Monthly Archives: February 2011

Against All Odds

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“My thoughts are not your thoughts, neither are your ways My ways.”

This simple but profound phrase has been the resounding echo in my thoughts this week, and this afternoon culminated to reveal its truth is a very unexpected way.

My heart has longed to travel back to Africa, even though my opportunity to get immersed into the culture was brief on my first visit. It’s an unexplainable longing, one that I couldn’t describe even if I wanted to.

Prior to my trip to in June, I was met with silent opposition from the majority of my extended family. Not having their support was emotionally trying, but my desire to be obedient to my Lord was greater than my desire for comfort; both spiritually and emotionally.

When I returned, I was met with a false interest; which i fully anticipated. I showed pictures and told stories, and was met with forced smiles and attempts at subject change. My heart was convinced that the only way they would understand is if they went, but getting them to go would be like trying to rearrange the continents.

When I returned home for Christmas break, I received a DVD of the pictures from my trip that one of my team members created for us. My Aunt and my “uncle” were with us when we watched it. My Aunt portrayed emotions that I fully anticipated, but it was my “uncle’s” reaction that had me surprised. His eyes were misty and he asked questions out of genuine interest instead of obligation. His next statement left me in utter shock.

“I want to go to Africa.”

My heart was so happy! I don’t remember any of the conversation that followed, due to how in shock I was, but I do remember my thoughts these last few months. My thoughts concerning this matter were filled with worry, doubt, and discouragement.

My “uncle” is not a believer. I kept praying that I would find a way to get him to Africa, but kept running into dead ends.

Last night I emailed my team leaders from my Kenya trip who are now living in Swaziland asking about what to do and if I’d be able to visit them. They said that their organization, Children’s Cup, is bringing two teams down, one in June, the other in October. My heart knew it was the right thing to present before my “uncle” but at the same time I was uncertain. Mainly because I couldn’t figure out how in the world it would work.

I called my “uncle” this morning and he was very excited about the idea of going. He said he really wants to think about it, but whether he’ll say yes or no I’m not sure. He asked me to email the information to my aunt and she would pass it on to him.

My heart sank after those words. I love my aunt dearly, but she was my biggest worry. She was the one who was the least understanding about me going to Africa. I was worried that she wouldn’t be supportive of my “uncle” wanting to go. I was afraid that she wouldn’t forward the information to him, or she would try to convince him not to go. I didn’t see any way around it besides a change of heart on her part; and I admit to thinking that there was no way that it could happen.

This afternoon I received an email from her and it stated:

“Wow!  You really surprised the socks off of some old man from my house!  I think it would be a once-in-a-lifetime experience for him and I know he is going to seriously think about it. 

He said you’d be sending me the information so can you send it to the e-mail address below so I can print it off?  My printer at home isn’t working plus I can print in color if necessary from work.

Thanks.  I’ll look forward to hearing about the trip.”

God used someone who I thought was unusable.

He changed a heart that I deemed unchangeable.

He changed mine.

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Say It Again

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The most memorable moment of 2010 for me was this: the Sunday before I left for Kenya, I was prayed for in front of my church. My father was doing the announcements after, and as soon as I sat down he said, “Yes, that is my daughter. Heather, I’m proud of you.”

That was the first time my father verbally told me he was proud of me. He always said he loved me, but there’s a difference between being told that you are loved and knowing that someone is proud of you. At least there is for me. For the longest time I desperately wanted to believe that my father was proud of me, but due to his silence, I was never sure.

I’ll never forget the tears that fell from my face, or the way my heart was overflowing with love. I’ll never forget the way his words sounded, they still ring in my ears. I long to hear him say it again, even though I now know that he often thinks it. His words made my heart and soul come alive.

Reflecting on this moment I am convicted of two things: one being my silence, the other being the actual words I speak.

I have the opportunity to speak life into everyone that I meet and have relationships with. I often wonder just how much life I am speaking. If I want to, I can have a horribly quick wit and sharp tongue, due to years of building up defenses. If I’m not careful about harnessing it, I won’t be doing anyone any good. Are my conversations God honoring? Do they build up others?

Silence speaks louder than words, or so they say. I believe this to be true to some extent. I often think positive things of people, but never tell them. Of a friend will cross my mind, and I think to give them a call, but then never do. Sometimes I’m even selfish enough to think that thinking of them is good enough, or saying a quick prayer for them is all they need. What would happen if I acted on those promptings? What would happen if I took that step and encouraged someone I may barely know?

I’ve come to believe that although silence may be speak loudly, the right words speak louder. 

My heart is burdened at my lack of edifying the people around me, even when I so vividly remember how four edifying words have changed the last 6 months of my life.