All I Know at the End of the Day is That I Don't Know Much.
"There's no limit to what You can do,
Because it all belongs to You,
Yes it all belongs to You,
You're all mighty and all powerful,
And it all belongs to You,
Yes it all belongs to You"
- "When Jesus Say Yes", Michelle Williams
"'For my thoughts are higher than your thoughts,
neither are your ways my ways,'
declares the Lord.
'As the heavens are higher than the earth,
so are my ways higher than your ways
and my thoughts higher than your thoughts.'"
Have you ever had that moment in deep prayer and surrender to God when you say, "God, I want to trust You more, I want to know who You are. I know You are near, show me"? Well, I had that moment just before I left Canada for Uganda, and it has rocked my world. First of all, Uganda, as I've said before, is a place of extremes. Extreme weather, extreme people, extreme emotions, extreme chaos…anything you can think of. For me, I've never felt so fulfilled and yet so empty at the same time; so exhilarated and yet exhausted either.
Being hit by wave after emotional wave, and roadblock after roadblock of seemingly nonsensical (yes, that is a word, Tori!) bureaucracy gets very discouraging after a while. There was a point in this last week where I thought, "I think I need to change my plane ticket and just go back home. This whole thing is getting ridiculous and way too much for me. It was a nice experiment, but God, I think I've had enough," but there was this still small voice (hmmm, I wonder who that could have been?) that said, "Holly, you were brought here for a reason. You are not finished what you needed to finish yet. Stop running on human emotion and let Me give you the strength you need to keep going."
Some days, actually at least twice daily, I say to God, "What exactly do you have planned for me in the future that You need to stretch me so much spiritually??? Seriously. Is this not enough yet? Why do I need to get stronger?" Every time since I've been here when I think I've had enough, God takes me a little bit further - one step, one step, one step, one leap, one more step…and suddenly I'm looking back, now, and thinking, "How the heck did I come this far???" Some days I don't recognize myself anymore - the timid, terrified, shy, angry, self-hating, ashamed, quiet girl that I was not so many years ago…even thinking about how much I've changed in the last 12 months…God has taken me so much farther than I ever thought I would go; that I ever thought I would LET Him take me.
I think so often we put God in a box, while at the same time drawing a thick black line between us and Him and say, "Okay, You can take me THIS far, but no farther. I'm not (insert adjective here) enough to deal with whatever it is that You think I can take. I can't. I know myself, I know what I'm capable of; what I'm comfortable with, and THIS is where I draw my line. This is how much You can have." When I think of the times I've said this to God, and yet He has been so patient with me, knowing full well that I CAN take whatever He has for me, because HE is with me, my heart breaks…thinking about the blessing and opportunity to see His faithfulness that I have suffocated in my arrogance and stubbornness. Why does my fear always make me feel like I have the right to think I know the depth of God's faithfulness; of His provision and love for me? God, take that away from me.
I'm sitting here in my little bedroom in the maid's quarters of a very beautiful house in Bunga, Kampala, listening to Pentatonix's version of "The Little Drummer Boy" and crying as I write this blog post.
"'Come', they told me…
So to honour Him, when we come...
I have no gift to bring…
That's fit to give a King…
Shall I play for You?…
I played my drum for Him,
I played my best for Him…
Then He smiled at me,
me and my drum…"
My God is a God who provides. My God is a God who is faithful. My God is a God who knows me and sees me and actually LIKES me, which is more than I can say about myself. And He loves us as we are, but He loves us so much that He doesn't just want us to stay where we are - He wants to take us to places we never dreamed we would ever reach, to see us be at our full potential. He has given us life for us to live it to the FULLEST, with Him; surrendered to Him; trusting Him. And He is patient when we draw a line, He nudges us and shows us little bits of His faithfulness until we take one more step in trusting Him more and more.
I never feel like I have enough to give God. Like that drummer boy, I think that all I have is my seemingly insignificant ability to do one thing, and yet, that's all He wants. The Kingdom of God is an upside-down kingdom. I give God the little I have - the little faith I have (and seriously, I feel like I have such a tiny little bit of faith right now) - and in return I get an increase of faith, and so so much more than I can even write down.
Before I left Canada, I asked God for a few things. One of them was a family here in Uganda, and let me tell you…He could not have been MORE faithful. I have brothers and sisters and aunties and uncles, and a great church that reminds me of Redemption Church at home. I was kept safe during the elections. I live for free in a beautiful and safe house very close to where I work. I have people who love me in every area of my life right now, I am encouraged, fed physically and spiritually and emotionally, lifted up with laughter, blessed with worship and feel at home here. God has given me not just what I needed, and not just what I prayed for, but has shown me abundance. Yesterday I was anxious about money, and when i woke up this morning I found I had money coming to me I hadn't expected. God provides not only what we need, but also in ways unexpected. He knows me way better than I know myself because He created me, and I continue to see His faithfulness and grace in my life here. So why do I keep doubting His ability? It all belongs to Him - there's no limit to what He can do.
The days where I feel the most whiny, and they come here fairly often, are exactly the days where I need to tell my emotional side to shut up and remember all the ways God has been faithful in my life up to this point. Logically, if He HAS provided exactly what I needed thus far, He WILL continue to provide. He is a good Father, and He owns it all. And yet, every time He does provide, I find myself shocked that He did. He's so sneaky, that One. So yeah, I really don't know much. As scary as it is to say, God, I pray You keep stretching me, and giving me incredible testimony of YOUR goodness and love in my life. All I want to do is serve You, not myself, because You are good and You never change. Keep showing me who You are. I want to know You more.