Kenyan Reflections (Part 1) – Matters of the Heart

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I sing a love song over you, come and join the melody…..

I wont lie, I’ve been putting this off for quite a while, but it’s time to sift through some of the lessons that I have gleaned from this trip. I want to first write about what God has personally showed me on this trip. How He has both healed and challenged my heart. Before I left, I knew God was going to teach me about love; mainly about recieving love.

Challenge #1: How do you survive a trip halfway around the world, with people you don’t know, and not once let your guard down? Simple…..you survive. You face the struggle daily of masking the massive mess of emotions inside of you. You daily build another layer around your heart, so that no one can see that your heart is breaking. Before I left on this trip, I was faced with the choice to survive or to thrive. While I was in Kenya, I daily was faced with that choice. Today am I going to survive or thrive? I won’t lie, I often bounced between the two.

You cannot have an emotionally healthy experience on a trip like this if you merely choose to survive. Allowing myself to thrive was one of the most terrifying experiences, but I would have been such a mess by the time I came home had I not done so. I didn’t unfold to everyone, which is good, but God placed some amazing people in my life on that trip who were able to see me unguarded and open. For the first time (in a very long time) I was able to be vulnerable and feel safe doing so. To have my feelings validated and not dismissed was wonderful. To have someone simply listen and not try to fix you is a beautiful and most healing thing.

Now that I’m home, I’m still faced with the choice to survive or thrive. We all are daily faced with that choice. What will you choose?

Challenge #2: When you’ve been abused there is a process that will happen in your heart. It’s more or less put like this: Everyone has a fence with gates around their heart. During the abuse, the inflow and outflow looks like such: good is kept out, bad is let in. Once you begin the healing process you lock all gates, and nothing good or bad goes in or out. You are empty. Then, as you gradually begin to heal, you start to let the good in. That is a very shortened and un-detailed version of the process, but it’s enough to get an idea.

Before this trip I was majorly stuck between having all gates locked and letting in the good. I was sitting outside at Joy CDC, my 2nd day in Malindi, and heard God say, “Heather, It’s time to open the gate. I’m not asking you to fling it wide open, I just want you to crack it open today, and let me love you, let one person today love you.” I opened the gate, not very far, but it left me forever changed.

Oh how I had depraved myself of so much life! How I had let myself become so poor in spirit by neglecting my need for relationships (See other post “Tempted to Love”). But I truly believe I had to let myself be depraved before I could truly see the beauty of what a God-honoring and God-centered friendship looks like. Before I could see the beauty of what it’s like when someone loves you out of the overflow of God’s love for them. So I could truly start to embrace the love that God has for me.

The last day I was able to sit poolside under the Kenyan sunrsie, my devotional had my verse from recovery in it. Jeremiah 31:3 &4 “I have loved you with an everlasting love, with unfailing love I have drawn you to myself. I will rebuild you, O Israel. You will again be happy and dance merrily with tambourines.” It’s my time to be happy and dance again. To go out and be among the joyful. To no longer deprave myself of the longings for relationships. To not be afraid to love and be loved. To once again be able to bless others from the overflow that comes from being loved by Jesus. It’s time to finally sing along with the love song that has been sung over me from the beginning of time.

My voice has joined the melody……will yours?

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