Saturday, September 20, 2014

Rivendel: The Last Homely House

Rivendell: by Kelly Hallahan
It is often necessary when you are drowning in the details to step back, take a deep breath and get some perspective. Why am I here? What is the purpose of this work? Why are there so many dirty dishes?

I had some friends over last night to watch a movie, and as she was leaving one person asked about this painting. Another women shed tears of grief as she processed the fact that she had suddenly left all her friends, and was starting all over again in Kampala. And still another had come in to town from the village and commented how nice it was just to feel at home here. And I was reminded why I do what I do.  I am a people-gatherer.  I have a heart for hospitality.  I want people to feel connected.

This is a painting of Rivendell from Tolkien's The Hobbit. And it is an illustration of my vision for this home.

"And so at last they came to the Last Homely House, and found its doors flung wide... Now it is a strange thing, but things that are good to have and days that are good to spend are soon told about, and not much to listen to; while things that are uncomfortable, palpitating, and even gruesome, may make a good tale, and take a deal of telling anyway. They stayed long in that good house, fourteen days at least, and they found it hard to leave...

...His house was perfect, whether you liked food, or sleep, or work, or storytelling, or singing, or just sitting and thinking best, or a pleasant mixture of them all.  Evil things did not come into that valley...

...All of them, the ponies as well, grew refreshed and strong in a few days there. Their clothes were mended as well as their bruises, their tempers, and their hopes. Their bags were filled with food and provisions light to carry but strong to bring them over the mountain passes. Their plans were improved with the best advice. So the time came to midsummer eve, and they were to go on again with the early sun on midsummer morning..." -J.R.R. Tolkien, The Hobbit.

University Ladies All-Nighter at our house our first term.

This is what I long for this house to be. I want bodies and souls nourished here. This is why I have dishes stacked in my sink- because I had a dozen women here last night. This is why I am studying Swahili- so that my East African friends can feel welcome here.

{If you are ever in Kampala and need a place to rest, I hope you'll stop by.}

Why do you do what you do? Would love to hear your vision in the comments!

Wednesday, September 10, 2014

Let Me do it...

Ni na jaribu = I am trying.

I feel like I'm drowning. I'll admit it, language learning isn't my favorite ministry activity.  I'm not terrible at it theoretically {on paper, when I have time to find the right word, put it in the right tense, and make sure I've got my pronouns straight}. But practically {verbally} I hate trying and messing up and feeling dumb.

Alas, language learning isn't even the biggest issue. The biggest issue right now is that I don't actually have time to devote 9+ hours a week to anything extra.

We have begun sleep training Elizabeth {we can see the light at the end of the tunnel!} but that doesn't erase the sleep debt that has accumulated the past 8 months.  The boys are back in school full-time which is great- but now they come home with full-time homework.  I still have a baby around all day.  And Josh is still actively participating in ministry on campus.  Not to mention all our other duties for WGM Uganda.

I know some things have to shift to the back-burner when you're doing language study.  I just haven't quite decided which of these things can be released... my kids can't. my husband can't. sleep can't. dinner can't.

And then, He comes.  With an outstretched hand, He invites me to roll all this {the schedule, the fear, the to-do list, the expectations, the helplessness} onto His shoulders.  

And my spiritual act of worship is to just let go.  I can simply let Him do all my living, because:

"His divine power has given us all things that pertain to life and godliness, through the knowledge of Him who called us..." -II Peter 1:3
In The Ministry of Intercessory Prayer by Andrew Murray there is a powerful discussion of the difference between living under the law and living under grace.  It is setting me free! Stay tuned for a printable when I have time to make it!!

But for now let me leave you with this short quote to whet your appetite:
"Grace undertakes to work our whole life in us, and actually give us the strength every moment for whatever the Father would have us be and do." -Andrew Murray

Linking up at the Grove 

It'll be quiet around the blog, and this blog, facebook and twitter while I focus on Swahili.  You'll still see me on instagram.  Hopefully I'll be back in action in October!  

Thursday, August 28, 2014

Settle Your Heart

We are right in the middle of settling in.  One half of our bedroom is {un}settled, and the other half is settled.  We still need a bookshelf made to house all our extra supplies... but there are some surfaces that look exactly the way I want them.  The furniture wish-list is long, but the budget is short.  We have enough to survive, just not everything I want.  

I love setting up our home.  I enjoy the decorating and the organizing.  I like finding just the right spot for everything.  This is our first four-year term, and it's just the beginning.  I have time to make this house just what I want it to be.  But as we settle in there is this {un}settling thought that whispers in the back of my mind:

"You do not know what will happen tomorrow. For what is your life? It is even a vapor that appears for a little time and then vanishes away... -James 4:14

Ugh.  This world is passing away.  As much as I enjoy making our house a home, this world isn't my home.  

"{They}... confessed that they were strangers and pilgrims on the earth.  For those who say such things declare plainly that they seek a homeland.  And truly if they had called to mind the country from which they had come out, they would have had opportunity to return.  But now they desire a better, that is, a heavenly country.  Therefore God is not ashamed to be called their God, for He has prepared a city for them." -Hebrews 11:13-16 

{by the way if you haven't heard this song by Tenth Avenue North, do yourself a favor and go listen right now! It's on repeat here today}

And so, like Abraham, I must dwell in the land of promise as in a foreign country {thankfully not hard to do when you are actually dwelling in a foreign country}, dwelling in tents... for I am waiting for the city which has foundations, whose builder and maker is God.  {Hebrews 11:9-10}

This letter, James, written to the twelve tribes scattered abroad speaks volumes to us global ones scattered around the world. Such sage advice: "Don't get too settled. Your life is merely a vapor, here today, gone tomorrow..." But..."establish {settle} your hearts, for the coming of the Lord is at hand!" {James 5:8}

Settle my heart in Him.  As I settle in here in Uganda, I am so grateful for a forever home in His heart.  I plan on being in Uganda longer than this four-year term, but I can't know that for sure.  All I can do is put down deep heart roots in Him, so I keep thriving wherever He leads me.  And, for now, it is here.

Is there something in your life that just isn't what you wish it was- use it as an exercise in longing for your True Home.  kinda like the past 12 hours without electricity? or the unsafe roads? yeah, getting lots of practice!

**linking up today at velvetashes.com for The Grove**

Are you feeling settled or unsettled lately? 
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