Saturday, April 24, 2010

faith like a child

Do you think of yourself as someone who makes good plans? God is not like us, He is perfect in the plans He makes. Philippians 1:6

We went to the equator, in the hottest van ever. the inside temperature said it was over 100 degrees, don't know if it was accurate but it was HOT. well worth the sweaty 4 hr. drive to be in two hemispheres at once.

Produce section of central market in Jinja. This place is beyond crazy. This pace literally has EVERYTHING here, from shoes to dresses, to handmade skirts, to blankets to dried ants, grasshoppers, and smelly fish. It's overwhelming and crowded, a true Ugandan adventure, you know?

A few weeks ago i heard a sermon about how we should be living out our faith. That often times Christians are so busy telling people what they are doing wrong, and condemning them. We forget about loving, about living out a life that makes people envy what you have, what you know, what you understand He has done for you. I haven't lived a life like that, not for an extended period of time. The qualities of a "good person" are formed by each individual as they grow up. People who have messed up big time, shamed their parents or community in one or many ways. It takes a long time for people to forget things. Past mistakes, the way someone has lived, often shapes the way an individual is perceived by everyone around them. Some people know bits and pieces or your story, and have judged you on that, some know everything and still love you. What i do know is this: i have a God who loves me completely perfectly, who doesn't dwell on what i have done, but instead, "As far as the east is from the west, So far has He removed our transgressions from us." Psalms 103:12. He does not love me less when i fall short, instead He picks me up. He continues a work in me that much of the time i don't understand. He uses the things i have been through to reveal to me just how much i need Him, just how much i don't deserve His grace, but he gives it to me anyway. He sees not what i was or have been, but instead how He sees how He will use these things to grow my faith. While everyone else only sees bits and pieces of my life, God sees the finished product. He knows where i will end up, how i will serve Him. He knows where i fall short, where i will continue to fall short, but still He loves me. It's difficult to understand a love like this, a pure and unconditional love. A Father's love that is so strong you can't screw up enough to have Him love you any less.

I'm writing this on my last day in Uganda. With everything God has a plan, it says so in Jeremiah 29:11. He knows the plans He has for us. Trusting His plan is not easy, Faith in general is not easy. I would be lying if i said it has ever been easy to believe in someone i can not physically see, believing in the love He has for me. If i told you there was a man sitting next to you and you looked over and there wasn't you would take me for a fool, would you not? I like to know things, not to just believe, i like to have proof not just faith. But see, He doesn't work like that. Our God is too big for that, He is far too complex for us to completely comprehend. That's where the faith part comes in. Believing in what is unseen. He's really not unseen if you take the time to look around is He? In how intricate the world has been pieced together, in how He works things out.

James 1:27 "Religion that God our Father accepts as pure and faultless is this: to look after orphans and widows in their distress and to keep on self from being polluted by the world."
To be in the world but not of the world. To serve and honor Him by loving those He loves. That is what i want with my life. I've always stayed lukewarm, afraid of what i would be giving up. Afraid of being mocked, being that "crazy Christian". I'm okay with that more so than ever. I know my life will look a little crazy, maybe really crazy from this point forward. I'm excited for crazy. I'm excited to live under God's plan for me rather than the plans i have made. 3 months ago, before i came to Uganda, i expected to definitely come back with a new mindset, to come back more grateful for everything i have. I didn't expect this. I didn't expect to have my world turned upside-down. I didn't expect God to call me back to Uganda as a forever home. I don't know what it will look like exactly, how He will use me. I don't want this to be my life, i don't want to hear about me doing "good things", but i want to honor my God in how i live my life. I want people to see what i'm doing and to think i'm nuts. I want people to wonder why i'm doing what i'm doing. I want to love because He first loved me, and to give Him the credit for anything good i accomplish in this life. Because without Him, without trying to understand His love, i wouldn't be capable of that.

I leave Amani a 2am tomorrow morning. Last days anywhere are always bittersweet. Excited to see my family, and friends. Not excited to leave my 2nd home. Not excited to leave my kids behind, my Ugandan Moms. But this is His plan and not mine, He loves these kids, and these Ugandan woman more than i ever could. It's easier to leave a place knowing who's in control of it.

Be back in the US in a little over 48 hrs.

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