessee, or to go to a “nice” Kenyan restaurant or hotel for a quick taste of comfort. I can feel most comfortable sitting in the presence of my Father. I can feel peace with Him. I can feel at Home with Him. I know this, yet why don’t I go to Him in these times? He has everything I need. And now, when I’m back “home” in the US, in East Tennessee, I still don’t feel at home. Not even close. Because I am learning more and more that its not home. And I feel so overwhelmed.
When I have been only 3 months living without certain things, why is it so strange and overwhelming to live with these things again. Its really strange to wake up at 4 am and use a real toilet, and it flushes, rather than having to wake up at 4 am and put shoes on and grab a flashlight to go outside and squat in the dirt. Its strange to have a refrigerator, and then to open it have so many options staring at me, when before we almost had the same thing nearly every meal. Its weird to see empty streets. I mean, yeah, they are filled with cars driving, but they look so empty because everyone in Kenya walks, they were crowded with people talking, laughing, arguing, negotiating market prices, and kids yelling “Mzungu!” The feeling of community and being social is so different. Its weird to go to a faucet and have running water in the bathroom and in the kitchen, where before we went to the well to wash our dishes, and to fetch water for bathing and washing clothes. A washing machine, really? After 3 months, I was just getting good at washing clothes by hand, without the neighbors making giggles at us, and my hands were starting to not get raw and scabbed anymore. I am just overwhelmed. Its tough to see how different the people are, especially the children. In Kenya, the kids respected and obeyed any elder. They were polite, didn’t ask questions, they just did what they were told, and just did things that needed to be done. Unfortunately, the children there are forced to grow up too fast and take on a lot of responsibility. But they are so grateful and excited for just a small piece of candy, they get so excited over a new pencil, and its not even colorful or pretty, they laugh and giggle and enjoy the quick 30 second ride in a vehicle down to the gate and back. They just glow with what kids here would most of the time consider nothing. It’s tough to keep my mouth closed after coming home and seeing some of the kids here. I won’t let myself get started on a big rant about that. But they just seem to expect the world to revolve around them. But these kids in Kenya, that I fell so deeply in love with, they know the world doesn’t revolve around them, most of them feel like the world knows not a thing about them, and even if they did, they probably wouldn’t give them a second look. These kids have been orphaned, lost their parents, or left abandoned, and no one else would take them. They don’t expect much from the world. Five, six, seven year olds have learned to take care of themselves, they wake themselves up for school, they do their homework, they wash out their only school uniform, and they don’t expect much from anyone. But I learned from these kids. They have hope, and they strive. They seek their emotional and physical needs to be met by the Father. And they know that everything they have is from Him. OH how they love to lift up their sweet voices and sing to Him. They may not know much about this God-man, and they don’t know many stories about this “Jesus guy”, and they couldn’t tell you but maybe a handful of stories from the Bible, BUT they know He is God, He is Lord, He is the ONE they can run to His arms. And they pray. Man can they pray. He is all they’ve got. But He is all that they need. He is all that I need.
He is all that I need! When I am overwhelmed rather here or there, He is all I need. When I am overwhelmed, I can go to Him. And I know in Him, I can find peace for my soul. The last few weeks in Kenya, Tim and I were so excited to get back to the US. We talked about all the American food we wanted to eat, we talked about how awesome it would be to take a shower, we were excited to celebrate holidays and to spend time with our families. But now we are here. And all I can feel is overwhelmed and a little gloomy. And I feel selfish. So so selfish. Tim shared with the youth Sunday school class yesterday how he was kind of feeling. He said that when he thinks about going back to Kenya, part of him wants to go, and another part of him wants to just stay here. When he thinks about why he wants to stay “home” the reasons are all selfish, such as he wouldn’t be sick as much, better healthcare, better food, Tennessee football and basketball, of course being with family, and other conveniences and comforts. And the reasons he wants to go, he fell in love with God’s will and His people, he wants to go back because that is where is heart is deep down, because that is where God has led us and placed a passion in our hearts, and He has opened our eyes to see way more than we imagined. There is so much more work to do there than we could have imagined. Work that money can’t buy. Heart to heart, building relationships, loving, and teaching the Truth type of work. We prayed that God would give us his eyes, open or eyes to see what he sees, we prayed that he would give us his heart for the broken and forgotten, and we prayed that we would be obedient to live this life for Him, and He defiantly opened our eyes to things that really seemed to matter, he gave us his heart for the broken and forgotten, and we have the desire to be obedient. But it still doesn’t make things so easy.
So those days when we grew tired and weary, those days where we felt homesick and missed this old life, we just need to enter in His presence, He is all we need. He fills our cup with the best, he fills it with love, perseverance, energy, comfort, and peace! I might have been craving a starbucks coffee in my cup, but I know that what He will fill my cup with is so much sweeter. And now that we are “home” and I realize that it isn’t really home anymore, really neither here, nor Kenya is home, but home is where ever and whenever I am with my Father. With Him, I am always home. And one day that will be in Heaven. But now that we are back in Tennessee, I filled my cup with coffee, I filled it up with things I thought I was craving, but the cravings were still there. And really, all I was craving was to be home with HIM. I think I got so busy working and serving, that I forgot to just spend time with Him. I was craving my cup to be filled with Him, again, and again, and again. I just want Him. I just want His life for me. No matter what it is. Because here or there, Home will always be with Him. And He will always be the one to fill my cup.
Today I meditate on this Psalm, and He fills me up. He comforts me. He lets me know He is with me. I know He loves me. I read it over, and over, and over again. And it makes me smile to know that He knows me, everything I do, everything I say, and everything I feel. And He has plans laid out for me.
1 You have searched me, Lord,
and you know me.
2 You know when I sit and when I rise;
you perceive my thoughts from afar.
3 You discern my going out and my lying down;
you are familiar with all my ways.
4 Before a word is on my tongue
you, Lord, know it completely.
5 You hem me in behind and before,
and you lay your hand upon me.
6 Such knowledge is too wonderful for me,
too lofty for me to attain.
7 Where can I go from your Spirit?
Where can I flee from your presence?
8 If I go up to the heavens, you are there;
if I make my bed in the depths, you are there.
9 If I rise on the wings of the dawn,
if I settle on the far side of the sea,
10 even there your hand will guide me,
your right hand will hold me fast.
11 If I say, “Surely the darkness will hide me
and the light become night around me,”
12 even the darkness will not be dark to you;
the night will shine like the day,
for darkness is as light to you.
13 For you created my inmost being;
you knit me together in my mother’s womb.
14 I praise you because I am fearfully and wonderfully made;
your works are wonderful,
I know that full well.
15 My frame was not hidden from you
when I was made in the secret place,
when I was woven together in the depths of the earth.
16 Your eyes saw my unformed body;
all the days ordained for me were written in your book
before one of them came to be.
17 How precious to me are your thoughts,[a] God!
How vast is the sum of them!
18 Were I to count them,
they would outnumber the grains of sand—
when I awake, I am still with you.
19 If only you, God, would slay the wicked!
Away from me, you who are bloodthirsty!
20 They speak of you with evil intent;
your adversaries misuse your name.
21 Do I not hate those who hate you, Lord,
and abhor those who are in rebellion against you?
22 I have nothing but hatred for them;
I count them my enemies.
23 Search me, God, and know my heart;
test me and know my anxious thoughts.
24 See if there is any offensive way in me,
and lead me in the way everlasting.