I have been here 7 weeks now....weird. This week is the first week that I have actually felt totally comfortable. That is only due to a lot of prayer and laying down a lot of my American expectations.
This was a week of firsts!
I went grocery shopping by myself, and to the street vendor who sells the cheap veggies, and to the potato man, and bought everything for a fabulous dinner for 8 people for just $10 dollars!! I felt so thrifty!
I went to meet my friend Loring at a mall for a pedicure and a late lunch. I had never been there before--never ridden a taxi by myself before---and never told a boda driver where to go before! And I successfully got there and talked the boda driver down in price!!! [although he still overcharged me! :o(]
Today I bought a cellphone so I can now call my friends here in Uganda!!
It is sometimes so weird that I am now living this life that no one I know is a part of. I can paint you a picture with my words...but it will never be the same. You can't smell the trash burning, or hear the children laughing, or feel a baby hugging you who hasn't been held enough, or hear the gate creak to announce someones arrival at the house, or even hear the horribly obnoxious birds that reside near our house. And for the first time in my life I feel ok being on my own. I do not feel like ANYTHING is lacking. I mean central air, Food Network, Starbucks, and good cheese---but those are trivial things! I feel ok because I know the Lord is holding me. A lot of my friends are married and I struggled a lot with not being where they were in life. And no offense girls....but you are NOT in Africa!!! :o) I know some of you desperately want to be (um....MK!) but the Lord has a reason that you are not.
Every week we have been going through a different fruit of the Spirit. Every week I know the Lord is whispering to me that those are still in me..because He is in me...despite what has happened in my past. I also "happened" to bring a bible study with me on the Fruits of the Spirit...conceidence...I think not! This week has been on love. In Greek there are different words for the different kinds of love. The love that the Lord calls us to is Agape love. Now this is the hardest and most rewarding of all the forms of love. Agape is the love of God expressed through us to others. It is more a response than a feeling. The hardest part about Agape love is that He calls us to have that love even for people that may have hurt us deeply. That means He wants us to pray for good to come to that person, to pray for protection for them, and most importantly to forgive them. Let me tell you....this is an excruciatingly hard thing to do...but a freeing one. It is hard because it goes against everything that our flesh is telling us to do. The good news is that God does not expect us to do this on our own. It is only through Him that a heart change of this magnitude can happen. I an grateful for this experience, and grateful that the Lord would care enough to pursue me until I can see the lines on His face.
"So, my Lord, I bring this offering;
a stubborn heart of stone
And ask You , in its absence,
please exchange it for Your own."