Coffee along the way

Coffee along the way
Coffee along the way

July 08, 2014

Life...


Sometimes you look at life as if you are standing on the outside of this beautiful bubble - watching people through a thin wall but being the outsider and wondering why you are not on the inside. If, however you stop and think a bit, you realize that this is really not what you want of your life in any case and that you made certain choices for a reason. Even if it looks like the Fun Side, it is not, and it won't do for you. There is more to this life and you know it. 

When we decided to give our lives totally over to God, we did not quite realise where this journey would lead us or where we would end up living!  Stepping stones took us from our city life to a Bible college outside of a small town, to a farm, to a tiny village in the UK, to a tiny village in Portugal, to a big, noisy, dirty African city to where we are now - a village that appears only as a blip on a map!

As far as social goes, it didn't go much!!  :)  Small places in foreign tongues, language learning and bringing up 3 boys plus homeschooling them made not the best of circumstances to socialise in! Small talk has never been one of my strengths and how much worse it is in a different language!!

However, these were the choices we made.  We chose to live as a family here in the village.  We could have made different choices - my husband could drive up and down to villages or we could work in a busy city.  But we know without a doubt that God called us here and here we are, albeit sans company!

Most days all is well and i go about my life without so much as a thought that it is very isolated and lonely out here - esp in regards to fellow believers, but at times it does get a bit too much!  The enemy knows our weak spots and hammers at them!  Then it is good to "know the devil's schemes"!

One of these "schemes" is that you feel so left out.  Obviously there are social things going on around us - that is what communities do!  Even in town (75km away) there are different groups and different communities, but somehow even those who you think would understand, does not.  When in town you try to visit or see some friends, but it is always a bit of a hurry there or people just don't have the time or don't make the time.  I think that is part of the standing outside the bubble thing - you don't feel part of any group anymore - you are just the "member at large".  No-one misses you or thinks especially about you - or so the devil wants you to think!!  He makes you feel left out, not important and not part of a whole. 

In the village we try and attend most socials, but again, we are the outsiders and will always be!  Although they are very happy when we attend their funerals, initiations and other feasts, we will never be totally one with them!!  :)  We look different, we act different and we talk different even if we try our hardest to act black and talk like a Y!!  ha-ha!! 
The enemy creates this illusion that you are to feel very sorry for yourself, blame someone for this state and even rebel against God!  (been there!)

Moving my eyes from these schemes i see something very different, though!  I see a God who cares and knows how i feel.  I see the way He made me and put me together!  I am no social butterfly and never was.  I need only a few good friends, then i am happy.   I like many things that are more one on one than group activities in any case and so on.... And so i know that through His grace i will survive out here in the Desert of Unsocial.  I need to know the devil's schemes and how he wants to drag me down.  I need to put on the belt of truth and remember who God is and who i am.  And in any case being a follower of Him it is not about me or being fulfilled but of denial of self and living for His glory and not the next social event or lack thereof. 

Bella, looking up.





July 02, 2014

If only, What if, etc...




The truth, if altered a bit, looks like the real thing but in fact is isn’t.  Here in this country they have many cheap imports and what they do is they just change the name a bit so you think that you are buying quality but in fact you are not!  For example, a Honda motorbike becomes a Homda.  Stanley tools are called Stamley, etc.  The same with truth.  If it is adapted a bit it is not truthful anymore.

It is good to look back, to look forward and to look at the present.   The Psalms are a good example of how the Israelites looked back and knew without a doubt what God had done for them.  They also reminded the Lord of His promises thus gaining strength for the now by looking back and looking forward. – but if I look back with If only….or look forward with What if…and look to today with That’s not how it is supposed to be! (Beth Moore’s words) then although I think I am doing the right thing, I am actually causing more harm than I think!

God wants us to look back and see how He was there for us, how He helped, how His grace got us through.  But not in the words of If only!!!

We also need to look to the future – by looking at God’s promises we know we can trust Him, because all His promises always come true!!  But not in the words of What if!!!

We can gain strength from looking back and looking forward with our eyes on God and that helps us to cope with the now, but not in the words of This is not how it is supposed to be!!

All three of these bring out fear, regret and a feeling of helplessness and discontentment.  Yes, we are looking back, looking forward and taking each day as it comes along – some truth in it, but warped.  It takes our eyes from God and turns it towards ourselves with discouragement and faithlessness following behind.

The longer you live, the more If only’s you can collect, the more you think about it the more What if’s you can think up.  And believe me, there are MANY!!  The more you say This is not how it is supposed to be, the more you are losing focus.  Fear charges in.  Like Peter when he tried to walk on water – he took his eyes from Jesus, saw the HUGE waves and……feared!! 

2Cor 10:5 says “We demolish arguments and every pretension that sets itself up against the knowledge of God, and we take captive every thought to make it obedient to Christ.”
So I am taking captive the entire If only’s, What if’s and This is not how it is supposed to be’s!!  and making my thoughts obedient to Jesus.  Please help me in this, dear God!

Bella

July 01, 2014

Dry crumbs or a feast?




I once read this story of a man who wanted to go to America…..so he saved up all he had and bought a ticket.  He took with him some bread and water which after a few days became quite stale.  Not realizing that his ticket included 3 meals a day, the man nearly starved to death before he was rescued and taken to the dining room – a room filled with so much food – enough for a legion!

Well, I am a bit worse than that man.  I made it to the dining room but decided that I am only worthy to eat the crumbs off the floor.  No good food was intended for me!  And thus, I was getting quite thin and malnourished with all the food readily available!

Let me explain a bit…
After the malaria I just kept getting weaker and weaker.  Until 2 ½ weeks into this nightmare my husband decided I had to have a blood test to see what was wrong with me.  On the way to town after seeing the local clinic’s doctor, I started to feel much better!  I went from really, really pale to a near normal blood test result!!  Now, I know things in the line of blood does not work like this.  God had done a miracle!  Afterwards I learned that many people prayed at exactly that time on that day for me!
But coming home, I was still stressed…..what if I got weaker again?  What if I had to go for another blood test??  I mean, drawing blood form me is not easy and this one was the best I have ever had and 
I really don’t want to test my “luck” with going again, what if, what if, what if…..and I didn’t get better, not at all!!

A week later I was worse – but now I was also in a panic!  And panics are no picnics and lead to more symptoms.  In a bad state, that’s for sure! 
Yesterday I really felt the Lord say to me that I need to accept His healing, but still I couldn’t.  I was eating the crumbs while a feast was waiting for me!  This morning I saw a facebook message from a friend…saying exactly what God was telling me – accept by faith that what He has given!!  My response was a bit like Moses’ – but God what about this and that?  What if I miss something really vital and I still have a big problem somewhere??  “What if”, and “I am afraid” seem to go hand in hand with me….but fear and faith, as I have said previously do not go together!! 

And so I took God at His word – I mean was I stupid or what?  What are my other choices?  Trusting the enemy that he is right and that I need to fear or have reasons to fear rather than trust?  Or do I trust myself??  I don’t think so!!  I took a stand and God heard my cries of apology and deep thankfulness!  I took what He gave freely to me!  And what a good day did I have!!  Praise God!

Every now and again fear poked out his ugly head but in Jesus Name I could stand and trust!  Every day is a battle for our souls and I never realized just how badly the enemy wants us to not trust God, not believe Him.  That armour is very specific is it not?  Belt of Truth!  Helmet of Salvation!  Breastplate of Righteousness!  Shield of Faith!!  Sword of the Spirit which is the Word of God!!  Shoes of willingness to spread the Gospel!!  And we need each one!!

I really want to trust God more and more and He sure works on that one!!  But He is a loving Father and really cares, why can’t I trust Him easier?  Thankful that He is patient with me!  And I hope I have learned something today!!

Bella, daughter of Zion.