Monday, August 31, 2009

Sometimes... sometimes...

God is faithful.
God is loving.
God is just.

God is kind.

God fulfills.
God satisfies.

God provides.

God is good— all the time.

I believe these statements with all of my heart.

But sometimes... sometimes I subconsciously begin to believe other things, different things.
Like, God won't actually provide for my needs. Or, I deserve to have certain things in my life, and something's wrong if I don't. Or, I'm holier than my friend over there because I'm poor, and I need God more desperately than he does. Or, there is a part of me that can never be fully satisfied until I have a man in my life.

I know these aren't true, and when I read them, I'm ashamed that I actually can believe such ludicrous statements.

But I have.

It's hard to be single. Right now I feel that I'm standing at the edge of a vast Savannah, like the one in the picture above, staring through those spyglasses, hoping beyond hope to see marriage somewhere on the horizon. Blast. Still no man. But I believe that God satisfies, and that God fulfills, and that when He says, "No good thing will I withhold from those who walk uprightly," that He actually means it.

It's hard to be poor. I took another hard look at my finances this weekend and realized, once again, that my income is hardly sufficient for my expenses, let alone ample enough lay a solid foundation in business. Add to this failing equipment and International travel? Holy cow. Hard spot. But again, I believe that God is faithful, and God provides, and that He is good— all the time.

So today, as I look through those lenses and survey my life and squint to view the horizon, I'm looking at God instead of searching for something else. Because my hope is found in my unchanging God, the one who Is who He says He Is.

Friday, August 21, 2009

New Rings

Two days ago my mother came into my office, practically skipping with delight. She giddily announced that Dad was taking her ring shopping. They've been married for 25 years. Mom's ring was getting smaller, and Dad wore his ring down to the point that it snapped off.

I think it's a beautiful thing when a marriage outlasts its' rings. I think it's even more beautiful that my parents are far more in love today than they were twenty-five years ago.

They are incredible examples to me. Their love finds it's strength, it's foundation, and it's application in the Gospel of Christ. They daily live out the verse, "We love because He first loved us."

Thursday, August 20, 2009

Ummm... why?

I woke up this morning with a headache after dreaming all night of being chased by Somalian pirates, and I asked myself, "Why?"

I walked out my bedroom door and felt heat and humidity, this early in the day, inside, and asked myself, "Why?"

I sat on the couch in my office and stared at a Starbucks Kona mug full of decaf coffee, and asked myself, "Why?"

I took my anti-Malaria medication and watched my skin follow it's usual 45-minute routine of red, blotchy, sun-burned-feeling-ness, and asked myself, "Why?"

I sat down and thought about the fact that I have two blogs with virtually the same information, and asked myself, "Why?"

This is an advanced notice: someday (sooner rather than later), girlfullyalive will merge with ampersandphoto. Watch out, world.

Wednesday, August 19, 2009

Sorting through Kenya

Sunrise over the Indian Ocean, Mombasa, Kenya

I'm sitting cross-legged on a red couch in my basement office, staring out a glass door at bright green grass and cool green trees. We're entering my favorite season— just between summer and fall, when all of the trees turn darker shades and sigh with contentment and satisfaction, as if to say, "We are finished. It has been a good year." Just after this they begin to change colors, and then Fall is officially upon us. But not yet.

I'm sorting through Kenya, as I sit on this red couch and contemplate the changing of seasons. Sorting through pictures. Sorting through memories. Sorting through experiences. Sorting through the things that come next.

It's all good. And there is more to come.

Tuesday, August 11, 2009

Jet lagged?

tired. excited. inspired. overwhelmed. watching. loving. never giving-up-ing. motivated. frustrated. longing. finding.

lost in the bigness, startled by the smallness.

stronger than I thought but not as strong as I think.

"And the peace of God which passes all understanding..." is not received in vain.

Sunday, August 09, 2009

Tei smiled

There is a boy that I met. His name is Tei. He has shy brown eyes, a sweet smile, and a heavy heart.

Last Sunday, I saw Tei smile. Not just play at a smile, or put on a cheesy grin for the camera. I saw his face explode in sunshine and unaffected happiness, and it made me want to cry.

Tei's mother died in childbirth when Tei was five. His father was a pastor, with a heart for men and women with deceived minds and enslaved hearts, and worked with prostitutes and Rastafarians. The family lived and worked in the Muslim quarter, and though their neighbors disliked Tei's father for his Christianity, he was too outspoken and too well-liked elsewhere for them to do anything against him.

That is, until December 2007. As the country erupted in political unrest and tribal conflict, his enemies took advantage of him. They severely beat him with sticks and a blunt machete and left him for dead. As he lay there, his life blood pouring out of him, he cried out for Jesus and for his children, but because of the unrest and confusion of the times, no one stopped to hep him, and he died by the side of the road.

And Tei was left an orphan.

Tei attended Mikindani Royal Kids School during preschool and kindergarten, but after his mother's death, the commute to the school was too much of a burden on his family, so he was moved to a school closer to home. When his father died, however, Ngao & Grace took him in, since they were very close friends with his father.

His mother's death was difficult enough, but after his father's brutal murder, he completely withdrew into himself. He froze up— emotionally, mentally, physically, developmentally. He is slow in learning, and his body is seems more like that of a 7-year-old, not a ten-year-old. His emotional pain has impacted most areas of his life. Ngao, Grace, and the teaching staff have worked hard with him, showering love and kindness on him, and he is coming out of himself, little by little.

Last Sunday we took all of the boarding students to the beach to swim in the Indian Ocean. Tei's face was all sunshine and pure joy. He laughed as if the entire world was at his fingertips. He was completely lost in the wonderfulness of that moment, and nothing else in life mattered.

There are few things as beautiful or as precious as watching pain literally wash away as the waves washed over his little body. I think that whenever I hear the phrase, "sheer bliss," this day will come to mind.

There is a boy that I met. His name means "God's mercy." He has shy brown eyes, a sweet smile, and a heavy heart. But I watched Tei become a picture of "God's Mercy." And it was beautiful.

Saturday, August 08, 2009

And I am home

I'm sitting in the departures terminal of the BWI airport, waiting for my family to pick me up. I'm alone, and fully enjoying these few minutes of quiet reprieve to process and just... be. The next several days will be nothing short of non-stop storytelling, so I'll enjoy the quiet while I have it.

I can't believe it's over already. It's so surreal. I feel like my time was cut short, and that my heart began to hold on just as it was time to say goodbye.

I wish I could share it all with you.

I want you to experience the aromas of Kenya. The smell that says "Kenya" to me is a difficult scent to describe. It's in the earth itself, I think— it is faint, but with a very distinct trace of spices, though I couldn't tell you which ones. The air is heavy and dry, and full of various smells, both pleasant and unpleasant. But that spicy, ruddy, earthy smell is always present, even amidst smog and pollution, and it intensifies with the rain. Right now, I still smell like Kenya, which makes me glad.

I wish you could hear Kenya. I wish you could wake to the sounds of horns blaring, and water pouring from transport containers to storage containers, people herding their cows and goats through the inner city streets, the Muslim call to prayer, and the beautiful sound of 364 children singing their hearts out to their Savior.

I wish you could see Kenya's beauty— the resilient spirit of her people, the fine, red-brown dirt that seems to stick to everything, the breathtaking mountain ranges that the locals insist on calling hills, the mitatus (taxi vans) driving four cars wide on two-lane roads, the beautiful dark eyes full of so many different emotions, and the faces that are so very distinct from one another.

I wish you could hear the stories, especially of Kenya's children. I wish I could tell you all of the stories that I know, and I wish that I had the time to gather more of them. That, at least, is something that I can share with you. And I will.