Monday, September 19, 2011

The tug on your t-shirt.

6:04 am. Your alarm goes off. You hit the snooze button.
6:14 am. The alarm persists. You frustratingly look at the ceiling and try to close your eyes and block out all noise. It doesn't work.
You get out of bed and as you pull your bathrobe over your shoulders it's almost like you feel someone tugging at it. But you shrug and continue on with your morning.
Lunch time rolls around and as you're surrounded by crowds of people you feel it again. You think it's peculiar, but many things are peculiar nowadays so you push on and eat your full plate of food, leaving half of the meal on the plate and taking off to your next assignment.
You work all afternoon. You drink bottles of clean water and have the comfort of air conditioning as you drearily complain about the work load or how tired you are, and with every word you speak you feel that tugging again. And again. And again.
You're walking back to your home and as you pull open the front door and think about what you should eat for dinner the pull is so much stronger. It feels like someone tugging at your clothes, trying to get your attention. It's enough that you can ignore it but not enough that you don't notice it.
Because it's there.
You've been around the world.  You've seen many things that people have not had the opportunity to. The images that your eyes have beheld are something that only few get a chance to every venture out and experience firsthand.
And you feel that little hand tugging on your t-shirt. You look down, and there she is.
You remember that face. And as she smiles in a worn-out, old fashioned dress that isn't her size and chases after you with dirty, calloused feet, dust splattered around her face and hair. She still looks up at you and smiles, almost as if she's saying: "Don't forget me, ok?"

I won't forget you.

And there's this other sense you have that someone's not only been following you, but trying to grab your hand. You are a little discomforted, but not put in any physical or emotional pain by this thought.
As you reach for the fridge to get out your dinner he grabs your hand instead.
He won't speak.
He will barely look at you.
He holds your hand. And that's it. That's all he wants.
You look him in the eyes, get down to his level and after many tiring efforts of communication there's a moment where you get him to smile, and when he smiles his eyes light up the world, almost as if the fact that he has no shoes, proper nutrition, or shelter doesn't matter. Because you made him laugh.
He calms down, holds your hand tighter and nervously looks around. When your eyes finally meet it's almost as if they say, "Don't forget me, ok? I'm still here."

I won't forget you.

As you walk to the living room you get a nagging feeling that someone is watching you. You turn around, and there she is. And honestly, I think she just wanted to feel special for once. You could see it in her eyes. So you take her under your wing for the entire remainder of the time you have there, and when you're leaving and everyone begins to bug her and make fun of her, you pick her up and carry her towards the bus. A huge smile crosses her face up as she looks around and sees everyone from your perspective so high up. No shoes, covered in dust, bright smile. She points at your camera as you put her down and as you take a picture and you see this new look about her, you can't help but wondering if she just wanted to be remembered.

I remember you.

Malawi 2011. 

Tuesday, September 13, 2011

Exhibit A

In total, this summer I went to 6 different countries. I happened to jet across three continents in three days. That's a lot of time zones.
It almost doesn't seem real, but yesterday it hit me all the amazing things that happened this summer. All the amazing things that God accomplished that I got to see happen in the past few months. There's so much.

Let's start with something that happened at home.
I need to write it down so I don't forget it myself.
Youth camp this summer was amazing in a different way. I didn't fall out or get blasted across the room, but I did have the chance to minister during altar call times through music.

I am hesitant- I guess that's a good way to put it- sometimes about what I can do. I don't like putting it out there. I don't like waiting to be used either though, so it's a lose/lose situation. I feel like if someone else possesses a gift that I have then why should I be used in that gifting? So there was a lot of discouragement that hunkered around my quiet need to be used.
When I left school in May I cried. I cried really, really hard because it was the first time in a long time that I was in the environment that I had always wanted to be in. I was worried that going home, I would lose that sense and I would also be reminded of all these terrible things that had happened that would overtake my new-found placing.

Lots of information, I know. Stick with me. Just giving you some background.
So, while I was leading worship for altar call the first night I was terribly nervous at first.
Terribly, terribly. I didn't want to mess up. It also helped that one of my favorite speakers in the entire world was giving the message.  After most of the songs had happened during the message, the speaker came up to me during the middle of altar call and said: "You're doing phenomenal, you really are. I mean it. I would go to battle with you any day."
I almost started crying right there. Later on he also called me out and said to play something that God had put on my heart. Something that I had played over and over by myself in my room that burned within me.
I knew immediately what song it was. I had played this song numerous times on guitar in my room. It seemed etched inside of my very soul. It was my heart's cry. It was my constant reminder of what my focus was. I changed the chords and the mood shifted inside of my heart. This was my heart's song. The song that whenever I played it the insides of me screamed so loudly and almost vocally that I'm surprised no one heard it.
I played and sang that song in front of everyone that night. The endless hours I had spent being patient to be used, worshipping on my own, and learning the right chords on guitar for it seemed worthless compared to the impact it had the opportunity to make.

Now, my heart can be a funky place at times (yes, I said funky). It's all over the place on certain days, but there are some pretty consistent desires and dreams that I have deeply placed and rooted in my heart. Some of those desires and dreams I have waited and waited for. I have prayed and cried over these dreams and still it seems like they have not happened. Some of the desires in my heart I've had to give up. I've had to let a lot of things and people go. It's deeply etched inside of me: what has been given, what I hold on to, what's been taken away, and what I'm waiting on.
As I looked over the crowds of people in my church being touched by the power of God I felt one of those desires rise. I had always wanted to be apart of something like this. I wanted to see masses get moved by the presence of God. And as I looked over the crowds of people, the desires of my heart that I had to give up or say no to pushed aside, God whispered very quietly to me and said: "See? I do see the desires of your heart."

What I've come to realize is that there are many people who feel forgotten by God. They think that waiting means He isn't true to His word, or that maybe the promises He made weren't important.
But they are. They are so important to Him and God wants the plans He has for your life to come to pass even more then you.

Want to hear something else pretty nifty? Someone once told me a long time ago that I would write songs that people would sing and hear. I had almost forgotten about that until that night where I played a song for altar call that I myself had written. And who would have thought that we played it the next night too? We did. It's definitely not my style to talk about that, but whoever told me I would write music  that people would worship to said it a long time ago. Maybe my last year of junior high kind of long time ago.

But guess what - it happened.

I was going to write about Africa, but I think this post is long enough. Here's a sneak peek for next time :)

PS: I don't steal photos! The pictures taken from youth camp worship are by Lazarus Pachigalla:

Saturday, September 3, 2011

Coming to a computer near you...

Blog people! People who follow my blog! People whom I love and cherish and appreciate!
Things have been hectic! I got back from AFRICA! I've been back from IRELAND! I'm now back in MASSACHUSETTS for college again! I haven't had tons of time to recoup, much less reflect, upload photos, and tell you about it. BUT this post is not about that. This post is to give you hope.
It's coming. A post is on it's way. Once I'm all moved in and some photos are on the computer and my life calms down for the slightest of a minute, you will have an update.
For now?
I'm alive! I'm breathing! I'm not dead! I will update! I do care! :)
You'll be hearing from me very soon!