Thursday, May 31, 2012

Mark Twain's inspirational quote

This is overquoted, but, it's true:

"Twenty years from now you will be more disappointed by the things that you didn't do than by the ones you did do. So throw off the bowlines. Sail away from the safe harbor. Catch the trade winds in your sails. Explore. Dream. Discover."

This includes kissing a giraffe (if you're friends with me on Facebook, or if you've been looking at my other blog, then you already know and are probably rolling your eyes at the overpostage of this picture)
Giraffes have antiseptic saliva, fun fact.

Sunday, May 27, 2012

Taking the plunge

I stood at the edge of the diving platform.
Fear gripped me.
I peered over the edge, down the 20-foot-drop into the pool.
From up here, it looked more like a 100-foot drop.
This was the high dive.
I froze.
I started to make the motion to jump, but I found I could not heedlessly plunge into the depths.
I was shown up by a 6-year-old boy.
"Watch out! Are you gonna go?", he asked.
I not-so-reluctantly let him go in front of me.
He ran and jumped gleefully down into the water.

It has been a while since I've been apprehensive of doing something like that. I'm usually more of a daring type. …maybe I AM getting old!

I couldn't bring myself to step out over the water.

I eventually did take the plunge, but I couldn't understand my hesitance and inability to jump.
Why did I hesitate? Common sense told me that the water was below, plenty deep enough, and all I had to do was jump out.

I did, and it was awesome!

Sometimes faith is a lot like that.

I know there are plenty of analogies about taking "leaps of faith", but this was one of the first times I recently had a fear-type reaction to something I knew was safe.
It was a very real visual. 

Tuesday, May 22, 2012

Going without a Bible

I went without my Bible for a few days.

Woah now, before you start judging, (I know that I'm in Africa and I'm supposed to be a light)

I still read the Bible, I just didn't have my copy.
I had left it behind by accident at the Mission. I wasn't able to retrieve it for a few days.

Even though I was able to find another Bible to borrow for a bit, it wasn't the same. I'm used to how my Bible feels, I can find well loved passages so easily, the pages fall open right to them.

I have had my little purple Bible since 2008. I know to most people that's not a long time, but four years is a good chunk of time when you're 19. It's over 1/5 of my life!

I have done much growing of both the physical and spiritual sort while I've had this Bible.

I was so happy to have it back!

I know that the word of God is the word of God and regardless of how it's delivered, it can make an impact.

But I don't quite know, there is something so comforting about having a copy of His manuscript that you know the ins and outs of, that contains scribbles of dates and sermon notes in the margins, that has highlighted sections and color coded sections, too.

This Bible has seen a lot of wear and tear. It has held up rather well.
There is a quote that pops into my mind when I see a tattered Bible:

"A bible that is falling apart is a sign of someone who's life isn't."

I might add…or a sign of someone who doesn't know how to take care of their things.

But I use and love my Bible. It is marked UP, I tell you. Once, I decided to delve into Philippians and Ephesians using a color coding system. That section of my Bible is rainbow-colored.

My life definitely has its ups and downs.

If I didn't have God's word to cling to, I know that my life would most likely be in shambles.

I would have had a nervous breakdown by now.
I wouldn't be good to be around. 

Praise God for His word!

It reminded me that there are many out there who need their own copies of God's manuscript. I've heard of the persecuted countries, where people have just a few pages that they treasure. Or they do their best to memorize chunks of scripture.
Or, worse yet, they don't have the Word in their language!

Definitely sobering.

Sunday, May 13, 2012

An Illustration Most Pertinent

I was listening to a sermon, and I loved to remember this truth:
When a child is first learning to walk, her parents don't scold unmercifully. When she falls down, the parent doesn't yell, "What are you doing?!? You're a failure of a child!! You can't even walk!" 
No, no. The parent encourages, arms outstretched to receive their baby.

It's the same with God. As we grow spiritually, He is not berating us and condemning us. He's encouraging. He loves unconditionally.
 What a fantastic thing to remember. God is on your side.

Friday, May 11, 2012

Overflowing with His goodness

LORD, you have assigned me my portion and my cup,
You have made my lot secure.
The boundary lines for me have fallen in pleasant places,
Surely I have a delightful inheritance.
Psalm 16:5

Oh, the joy!
I LOVE IT when I read a passage of scripture and it speaks to me (as funny as that terminology, "speaks to me" sounds…I've grown up in church, so I speak rather fluent Christian-ese.)

This past week, I have been concentrating on Psalm 16. There are so many wonderful truths to be gleaned from this chapter.

I'm stuck on it, I can't get over it! I've been reading the chapter for the last few days, and every time I read it, something new sticks out to me.

As I read it, I felt convicted and challenged. As I read, I also felt, joy, security, and encouragement.

"You have assigned me my portion and my cup"

If I believe that God has given me what I have: my circumstances, my abilities, my possessions; then it should be enough.
I should be content, buuuut, I have a tendency to look around and see other people's potential and gifts. Sometimes, I find myself breaking the 10th commandment (NO coveting!)
God has given me what I have as a gift!

"You have made my lot secure"
I have a confession (which I'm insecure to make, ha!): I sometimes struggle with insecurity.
Like the Superchic[k] song (One and Lonely):
Sometimes I have good days and it's good to be me
Sometimes I get the best of insecurity
And it's quite alright to be the one and only
But today I feel like the one and lonely

 I want to be competent, good enough, accepted, well-liked, etc, etc.
I'm on the side of people-pleasing in order to get kudos.
God makes my lot secure. That statement relaxed me. It was like taking a deep breath of fresh air.
God has given me perfect security in Him, and that gives such joy!

"The boundary lines for me have fallen in pleasant places"

I have been blessed by parents who gave me solid boundaries as I grew up. I am not sure how many kids like to admit it, but boundaries are really great.
...And no, I'm not brainwashed.
If you haven't realized how good it was that your parents gave you boundaries, I pray that someday you do and that you thank them.

Boundaries act as a fence, keeping bad things OUT and good things IN.

As I'm getting older, I'm having to figure out what my personal boundaries are. This involves a lot of prayer, reading the Word, and being sensitive to the Spirit.

There have been times when I have KNOWN that something is outside of my boundaries, even though to other people, it's totally fine.
It's like the Holy Spirit is telling me, "No, no, no! Don't even mess with that!"
There have been times that I've listened, and I've been so blessed!
…but there are times when I don't listen. I try to reason it out, tell myself that what I'm about to do isn't so terribly bad…and oh boy, do I pay for it. Once you have the Spirit of God living in you, as soon as you do something that you know is wrong, it eats you up!
Boundaries are for protection, and God is going to make sure that they are PLEASANT. 
Another thing noted: if God didn't give boundaries, we couldn't be secure.

"Surely I have a delightful inheritance"

An inheritance!
God promises it to those who are surrendered to Him.
I think of an inheritance as something to look forward to, and the big inheritance will come when my race of life is run.
There are promises that God is already fulfilling now. Comfort, peace, love, joy, fulfillment… He meets every desire. I mean, if that isn't delightful enough! On top of this, He promises unfathomable things…things that I am excited to see someday when I finish my work here on earth.

This has been rambling, but as I was reading Psalm 16 (again! I can't get enough of it!) I had these thoughts pop into my mind, and I decided to type them out. Perhaps I will eventually proofread these ramblings.

There are so many more nuggets of goodness in this chapter, I can't get over it.

Sunday, May 06, 2012

An Almost Proposal

I have been semi-proposed to before. It was an awkward experience, to be proposed to by a total stranger in a supermarket (if you don't believe me, well, it happened)
Well, tonight, I had a similar experience. It was a funny experience to me, I got a laugh afterwards at this guys method of cross-examining me.

I was at the café downtown, hoping for some good internet. It worked off and on for a bit, and then it just went kaput.

It was gone
I tried for a good portion of 30 minutes to get it to work, but it was a server issue rather than my computer. The waiters tried to repair the connection to no avail. So I packed up.
I was waiting by the door for my ride when the power went out.

I was clutching my bag.
I could see a figure approaching me in the light that came from the fading light outside.
"Good evening", the figure said.
"Good evening", I replied
Figure: "The generator will work in a moment."
The lights turned on and I saw one of the employees standing before me. His name tag read Jean Louis.
Jean Louis: so you have come to use the internet? I am sorry it did not work well.
Me: Oh, it worked for a bit, thank you. I really wish it had let me finish uploading posts and allowed me talk more to my family.
JL: Your family? Is it in America?
Me: Yes. All in America.
JL: where? What state?
Me: North Carolina? Have you heard of it?
JL: North…Caro-lin hmm
Me: gesturing by making an outline of a map of the USA. It's in the southeast. In the summer there, it is warm like it is here. It's a nice state.
JL: Mm. I see. What is your name?
Me: It's Makenzie. I see that you're Jean-Louis. 
JL: MMkenzi?
Me: Like mugenzi, haha, you know? Makenzie.
JL: Ah, so your name is Kirundi? Only one name? No last name?
Me: Uhm… just Makenzie
JL: Strange. Where do you live here?
Me: Ummm, it's close, but I couldn't tell you exactly. You know, I'm not the greatest with directions.
JL: you should tell me so I can come to see you. You would receive me?
Me: Oh! Um, well, lately I have been gone away most of the day from the place I am staying. I'm usually very busy. But uh, I'll be back by the coffee shop again sometime.
JL: Ah. Why are you here and not in America?
Me: Well, I'm here for a few months to volunteer at a school and wherever there is help needed… and to learn about the culture and pick up a few languages hopefully. Kirundi is hard!

JL: You are a teacher! What school? Are you teaching at University?
Me: ha, not at university. I'm just helping with little children at a school in Kigobe, called Discovery School.
JL: You teach Sunday School?
Me: I have taught some in the United States! I love it. But here, I haven't taught Sunday school. Do you go to church around here?

The conversation continues and we discuss churches, both here and in the USA. It turns out he goes to church…though I don't know the name of it. He says that he has been born again and that he has a vision of someday going to university, but first that he must work. He seemed like a legit believer. I was impressed with his vision, and encouraged him by reminding him that God does supply every need, but it is good for us to put forth effort, recalling that the apostle Paul being a tentmaker...

JL: you are right. It is good to work and not to beg for money.
I nodded in affirmation and smiled.
there was a pause…
JL: May-Ken-Si, I love you.
Me:… umm, why, thank you.
JL: Right now, I don't have the resources, but maybe we can someday…

I start to tune him out at this point. I am feeling so awkward at this moment, because well, the L-word is something I am not used to throwing around...

At this moment, my ride walks in. OH WHAT WONDERFUL TIMING!
The timing of my ride was just providential.
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