Saturday, August 16, 2008

don't stop 'til you get enough

everywhere i go, everyone i meet, every situation i encounter, there seems to be a lesson to be learned. life lessons just don’t ever stop. as i go through life and things are revealed to me, i seem to bask in the sovereignty of God. all things that i see and learn and experience and love are all from God. God creates it, God brings it to me and God teaches my heart.

you know what brings me an incredible joy? we are all human. different colors, different places, different languages, but what it boils down to is that each one of us is a human and each one of us were created in the image of Someone much greater than ourselves.

last week at our main Suubi meeting, there was a situation that brought this issue of being the same to the front of my mind and heart. i know that cultures are different and the way issues are addressed are different but this situation reminded me that despite cultural differences, we are all human. we all feel. we all hurt. we all cry. we all are confused. we all laugh. we all smile. you can see the frail humanity in the eyes of each person.

somehow all of that led me to thinking of the worth and value of each person. there is so much significance in treating each of these Suubi women like they are worth far more than rubies. to live my days’ showing them the importance of their life is something that is worth far more than my effort.

all of these thoughts led my mind to remember how gentle the revolution is. the Kingdom of God is not spread through power or fame. it’s not spread by doing what’s right and wrong. it’s not spread by being good or bad. it’s not spread my morals. it’s not spread by wealth. it’s spread by the unexplainable strength of loving a person. Jesus made it quite clear that it’s not a forced power that brings the people to His love. it’s a simple and gentle love. it’s the yeast in the bread that starts small and slowly but surely invades the entire loaf. it is like the tiny tiny tiny mustard seed that will eventually take over the entire garden.

there is a time for a holy rage [eg – Jesus upsetting tables] but even in that, it’s a gentle and loving transformation. oh that in all we do we would seek the good.

what would it look like if we spent all of our days seeking the good?
imagine it for a minute.

as john and i visit different women and spend time in walukuba and danida, my heart is overwhelmed with a deep love for these people. to not be here in Uganda right now isn’t an option. as i sit in the ladies homes and roll beads or string necklaces or talk about whatever, i literally can’t help but to just look at them and be amazed. my words will never describe how freaking amazing they are.

can i please speak of their beauty real quick? for real. they are stunning. americas next top model has nothing on these women. there is no make up. there are no fancy clothes. there is no expensive jewelry. there is nothing but a pure and honest beauty. and not only do these women have it going onnnnn on the outside but their hearts are so beautiful as well. i could go on forever.

exciting news! someone in the States donated a large sum of money to Light Gives Heat so that they can have a kiosk in a mall in Colorado in November and December! that’s huge! we all know how crazy most Americans get around the holidays…they can never buy enough. so while i don’t encourage buying a lot, it is super great for the Suubi ladies. their necklaces and stories will be everywhere! it gets me so excited. they deserve it all.

these women are not a ‘cause’ to support. they are not a ‘charity’ to support. they are humans. they live. they breathe. they are my friends. they work hard on these necklaces and they pray hard for ‘market’ in the States. these women are real and dang…they are amazing.

thanks for listening to my words. leave a comment. let me know who you are. i say it all the time but i would really love to know how you’re doing. send me an email sometime, it’d brighten my day!


Sunday, August 10, 2008

you better thank God for that.

“it doesn’t cost a thing to smile.
you don’t have to pay to laugh.
you better thank God for that.
there’s hope.”

what a precious gift it is that the things the matter the most in life are free. family is free. friendships are free. smiling doesn’t cost a thing. laughing isn’t something that requires money.

i see in the lives of the suubi women a hope that’s alive. it’s the kind of hope that forces a person to rise above present circumstances and choose something better. all of these lessons that i’m learning from these women are renovating my heart. i’m learning about what strength can look like and unlike what we’re used to in the United States, i see very clearly any amount of money you have, whatever your social status may be or whatever “look” you may have does not dictate your strength.

there is a suubi woman named margrit and one of her daughters, agnes, had a baby in late july and named it Julie after me. the ladies insisted that i visited my ‘namesake’ and so on Friday morning john and i went to her home to see margrit and her family. as we sat on the floor of her home and talked with her and others, dennis, one of margrit’s sons scurried into the room. after some more conversation, we learn that margrit has 9 children and 4 of them are mentally handicapped. dennis is her youngest handicapped child and words can’t accurately describe how the love for her son seemed to flow out of margrit. as she sat on the floor with her hands clasped tightly around her son in hopes of limiting his energetic outbursts, i just looked at her with such respect and love and awe.

this woman is an incredible picture of what strength has the ability to look like. she has 9 children, 4 of them handicapped. suubi is her only work. her husband lost his job and now digs in the garden. her radiant smile is proof that she has chosen hope. her caring hands show that she understands love. her joyful attitude is evidence that she isn’t going to settle for sadness. i see her rising above a “ho hum” life and choosing hope. hope that infiltrates all areas of life.

i have a quote from shane Claiborne on the mirror in my bathroom that talks about how these gifts that we have and experience are too good to keep to ourselves. i know these blogs that i write are only words on a page but it’s my prayer that somehow they’d give you a glimpse of life here. that you would perhaps see a little bit more clearly that life isn’t all about you and me. it’s about those around us. it’s about giving your heart away. it’s about taking risks to serve others.

i have faith that if we allow the things that really matter in life to invade our lives, we will be different people. i’m definitely not an expert at living out these things but i think it’s worth pursuing…i’m working on it. i hope you’ll join me. i just don’t think God was joking around when he said life wasn’t about us.