I spend hours of my morning writing out lists. “To do” lists, seven of them in total, separated out into the different responsibilities I hold. They are long and seem to continually grow. They cover my desk and once finished I blu-tac them one by one to the wall in front of me. It’s good to have the mess of undone things down on paper, good to have it out of my brain, to free up space for productivity, creativity, peace.
The lists are done, written up, pinned up, staring me in the face. I sit frozen, looking at them, the length of them, and the magnitude of individual items. Where do I even start? How do I decide what is most important, most urgent? How do I begin to even tackle some of those items.
I rest my head in my hands feeling defeated. I cry out to the only one I know who will help.
I cry out to my God.
I cry out to my Father.
I cry out to the one who saves me from all things – even this crazy pile of not-yet-done-ness.
I ask him to help, I confess without Him I can do nothing. I ask Him to speak, to show me where to start, how to start, to tell me it’s ok, to tell me that together we’ll do it, together we will achieve. I wait and listen. I smile, I am so thankful I have The Conqueror on my side.
I hear Him whisper it to my heart.
It fights against everything within me, I have been silent for so long in this web-space. My fingers have remained so still. I don’t have the words at the moment.
It fights against my reason, there are so many important things that need to be done, so many boring tasks that should first be completed.
I put my fight and my complaints against him. But again He repeats himself.
“Blog, write. Write this.”
So here I sit, writing, writing this.
Here I sit and I see that He was right, that this is what I needed, to put fingers to keyboard, to let the words flow from my heart, to remember this, to connect with you all.
I sit typing out these words and I smile, because He takes delight in me having enjoyment. He is not just interested in getting lists of jobs done, but interested in connecting, interested in me, not my ability to do things.
I sit here and I know that He is walking with me, that He is working through these lists with me, that He goes before me. I sit here knowing that with Him all things are possible.
I sit here calm, peaceful, ready to tackle those lists.
He walked towards me with great intention, purpose in his eyes, ready to fight. I smiled at him to try and soften him a little, and put my hand out to greet him.
“Good morning! I’m EJ, it’s nice to meet you”
“Why do you work to help people who only work to kill our people?”
There was obviously going to be niceties this morning with this man. I lifted a silent prayer.
“Not all of them work to kill our people, that is what the media would have you believe but it is not true.”
“But they are full of hate, and forgiveness, and we are a people of peace, but they seek to kill. Why do you choose to help them and live with them?”
The conversation continued. The media tainting his view of these people, him speaking out his fear, his anger, his lack of knowledge. Me speaking the compassion that God has given me, speaking of God’s love for them, of their need for Christ. We go back on forth. I have tears in my eyes, for this man who is so scared, and for those people who have been put in such a bad light.
I get called for sound check, I tell him I have to go, but first I stop.
“Can I pray for you? Can I pray that you may see these people through God’s eyes? Can I pray God’s blessing and love into your life?”
He gives me permission and I pray.
There are so many more like this man. So many who have the media speaking louder in their lives than God. So many who are hurt, and fearful of these people. Would you join me in praying for them?
We are in dire need of God to soften hearts on both sides. Soften the hearts of His people to love the others, and soften the hearts of the others to hear His calling, His word, and know their need for Him.
I sit in this room, boxes still unpacked in the corner, walls faded and peeling begging to be decorated, floors not yet finished, windows bare with curtains not yet purchased. I look around me and take in this house only 2 weeks lived in. I look down and see before me a suitcase, 2 weeks in this house and already a suitcase.
It’s the packing that has forced me to unpack. The boxes that have been opened and emptied have only been done so in order to repack their contents into a case or a bag, ready to travel with me. I sigh and wonder when my life became this, always packing or unpacking, never just being, never simply staying.
I had just told someone a few days previously how wonderful it had been to be settled in one place for so long without traveling. She had laughed saying that it had been no time at all, I protested and together we counted time. Eight weeks I’ve been here, and it feels like years. She points out that in those eight weeks I have been away for 2 weekends and moved house. I can’t help but laugh along with her – I see the joke, that 2 months including two weekend trips and a house move feels like a long settled time to me.
I look back down at my suitcase and I feel strangely at home with my things packed in a case, with my car full of petrol ready for the drive, with my house packed up ready for weeks of being empty. I think about the weeks ahead, the weeks of living from a suitcase, of staying in countless other’s homes, of the miles of road ahead of me, of all the new faces, the hellos, the fresh places. I think about the not stopping for long enough to find my bearings and I feel peaceful, I feel at home, I feel settled.
I smile to myself. The prospect of being unsettled leaves me feeling settled and I see the paradox. I think it must be the missionary kid inside me that lets me feel so comfortable in this lifestyle. Its the MK roots that I have allowed to bear fruit into my adulthood, it’s the life that was thrust upon me as a child that I chose to continue as an adult, that has led to this crazy paradox.
I zip up the case and stand carrying it downstairs. I am peaceful and there is a smile of content on my face, and yet as I place the case by the door there is something else too. There is that small piece of my heart that aching, screaming out to be heard, it’s wondering what it would be like to stay, and it’s yearning to find out, to experience it. That small part that will never let go, that will always make the leaving bitter-sweet, the traveling fun and yet hard, the constant packing and unpacking satisfying and yet painful.
I give thanks, because it is that piece of my heart, that pain, that yelling out, that reminds me of all I have. It speaks of the irreplaceable friendships, the close community, the love, the sowing, the reaping, the memories. The difficulty in driving away simply tells the story of the wonderful gifts God has given me where I am. A song of praise come from my lips going out to the one who always travels with me.