It had been one of those needy kind of days.
The kind where I am a milkshake and everyone has their straws in me, sucking for all they're worth (thanks to Rachel Jankovic's book, Fit to Burst, for this very accurate description of my life!). Today it was money for school fees for my daughter, one lady asked, and a ride from town because it is so far to walk, said another, and medicine because my baby is very, very sick, said my friend who walks on her hands, and food because there is nothing for the children to eat, said still another, and work because we have no hope left at all.
And the needs were so valid, but all I could hear in my head was that slurping sound of straws scraping the bottom of my glass, searching for any last taste.
I was empty.
That day on the other side of the globe my grandmother was being buried, a funeral I never meant to miss. And our Akiru meeting had been rough. Conflict, arguments, raised voices and hurt feelings, they all came out, but nothing was solved. And honestly, isn't it time for me to stop being so tired and sick every day? I don't remember pregnancy being so hard. And my list of errands was longer than my daily allotment of endurance. My own needs were sucking me dry. How could I possibly have anything left for anyone else?
And so we fought our way through the day, my patience hanging by a thread, and finally started for home. Bumpy roads have a way of clearing your head, making you more contemplative, and for the first time that day we slowed down and just soaked it all in. The sunset, the cows, the shepherds and their sticks, the simplicity and beauty of life.
And slowly I began to remember.
My life was overwhelming, no doubt about that. But it was also beautiful and blessed. I had forgotten that this life that I was called to, this life that I had chosen, was one of joy. Joy in the journey, joy in the sacrifice, joy in joining my Father in laying down my life. Not that it was easy and not even that His yoke always felt light, but if I was called to "count it all joy" then maybe I needed a perspective shift.
My heart had lost its way and in the process had run dry.
I thought back to the woman asking me for money for school for just one child while the others all sit out, waiting for the hope of a sponsor next year, and I was so grateful to be able to teach my children at home.
I thought about the woman who needed a ride, who would more than likely be walking the 26 miles to my village, her baby tied on her back, and I was so grateful for my dependable truck.
I thought about the woman whose baby was sick, who would crawl all the way to town on her hands, her two year old daughter on her back, just to beg for help, and I was so grateful for healthy children and for easy access to medicine.
I thought about this same woman begging me for food, her small pile of holey leaves all that she had to feed her seven children, and I was so grateful for nutritious food, for the ability to choose what we feel like eating on any given day.
I thought about the woman needing work, her husband, disabled, and her children left with nothing, and I was so grateful for the freedom we have to work here, unhindered and without worry, knowing that we are well supported by those who love us.
I thought about my grandmother and the legacy she had left us, one of sacrifice and service, one of following her husband wherever he led her and raising a family of lovers of God, and I was so grateful for the time I had with her and the relationship we shared.
I thought of my Akiru women, their hearts stirring, their desire to follow just beginning, and I was so grateful for the changes we are seeing, the growth that is even now happening.
I thought of my morning sickness, my struggle to find enough energy to function on a daily basis, and I was so grateful for this new blessing, even this sickness proof that God gives such good and amazing gifts.
And all of a sudden my heart was full, full to overflowing. Like I said, my life was beautiful and blessed.
I had just forgotten.
Have you forgotten today? Have you forgotten the depths from which He rescued you or the way in which He carried you?
Look back at your life, look up to Him, and remember.
Kenneth and Kristi Williams
The Williams Family
Kenneth and Kristi
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