While I’m Waiting

It has been a struggle for me to write.  When, I’m not working I would rather relax.  I want to do other things other than sitting down to reflect on the happenings in my life. I will be sending out a new newsletter this week.  If you’d like to receive it be sure to signup here.  Well, I decided that I need to just sit down and reflect and write a blog on some of the happenings in my life. So, that I can not only let you know what is going on. Also, so that I can do a better job of recognizing the works of God in my life.

As I finally sit here reflecting… The song While I’m Waiting by John Waller came to my mind. This is a wonderful song.  The thing that I seem to do the most of in my life is Wait… I think that each of us are waiting for something all of the time.  No matter who we are or what stage of life we are in, we are all waiting for something.  Whether it be the next step, a relationship, a job, a meeting, a new place to live, a new opportunity, anything.  We are all waiting for something. What are you waiting for?

It is what we do in those times of waiting that will affect the outcome of our waiting.  Our waiting can either be active or passive.  In the passive route we resign ourselves to waiting helplessly. We don’t see the need to do something because of a myriad of different reasons.  What is not seen in those times is that there is a different kind of waiting.  A better kind of waiting… Active waiting. This type of waiting is seen time and again in the Bible.  It is the type of waiting that we see from the Psalmist (Psalms 27:14, 37:7-9, 40:1-3).  We see this throughout the history of the Church.  We are in a Kingdom of right now and not yet.  As the apostle John writes, “Beloved, now are we the sons of God, and it doth not yet appear what we shall be: but we know that, when he shall appear, we shall be like him; for we shall see him as he is.” (1 John 3:2)

So, this is my prayer: God, let us see You as You are.  Let us reflect on Your glory, mercy, grace and goodness.  Help me to actively wait.  I know that, I am not capable of doing it on my own.  However, let me never forget, “I can do ALL things through Christ who gives me strength.” Amen.

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Facedown

Well, today is one of the lowest of any day thus far being here. Normally, I try not to get sad or upset about being over here. Generally, it is easy enough to do so. I just stay busy and not think about it. Not think about all of the differences. Not thinking about everything that I have had to give up. Not think about the people who I care so much about. Not because I don’t care about those things or people anymore but because it is just too overwhelming and emotionally draining to do so. So, out of a sense of necessity I stuff my feelings down deep and try to not think about any of it. However, today was different in a number of ways. I actually had time to stop and think. I was even encouraged to think about and talk about the differences for school. They asked me to describe differences between here and where I come from in Kiswahili. The other thing that has triggered my sadness is that today is my sister’s Birthday. So, Happy Birthday to my baby sister! I am extremely thankful for the ability to still call and talk on the phone and communicate with you and everyone else there. Generally, I don’t talk with a lot of people back home. The main reason is that most of the times it brings back the realization that I’m not there with any of you. I’m not able to go have lunch with my mentors. I’m not able to go hang out with my friends late at night. I’m not able to be with my family.

So, today it hit. So, I cried out to God. I cried out saying “I don’t want to be here. I want to go back home.” I cried out asking “Why me? Why did you send me here? Why am I here?” Then, this song came on, Facedown by Matt Redman. As I let the words flow over me then as they are now, I feel His peace and grace covering over me. I feel Him molding my heart to be like His. I feel Him wrapping His loving arms around me. I’m thankful that He allows me to see His glory shine around me. And when that happened, I received such a wonderful sense of peace. When that happened, I was able to fall face-down, but also to get up and dance for joy in worship, in worship of Him; of His love; of His glory; of His peace; of all that He is. His glory shines around. Let your eyes be open. His glory is all around us. His glory is the answer to all of those why questions I was asking. His glory is the answer.

Are there still differences between here and home? Yes! Do I still miss home? Yes! Do I still want to see my family and friends? Yes! Will it still hurt being over here sometimes? I’m sure that it will. However, it is for His glory that I am here. It is for His glory that He called me here. It is for His purpose that I am supposed to be here. He will continue to lead me. He faced trials and struggles when He came to this world, probably many of them were the same. Many of them were more severe and trying than any I want to face. However, He went through them. So I know that He is able to lead me through them as well. I know that He is with me, and that is what is comforting me right now. So be filled with His peace and comfort.

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All For You

I am sitting on my porch, watching the rain roll in.  Every so often the sky lights up with flashes of lightning in the distance.  It is wonderful to see His Majesty.  I am listening to Phil Wickham’s All For You.  This is such a simple and sweet song.  Because of where I am it is hard not to be reminded of when the Psalmist says “The heavens declare the glory of God; the skies proclaim the work of his hands.”  (Psalm 19:1)

The pitter patter of the rain on my tin roof has begun.  So here I sit in wonder, praising God through song along with the rest of the creation. I want to live out the words of this song.  With everything that is inside of me, I want to love You, to worship You, to live for You, and to give my all for You.  I don’t always do this.  All too often, I feel like Paul when he writes, “I do not understand what I do. For what I want to do I do not do, but what I hate I do.” (Romans 7:15)  It is somewhat a comfort knowing that I am not alone in my struggles.  It is good to know that God can still use me even though I have struggles, just as He used Paul.

Well, the rain has gotten progressively harder so I have moved back into my house.  I am watching the rain accumulate on my windows and the flashes of light that seem to be getting closer. I was planning on writing more, but my power has just gone out.  It is very normal for the power to go out when it is raining like this.  So I am going to post this and go to bed (at about 8, Allpm).

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Letting Go

I apologize for not writing more.  The truth is that I haven’t really wanted to write.  However, I decided that I needed to write something.  There is a song by Jeremy Camp called Letting Go.

I decided that I would write about my life in light of this song.  As you can tell by the title of the song it is about letting go.  The first thing in the chorus that Jeremy talks about letting go of is “the things that I hold so dear.”  This line has been on my mind a lot.  I feel like I have let go of the things that I hold so dear (Read You Can Have Me).   Those things aren’t bad.  They are good, but I have had to let them go.

However, felt like I hadn’t let go of “all my pain and all my fears.”  I didn’t know how to let go of them, until I started writing this blog.  Writing this has helped me to process through things.  I feel like I have let go of my pain and fears through praying about them as I wrote this.

Often times, I am scared because I don’t know what is to come.  I feel like the Israelites, where the trouble that is known seems better than what comes in the unknown.  I know what my life was like back in the US.  I felt safe and wasn’t worried about the future.  I know that the Israelites had a desire to be out of Egypt, but then changed their mind once they got what they wanted.  I also remember the intense longing that I had to be here in Kenya. (I still want to be here.)

However, what has happened to me in a number of cases, and I believe possibly also to the Israelites.  I have prayed for something and wanted it for such a long time that I built up such high expectations and hopes of it.  When God finally said yes, there was no way that it was able to live up to my expectations and hopes.  Unfortunately, that opens the door for disappointment and frustration to creep in.  I have felt that way about a few things in my life.  I know that there probably will be more.  I don’t regret praying for those things or going through the disappointment and frustration that I have felt afterwards.  The truth of the matter is that I am frustrated at myself, or disappointed in myself for having such high expectations and hopes in the first place.  I am not upset at God or anyone else.  I am frustrated and disappointed because I didn’t let go.  I didn’t give it to God… I didn’t lay it at the Cross… I held on to my expectations and hopes.  I held too strongly to what I wanted, and wouldn’t let go.  So that is what I want to do.  I want to let go of my hopes, dreams, desires, and expectations.  I want to give them to God.  I want Him to build them, shape them, and mold them.  Yes, when necessary even destroy them.  I want to let go of my pain and fears.  I want God to remove them.  I want Him to heal me completely.  I want Him to give me His peace and courage.  None of these are one time events. I need to continually let go of my hopes, dreams, desires, expectations, pain and fears.

I remember that I had an intense desire to be here in Kenya.  I remember building up expectations and hopes for my time here.  In some ways, I have been disappointed and frustrated because not all of my expectations and hopes have been realized.  In spite of the fact that I elevated my expectations and hopes of serving over here in Kenya, God still allows me to.  He has enabled me to see glimpses of His Kingdom and they are so sweet.  They make the frustrations and disappointments worth it.  God has also used them to help shape my expectations and hopes.

We need to let go of everything and give it to God.  He wants it ALL, the good, the bad, and the ugly.  He wants us.  We are not perfect, but He is.  We are not worthy, but He is.  He loves us.  He helps us up when we fall.  He wants what is best for us.  He leads us through hard times.  He is always with us.

In Language School there is a devotional each morning.  It is completely in Kiswahili.  I have been leading it on Wednesdays the past several weeks.  This past week marked the time that I have 5 weeks left at Language School.  So I felt led to start a series on Philippians 4:4-9.  So this past week, I spoke on Philippians 4:4, 5.  So, I will leave you with Paul’s words to the church, “Rejoice in the Lord always. I will say it again: Rejoice!”

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You Can Have Me

I have done a lot of rewrites on this post.  I think that even this copy might be too raw, and has the possibility of being misunderstood. So, I didn’t know if I wanted to post it.  As I wrote, I felt that I should post this.  It is my hope that God uses these words to encourage and bless you.

I miss people back home the most when I would normally spend time with them.  For example Friday nights, I miss my family because that was the night that we would have pizza and watch a movie together.  Similarly, on Saturdays I have missed my friends because I used to spend the whole day watching College Football with them.  Every Sunday, I miss my church family at Cumberland.  I miss the meals and late night discussions that I used to have with family, and my friends who became like my family.  I miss being able to pick up my phone and not have to worry about the time difference, or hoping that they would be available to answer my call.  I miss being able to get in my car and go get food at any time. Even though I do have a car, it isn’t safe for me to drive here at night. So, I generally avoid doing it.  I miss the food I used to eat.  These are only some of the things that I have given up in coming here.  These are some of the costs that are counted in me being here.

This is a song by Sidewalk Prophets called You Can Have Me.

I really like this song because it is about surrendering to God. Even though these costs were there when I made the decision to follow God as a child, I didn’t know that God would ask me to give those things up.  I didn’t know that it would cost many things that are very dear to me.  When I was a child making that decision, no one told me that even after that decision my life would have trials, struggles, loss and rejection.  When I looked at those around me who had already made that decision I didn’t see trials, struggles, loss and rejection. I thought that my life would be like theirs.  Now, as time has gone on and I have grown up I understand that everyone faces trials, struggles, loss and rejection. So, my life is in fact a lot like theirs.  Even though my life is not like I thought it would be at that age I wouldn’t change anything.  Every trial, struggle, loss and rejection that I have faced in my life has formed me into the man that I am today.  There are things that I have had to give up to follow the call that God has placed on my life.   The fact that I gave those things up for Him, doesn’t mean that I don’t love those people or things back home.  It doesn’t mean that our time that we spent together was a waste.  None of it is wasted, it is all important.  He uses ALL things, for our good.  I want to say that being here isn’t all bad.  But it is different.

The verse that I have clung to has been Psalm 37:4.  It says, “Delight yourself in the Lord, and He will give you the desires of your heart.”  This verse has a two-fold meaning.  Not only will He place desires in your heart, but He will also provide for them.  He has given me a desire to be here in Kenya.  He has also provided the way for me to be here in Kenya.  My prayer is that we will delight ourselves in the Lord.

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