Throughout the day, as I work around the house, I jot down a note here or a phrase there… things that, if developed, could become a blog post.
It is where I make lists or write down scripture verses that mean something to me in that moment.
It is full of scribbles and Xs. I love to cross things off the list. Marks where I’ve crossed out the things I won’t use or where the words already jumped off my notebook and onto the pages of my blog.
I love this notebook. It only has a handful of blank papers left.
And as I browsed through my very messy, quite full list of thoughts, I realized that what was left was simply a compiled list of more mending thoughts.
They were small, undeveloped glimpses into a bigger story and yet powerful bits of words all by themselves.
This list of phrases and verses that had yet to be blogged were maybe not meant for a whole post.
Maybe they were meant to be left as I wrote them.
Maybe they don’t need to be developed or edited or reworked to make the cut for the blog.
Maybe they are just fine right now.
Maybe, in their simplicity, they mended my heart somehow in this stage of the journey.
Random pieces that are slowly mending me. challenging me. growing me.
At the top of the page, I have a note about our outside light. We only use it at night to light up our courtyard. But quite often, I get busy with the morning routine and totally forget to turn off the light. So it stays on unnecessarily for the daylight hours. I can go outside, hang up laundry or feed the dog and not notice that the light is on. In our sunny weather, the light does nothing and it can not be seen. I don’t remember that it is even on until night falls again and I go to turn on a light that is already on. And in my notes, I wrote, “What happens when it gets dark? Is the light on?” I remember thinking that it isn’t until darkness comes that the light can be seen. And as that sinks into my soul once more, I wonder at all the lights living in our world that are surrounded by other lights. Can they really be seen or shine brightly? What happens when darkness falls? Which lights will be shining then? What about MY light? In some ways, we are surrounded by darkness… living in a place where only 4% of the population proclaims to know Jesus… is MY light shining? Can it be seen in this place? In this season?
Jump to the side margin of the page and I see the words “Coming/Going” with the verse Psalm 121:7-8. Those verses say, “The Lord will keep you from all harm—he will watch over your life; the Lord will watch over your coming and goingboth now and forevermore.” Living here, our comings and goings are pretty big deals. The roads are treacherous, life is dangerous, threats are real and things seem unstable. Having the promise of the God of the universe who is watching our comings and goings… that comforts in ways I never imagined.
And in the middle of the page, between some huge Xs, I have written, “Exposed Heart – duress, freedom”.
I have to pause here… I really don’t remember what I meant when I wrote that. I can’t remember the specific thing that sparked that thought. But I do know how it feels to have my heart exposed. My heart is out there. Wide open. In some ways fully in duress… in other ways experiencing new, quiet freedoms.
Then, next to that, I have a moment captured. A deep thought in print. A quiet nudge from the Holy Spirit who was speaking to me in a very real way. And he continues to speak each time I read through my list.
I wrote, “Follow wholeheartedly. Delta flight.”
We were walking out to our plane before we flew to Ivory Coast. Of course, our plane was Kenya Air… but there. Right in front of me was a Delta plane. A DELTA plane. A plane that more than likely would be leaving Dakar and flying to AMERICA. I didn’t care where that plane would land within the United States but I felt a deep magnetic pull to skip my flight and join that one. The Delta flight was wooing me, drawing me in. And I desperately wanted to be on that plane. I couldn’t believe the pull, the connection to home that was staring at me across the tarmac.
And in my devotions, just the next morning, I read from Numbers 32:11 which says, “Because they have not followed me wholeheartedly, not one of those who were twenty years old or more when they came up out of Egypt will see the land I promised on oath to Abraham, Isaac and Jacob…“
Well, hmmm. My deep longing looks at the Delta plane were definitely stealing my heart. Yet, God says that following Him in OBEDIENCE with my whole heart is vitally important. Following with wholehearted passion, devotion, dedication, steadfastness for the task ahead.
Yet an airplane was very vividly calling me home. Which begins a process of prayer like I’ve never prayed before. Praying for wholehearted devotion to follow no matter what comes our way.
And then I have written on that same messy page the phrase “Reasons to Love this Process.” Which will become a post so I’ll say no more…
I also have some Africa Life Hacks to share with you, which will also be a post coming soon.
I have the sentence of a friend written down, a sentence that is still scaring me to death. And it, too, will become a post of its own. When I’m ready and God says yes.
I’m laughing while typing this next one because the next thing on the page is the word AWKWARD. I laugh because the word itself is awkward. two Ws? awkward. I laugh because I wrote only that word! Nothing with it. No small notes beneath it, no little thoughts to remind me why I wrote that word.
Why? Uhm… No reminder is needed. I see the word and I KNOW.
When I wrote that word, I was thinking of how so much of our life is awkward. We have so many awkward conversations. Awkward moments. We say the wrong things and it gets awkward. We say the right thing… and… it STILL can get awkward. Fast. I think I wrote it laughingly around the time my heart felt exposed. At least that seems about right as I ponder the whole page and the ways it is mending me. Being comfortable with the awkward feeling… yet greatly disliking the experience.
Just acknowledging the awkwardness of an exposed heart. Finances freely questioned. Purchases seen by all. Social media under a microscope. Life truly accountable to so many. Close friends so far away. New friends in the baby stages of friendship and working together. Explanations and descriptions. Life stories. Heart cries… exposed. sometimes misunderstood and often, just plain awkward. All of my heart, every piece of my life… given fully, open to public eye. And not just what I freely write here… but so much more. Personal. exposed. and awkward. It really can be awkward.
“Hide in a closet and don’t come out” awkward. But that would be awkward to explain. So I don’t do it.
After that awkward mention of the word on my page…
I have written something beautiful.
It says, “Strength of my heart…” with Psalm 73:26, “My flesh and my heart may fail,but God is the strength of my heartand my portion forever.”
Pause. Read and reread. My heart… my flesh. both fail. often. But God… Yes. But God IS the strength of my heart. He is my portion. forever.
Reread again. So healing. mending. me. Mending my heart and my flesh. In His strength.
I have a few more things written down. Compiling a list of verses for missionaries. Reminders to write about our trip to the Pink Lake and the Bandia Reserve. I can’t wait to share it all with you.
But I felt like part of the mending was to start on a fresh clean page. To end those thoughts and begin anew.
To put words to new things God is doing and let the other thoughts lie here.
Close the chapter and turn the page.
Notes taken. Notes developed. Notes simply left alone.