I’ve been in my head a lot lately.
You know the feeling, when you realize you’ve been sitting in the same position for a long time, staring at the same spot on the wall, just thinking. I’ve had some incredible experiences lately that have caused me to retreat into the recesses of my brain (and heart) and mull. I’ve had a chance to go through photographs of the last month, and it has only deepened my “head time.” Oh how I love photography. The fraction of a second snapped with a camera has the ability to rocket me back to a time and a place, helping me remember.
These photos are my visual breadcrumbs, they are significant marks on a path of memory that I can follow through the woods of my mind. They leave a trail, reminding me of where I’ve been. Whoa, did I just get a little “heady” there?! Sorry, that’s just how it’s been lately. Here are some of my latest “crumbs”…
I had my first guests! After six months without a familiar (Montana) face, my heart nearly exploded with joy at the sight of these people. We ventured around Kenya, and went to many places that had an impact on me in 2009 when I first came to Kenya. The second time around is always different than the first, but sometimes even more meaningful.
In early April I had the privilege to experience a different area of Kenya, outside of the bustling epicenter of Nairobi. The media team and I traversed eight hours north to a place called Maralal. It’s an arid, scrubby land where the sun shines hot on the baked earth, and all the plants seem to have thorns. The Samburu people call this area home. They are tall, lanky herders (goats, sheep, and camels) with friendly, warm spirits, sun-weathered skin and broad smiles. Oh, and they like beads… a lot.
I was struck and inspired by one Samburu, a young pastor named Peter. A warrior turned multi-church pastor, Peter left his tribe to get an education, and unlike so many, he returned to be with his people afterwards. He rides his bicycle for miles and miles every week between his four churches (one of which is under a tree). I’ve never met someone with such a heart of joy and passion. His fire inspired us all.
After my mini-adventure to northern Kenya, I boarded a plane bound even farther north. North Africa. Little did I know what was waiting for me… a whole new world. I went to see what that world looked like, felt like, tasted like, smelled like; I went to broaden my knowledge of what and who makes up this crazy continent of Africa. I went to see my dear friends who labor in love there. I went so my heart could begin to understand. Head coverings, mosques, Arabic, the call to prayer… It is a place unlike anything I had ever experienced.
Now, I know how to pray. Now, I have breadcrumbs to remind me of all I saw, heard, tasted, and felt. Now, I can’t pretend that I haven’t seen this world, this beautiful and vibrant yet hard, heavy, and dark world. Now, I can’t ignore it… now I press into it. Now, I bear witness of my experience. I feel a bit like Paul, who was knocked clean off his horse on a road to another place, and made to see. Afterwards God told him this…
“Now get up and stand on your feet.
I have appeared to you to appoint you as a servant and as a witness
of what you have seen and will see of me…”
Paul rises, taking with him what he has seen, and walks forward into God’s promise… that he, Paul, will see more of God. I am responsible to bear witness to everyplace God leads me. Now, what do I do with what I’ve seen? That’s why I’ve been in my head, I can’t just walk away from this one. God has planted some curious seeds in me, and I’m giving them time and room to grow.
I only have one life to pour out, and I want to make it a beautiful offering, a fragrant and pleasing sacrifice to my God. I will not lay before Him a life that was easy, nor one that cost me nothing.
What can I say?
What can I do?
But offer this heart, O God, completely to you.