I apologize for the long delay in writing but we've been having to much fun with Marlin's mom being here. She is loving Kenya and we're loving her. We picked her up in Nairobi last monday evening and were home in Kisumu by Tues evening. Saturday we took her to the animal market, which isn't what you're thinking. No live animals, just ones carved out of soapstone. All kinds of things to tempt a pocketbook and a true cultural experience. Sunday she experienced a Kenyan church service and a drunk man who decided to "speak up" during church. She also visited Hadassah's grave, which was hard for both of us. Today she went with Marlin and Caleb to Tenwek. One of the Kenyan women needed a check up on the hip she had broken and i'm sure it'll be a bit emotional for mom to see where Hadassah was born. I stayed home. Just couldn't get myself to face the pain of going back.
Last Friday was Hadassah's due date and it feels like my heart's been crying ever since. It ripped the pain open again. Emily gave me a sweet card on Friday about how much she's hurting that we don't have Hadassah to hold. I cried over that but it kind of felt like i was holding the pain at bay. I didn't want to let go and really cry until today i put on some music and what came on? Songs of heaven. Finally the tight ball of pain in my heart is releasing and along with it i'm allowing the tears to give my heart and spirit cleansing. I miss Hadassah, i long to be loving and snuggling with her but i'm at peace.
But i have a burden burning in my heart. That burning in my heart today is something that Marlin preached on recently. Remember the rich young man who came to Jesus? One thing kept him from eternal life. ONE thing! He wasn't willing to give up his riches. Marlin preached that if there's one thing we aren't willing to surrender to the complete Lordship of Jesus Christ we will walk away sorrowful. Only one thing will not only keep us from peace and joy on earth, it will keep us away from eternal life. I'm not talking about our stumblings, our struggles or when we fall and get back up again, i'm talking about a clear area in our life where we simply can't let go. It might be something clearly wrong, like a violent temper, lust, emotional purity, or what have you, but it's also good things. I want or feel called to do something but the door isn't opening.......if i hang on insisting that this IS God's will no matter what, where does that put me eventually? I've been tested in the past and even now I'm being tested.
I'm convinced that the only way to abundant life is a radical and total throwing ourselves on the altar. Only through that complete surrender will we be given the strength to rise above our human nature and to walk in abundant life. To lay EVERY single desire, longing, heartache at the foot of the cross and say "Jesus, it's all yours, take it and do with me what you will."
Saturday evening i sensed something was between Jesus and myself. I searched my heart for sin, but found nothing. And then i knew what it was. Ever since moving i have placed "culture" above Jesus. Kenyan culture, church culture, compound culture. I'm not from AMA background and our church at home functions a bit differently than the church here. I didn't want to offend so i shut my mouth, choosing to not do anything but "fit in." I didn't do it intentionally but it happened. And it cost me my sweet relationship with Jesus. He has been clearly walking with us, and through Hadassah's death God's hand was over us, sheltering us with love. But deep in my heart i sensed i was missing a power, a something sweet.....indefinable. I've struggled with intense discouragement and a quiet depression since the day i stepped off the plane in Nairobi. The Holy Spirit, ever faithful, opened my eyes that evening and i repented of my pride and my fear of man. That sweet peace came flooding back, that pure love and worship of Jesus. I want, i LONG to care more about Him than i do about any culture. What does it mean? Probably not a whole lot outwardly but inside it means everything. It means i will stop going, "what will people think, or what if it offends" and will once again start going, "Jesus, i will do whatever you ask, even if it makes me look a fool." Jesus doesn't care so much about our comfort zones, He cares about a relationship. The kind of relationship that has a childlike trust, our eyes on Him and not on what's around us. I'm trembling a bit inside, knowing i'll be tested, but more than the fear is deep, deep joy and worship.
He loves me and i love Him. I need nothing more.