The Simple Things

It is becoming a greater reality to us that when we have abundance, what we once appreciated in its novelty becomes the normal and mundane.  The longer we are here in a part of the world that appears to move very slowly through time, the better a peanut M & M tastes; the more enamoring digital clocks, straws, and paper towels seem; the more foreign that drinking water straight from the tap is; the more thankful I am for an oscillating fan in 90 degree heat; and the more I appreciate slow internet for a 5 minute video chat with our family.  

While many of these “things” make life more convenient, efficient and seemingly more enjoyable,  I’m realizing more and more how so much “stuff” becomes a distraction from what the Father wants us to see and know.  

I love experiencing everything in its most simple form.  I hear drums beating, children playing, birds fluttering, and roosters crowing.  When I walk down the road I see livestock and people greeting each other warmly.  I see fresh vegetables being sold by the side of the road and blooming flowers.  Throughout the day I smell incense and roasting coffee wafting in the air.  Sometimes I smell nothing but the still scent from the land.  I can taste the fresh spices and vegetables in every meal and enjoy the sweetness of fruit straight from the tree .  I can feel the rocks and bumpy ground under my feet, the calloused hands of the hard working people who greet me, and the refreshing breeze from the lake.  

The Father has been reminding to take joy in the simple things.  As I watch Esther play with old tin cans and a water spout which she prefers over her bright, colorful toys.  As children of all ages in our neighborhood squeal as they blow and chase after bubbles and kick around a deflating beach ball.  As we sit in a mud house the size of our bedroom, being fed a spread of local food with friends who worked hard to be able to prepare so much for us to eat.

The Father gives us a big picture of Himself in such small things.  He reminds us that He is the creator of all things and we need to w*rship Him, not a person or company.  He shows us that He is enough to give us joy, not the latest technological gadget.  He shows us that He is about real relationships rather than impersonal cyber friendships.  He shows us that He desires for all people to know Him.

The Father blesses and provides for much more than we know.  Let us take notice of even the small things and give Him the thanks and praise He deserves from His children.

Psalm 145:10 

All your works shall give thanks to you, O L*rd, and all your saints shall bless you!



Life as Nomads

I’ve moved at least once a year since I graduated high school, which is pretty ironic considering my mother still lives in the same house I grew up in.  I wonder if we will ever have a house that our children will consider “home” like I did.  Or maybe “Memaw’s house” will be that place.

We are nomads.  We have lived out of our suitcases for the past few months and now, we are living in the Horn of Africa.  We may be here for the rest of our lives, or we might move 20 more times.  We’re learning more and more that wherever we are, it is temporary until we go to be with the Father.  With Him is our permanent residence and while on this Earth we must be ready and available to move wherever and whenever He tells us. Until then, our house is not our own.  It belongs to Him, along with everything else we possess.  We must be good stewards of what we have in order to glorify Him by serving others.

This is difficult for me personally, because I want to go for a run at a certain time.  I want to chill out and watch a movie or take a shower.  But I must be available when someone knocks on our door.  I must forfeit my own plans for the sake of relationships.  A friend of ours who we deeply respect and just moved back to America from the Horn was just sharing a story of how the nationals were always commenting about she needed something to cover the back of her couch.  Finally her friend made her covers and put them on the couch for her.  Her response was not to be frustrated that she was not asked first, but to recognize the house was not hers to begin with, and to allow it if it would make people feel more comfortable in her home.

It’s the American dream to own a home and establish a life in one place, have your kids go to a good school, and put up a white picket fence between you and your neighbors.   I’m not saying it’s wrong to own a house or to have those things, but if you are a follower of JC, you must be willing to share your house with others, putting aside your agenda, and having an open heart and mind to pick up and move if the Father leads.

We put up fences to keep others out, rather than welcoming our neighbors.  We hesitate to move in to an area of town because it doesn’t have the “best schools” or may not be the absolute “safest”.  JC says “foxes have holes and birds have nests, but the Son of Man has no where to lay His head”.  Yet we so often sit comfortably in our cozy little homes in the safest part of town, allowing no one in unless they are invited.  This is not the life that JC led, and I don’t believe it’s what He wants His followers to lead either.

It is not easy, and it requires putting aside all selfish desires and ambitions.  It requires filtering out what the world and culture tells us we should do, and listen more carefully to what JC is telling us to do.  We must put on our shoes, and be ready.