Wednesday, September 10, 2014

The Return

I sit in my seat and look out the window. The terrain is familiar. The well -populated green soon gives way to a sparse dusty brown. I fidget with my water bottle as I eye my watch only to see it slowly advance by.

I think of friends I love—
on the brink of life
in their prime
just starting out
finishing well—
and know the distance is soon no longer to separate.

I hoped it could lead to this. A teacher’s summer schedule and enough savings and God’s prompting provided a way. A community that you live and breathe in for a year can have a way of opening the seams of your heart and nestling itself right in there. In some sense, returning is like holding your heart out in your hands and undoing those seams so that you can affirm its contents to those whose being is the content itself.

An announcement from the pilot jars me from my thoughts.
“Please make sure your seat belts are securely fastened.
We’ll be landing in Korr in ten minutes. Thank you.”

Korr. A broad smile overtakes my face in acknowledgement of the near reunion with my students, teachers, and others from the community that I so recently called home.

We land in a cloud of dust, and I climb out of the opened door of the small aircraft. I breathe in the air. I feel the heat on my skin. I hear the familiar, yet foreign language from small children nearby. I see the mountains, acacia trees, and rocky, rocky soil. I take it all in. I’m in Korr once again.


I’m greeted by the dear friend whose home will be mine for the next two weeks. We enjoy a meal with her family before setting off to make the oh-so-familiar trek to the group of buildings just past the wells and up the hill where 350 young people come to have their minds and stomachs filled daily.

We approach the classroom where 40 of my pupils sit unaware of their approaching visitor. Surprised laughter and chattering permeates the air as I walk in. Heads turn to the left and to the right for confirmation. One bold pupil speaks out,

“Madam, do you remember me?”
The reply comes easily.
“Of course, Boyden. Of course I remember you.”

I go around and shake each of their hands, using their names to show I haven’t forgotten.

“Hello Lacha!”
“Dorcas, how are you?”
“Greet your family for me, Enoch.”
“Rongo, it’s good to see you!”

It doesn’t take long for my presence on campus to no longer be a secret. The word is out— Madam Christina is back in Korr!

I spent two weeks in Korr at the end of July, and they were filled with much joy, much visiting, much affirming of worth. I ate meals in homes, drank chai on porches, and enjoyed sweets in the staff room. I taught some lessons, supervised  exams, and went on a choir field trip. I hosted a movie day, taught friendship bracelet making (lovingly termed “mzungu beads”), and passed out handwritten letters. I listened to stories, asked questions, and fumbled around in my very limited Rendille and Swahili. I stared at the vast, starry night sky, looked often at the mountains in the distance, and peered out over the desert horizon.

Mostly, I just spent time with people. Enjoying their presence while they appreciated mine. My deepest desire is that in some small way, my return visit further stamps the gospel into their lives. That they would be reminded of their value, not just as individuals, but as children of God, and that my love for them would only point them to the deep, deep love of Jesus.

 


 


 


One night, I spoke to the secondary school students, and I was able to speak of a return much greater than mine. A return that will impact all nations and all tribes. A return that will not only cement the gospel into our lives, but be the very culmination of the gospel itself.

Dear friends, dear family, Christ is coming back. 2000 years ago, he lived on this earth to demonstrate his love for us. And he will come back again, holding out his heart and opening its seams to show his followers where they’ve been safely nestled all along.

He IS coming back, and if we live in light of that knowledge, we will be radically transformed. We practice righteousness now, because we are preparing for righteousness forever. We can withstand the attacks of the one who hates us because we know we are living empowered by the One who loves us. We ground ourselves in the truth of God’s Word, understanding that right living does not come without right knowledge. He will come back, and He will take those who love Him to be with Him forever.

“But in keeping with his promise, we are looking forward to a new heaven and a new earth, the home of righteousness. So then, dear friends, since you are looking forward to this, make every effort to be found spotless, blameless, and at peace with him.” [2 Peter 3:13-14]

But God is patient— he wants all to come to a knowledge of him. If you don’t trust in Christ, I encourage you, grab a Bible off a shelf and examine it for yourself. Look at the life of Jesus – the compassion, the mercy, the love—and know that it is for you. Might his return be something you, too, experience with deep joy and confidence in faith.

It brought me much joy to return to Korr, and I look forward with great anticipation to the day that Christ will return and my joy will be complete.


Might you acknowledge all the blessings God has given you this day, and might you look to the sky with eagerness, knowing He will return.


Tuesday, December 31, 2013

Just the Beginning

In the past two weeks, I hugged family members, friends, and co-workers. I went to doctors’ appointments, submitted paperwork, and sat in traffic. I wrapped gifts, wrote cards, and sang Christmas carols. Twas the season, and I was back to experience it in full swing!

Being in America causes a whole range of emotions to swell within me. Some are good and some are hard, but the undeniable truth is that I really am back on US soil!

With my homecoming date now passed, I’m left to process the year that just happened. Many question marks surround the coming year, but one thing is certain. Although this year has finished, it’s not the end of Kenya’s influence on me. Certainly I will carry the people and relationships and memories with me for the rest of life.

  
The young faith of many of my students encourages and challenges me in my own walk with God. Their exuberance and joy for life reminds me of the gift of life and of each day we have. Their humble attitudes and service to their families points me to Jesus’ own humility toward the many he served.


I invested the most amount of time in the 50 pupils who I had the privilege of teaching, but surely many others taught me and touched my life as well—fellow teachers, church members, young neighborhood friends, other missionaries, my roommates…and the list goes on.


So, yes, my year in Kenya has come to a close, but really, it’s only the beginning. The beginning of a faith enlarged from a year lived in another culture. The beginning of a hope brimming with the possibilities for a big future. The beginning of a love deep for people other than my own.

Ultimately, it’s the beginning of a life with a heart more filled. With my students. With Kenya. With the Lord.

Thank you for taking this journey with me, and may the Lord draw you closer to Himself as we all continue through this journey of life!


“Now to the King eternal, immortal, invisible, the only God, be honor and glory forever and ever. Amen.” [1 Timothy 1:17]

Saturday, December 7, 2013

I Wasn't Needed (and You Aren't Either)

As my homecoming nears, I admit that I am a bit tentative. I am eager to share my past year with you, my family and friends, but that same thought also elicits concern. As one author puts it, I will likely “grope for words to stuff impossible things into.”

Your patience and kindness as I try to gracefully transition back into life in America and try to relay experiences and relationships will be most appreciated. I am praying now that, with God’s help, I might be able to set aside any grumpy or judgmental feelings that may wish to creep in after a year of living in such a different environment.

But I do need to get one thing straight before I start showing pictures and speaking of life in Korr. Perhaps it’s not the best opening liner for someone who has sacrificed to support me financially or who has spent hours praying for my students or for me, but don’t let me fool you.

I wasn’t needed.

There was a “light bulb” moment, if you will, when this fact really sank to my core. I was conversing with a roommate from the summer as she was trying to grasp her role in her time there. She wondered aloud if she had made the right decision to come, if she was really needed there. And as I pondered her raw questions, the truth hit me rather matter-of-factly. Yes, she had made a good decision, but she wasn’t needed… and neither was I.

For as much as I was able to “accomplish” this year, or for all the relationships I was able to form, my students would have been just fine without me. The teachers would have pulled together to cover my classes, or perhaps the management would have looked to hire another person. The church would have continued to grow and learn, and its efforts in reaching out to the community would have still seen fruit.

Korr didn’t need me.

-HOWEVER-

I can’t deny the smiles or laughter or determination my pupils had during classes. I can’t overlook the times when they invited me into their homes or introduced me to their parents. And I can’t forget the tears that were wiped away on many of their teenaged faces as they said goodbye to their Madam.

No, I wasn’t needed, but because of my time there, maybe, just maybe, I was able to make a difference.


I tried my best to be a good teacher- to help progress my students in English and Math. But honestly, at the end of the day, I just wanted them to feel loved. That through a smile, an open door at my house, or even extra help on their homework, that they would know that I cared for them individually- a tiny reflection of the immense love that God has for them. And I do believe that God allowed me to positively impact many of their lives, just as they did mine. God used us all in big ways.


All throughout the world, there is a lot of need. People are devastated by disease, starvation and disaster. Children go without homes, parents, medication. The poor may lack hope, joy, or faith.

As Christians, we cannot ignore God’s commands to look after those who want. But lest we get prideful in thinking that we are the solution, we are quickly reminded that God himself could, in a moment’s flash, wipe the earth clean of all of its problems and faithlessness. God doesn’t need us, but he desires us.

Just this past week, I learned in a new way how God doesn’t see us as tools to fix problems, but rather as children whom he loves dearly. He cares so, so much more about what He does IN us, rather than THROUGH us, because He wants our identities to be based in Him, not in our service to Him. And as we ground ourselves in Him, out of us will flow action to show the world of His great love.

“The harvest is plentiful but the workers are few. Ask the Lord of the harvest, therefore, to send out workers into his harvest field.” [Matthew 9:37-38]

So, may I get bold and ask my Christian friends what is stopping you from also going into a community outside of your own and sharing God’s love? None of us are meant to be the Savior for a community, but we can proclaim of the true Savior. We can joyfully share that God is complete without us, but he has pursued us and continues to pursue us with a relentless love. We CAN make a real difference as we also remember the One who makes all the difference.

I understand that it is not for everyone, but perhaps it’s for more of us than we will confess. Sure, there are real reasons to hold you back and also real excuses. But I’ve met every kind of person here in Kenya- single and married, with loans and without, with no children and with five children, working and retired, extroverted and introverted- you name it, they’re here.

What if you got bold and asked the Lord of the harvest if you are meant to be the next worker?

It can be a scary place to be in, but few things are as satisfying or fulfilling. God doesn’t need us, but oh, what a joy to be used by Him.

Tuesday, November 12, 2013

Not So Different After All

It was several months ago, when the end was only a myth and when goodbyes were still far off in the distance. A teacher from school, trying to further his education- a story so common here in Korr. It was a simple request, really.  He just wanted to check his school’s status, check his registration. Something so easy yet so difficult without access to internet. So he asked me, his mzungu friend, for a few minutes of my time and my computer, a request that I couldn’t deny.

We casually walked home from school, making a stop in town before reaching my home as the sun was making its way toward the horizon. The internet at the time was touchy- so we went to the back porch to get closer to the signal as we waited for pages to load. I followed his directions as he told me to click here or type there, but before I realized what exactly we were looking for, I saw the words- written in red and thickened in bold type to ensure that we did not miss their important message.

Your registration was NOT accepted for any of your courses due to a competitive nature.

My heart sunk as I looked to him and watched him process those words. He was set back, to be sure, but his resolve was still there. At his wish, I clicked a few other links, and suddenly, before us was an opportunity for a second-chance registration. As I scanned information about this renewed hope, I saw another important message indicating the deadline. I looked at the date then looked at the corner of my screen. We were five days late.

The brief moment of hope had been quickly dashed by reality. Normally things are done very slowly here within Kenya, so my friend thought he had plenty of time. Without a way to check the information, a deadline had passed unbeknownst to him, taking part of his future with it. We clicked around some more, but this time I knew that we could not avoid the inevitable.

I watched the disappointment take root in his eyes, through his whole body. His eyes glistened as he lamented, “I wish I could have known. I wish. I wish. I wish…” I felt like I was an intruder on what should have been a private moment between him and God. I wanted so badly to somehow change this outcome, but we were powerless against a seemingly unfair system.

After some time, with this information now fully sunken in, he got up the courage to begin his walk home. And as he did, I found a spot where I let my own tears fall. He was top in his class, with a quick mind and an eagerness and exuberance for learning, not unlike my own high school experience. Why did I have the pick of universities at my fingertips, while his dreams were left at the doorstep? Why could I fritter away time on the internet when he couldn’t even use it to set up his own education? I was left with bigger questions than I could attempt to answer, but throughout it all, one truth rang loudly.

We’re not so different after all.

I don’t think I can ever forget the look I saw on his face that day, and my words to convey that will certainly fall short. But haven’t we all been there? To look into the eyes of someone we care about only to see raw disappointment, regret, or failure? Or to see that same expression when we lift our heads and see our own reflection in the mirror?

So much wants to declare to me that I am different here. The color of my skin, style of my clothes, or accent of my speech make a loud statement that I am a foreigner. But as I learned that day, there is far more that bring us together than keeps us apart. Joy and pain are not foreign to anyone, and perhaps they unite us more than we realize.

We have all been fashioned in our mothers’ wombs by a loving God who created us in His image. We have the capacity for goodness because He is good. So when we extend a hand in kindness or utter a word in encouragement or offer a smile in joy, we reflect God who authored kindness, encouragement and joy for us all. And when we feel the effects of a sinful world, as hearts are broken or trusts are betrayed or dreams are unfulfilled, we are reminded of this same God who sees our hurt and hurts with us all. The God who provides for all a way for hope that can never be destroyed- for a life that will one day be untainted by the effects of sin and circumstance.

That famous verse doesn’t talk about God only loving Americans or only loving Africans. It doesn’t say he loved those with a specific shade of tan or brown skin. It doesn’t say He loved one language, culture, or physical place more than the other. No, rather, he loved the world. And since I am in the same world as my dark brown, Swahili-speaking, skirt wearing Kenyan friend next to me, then I know that we also have so, so much in common.

“For God so loved the world, that he gave His one and only Son, that whoever believes in Him, will not perish, but have everlasting life.” [John 3:16]

I fully understand that backgrounds and upbringings and cultures will create differences between people within this world, and I believe that we should celebrate what makes us each unique. But as we celebrate the differences, I hope that we will also celebrate the numerous similarities.

I urge you not to forget that we live not just within our own town’s, state’s, and country’s borders, but within the context of this whole world. Make decisions and priorities and prayers that show that we, too, care about this entire world as God does. Because really, we’re not so different after all.

Enjoying fresh fruit- a rare treat in the desert!

Who says men can't wear skirts?

Laughter, a universal language.

PS. It is with great joy that I can say that my friend was able to make necessary connections with schools over the August holiday in Nairobi. A farewell party held for me this past weekend was actually held for the both of us, because he will be leaving to start school in January J

Sunday, October 13, 2013

When Bullets Fly


Following our second full week in school, I looked forward to a lesson-free Saturday spent at my friend’s house. The plan? To turn my very mzungu hair into a braided piece of artwork. I woke up without an alarm clock, enjoyed a slow morning, and casually walked over to her house a little past noon.

After spoiling me with a tasty lunch, I sat in a chair, and her fingers got to twisting. We talked about life in Kenya and America, sang to music played on a cell phone, and interacted with the numerous visitors who walked through her doors. Thanks to my full head of hair, I quickly realized that it was going to be a lengthy process!


 About 4 hours and 4 dozen braids later, I had transformed from majority-American to majority-Kenyan.


By that time, the sun was lowering in the sky, so she and another friend accompanied me back to my house. As I fixed a simple dinner for us, I noticed a message from a friend waiting for me online. Something about gunmen and Nairobi. Shocked, I assured her of my safety and quickly looked for more information.

What came up on google horrified me- unfolding terror within a mall in the capital city. Masked assailants loaded with every sort of weaponry taking aim at innocent people. Dozens killed and many trapped. Many fleeing, but also many maimed by the flying metal. The terrorists still wreaking havoc inside.

The stark contrast grabbed me. Here I sat in a tranquil environment, when in my same country, people sat hidden, praying to find a moment to sit in safety. I had eaten my lunch, interrupted only by visitors and shared company, while others had eaten their lunch, interrupted by grenades and hatred. As I walked by Muslims and Christians and traditionalists all doing life together, individuals were being targeted for their lives in the name of religion.

For days, the world was captivated by the headlines of the on-going siege. We hung on to every update, waiting for the much anticipated news that the attackers were either killed or in custody. But the sigh of relief was only brief following the end, for the damage was deep and many questions remained. What exactly happened inside? How could this atrocity occur? What about those who are missing?

 The flag at school flies at half-mast following the attack

It’s hard for me to not wonder if the roles had been reversed. I had been in Nairobi only the month previously, and during that time, had spent a long Sunday afternoon in a mall picking up groceries for the coming term. What if they had decided to strike then? What if I had been in the check-out line when explosions suddenly ripped through the air?

But these questions aren’t just limited to people within the developing world. Rather, they are ones that anybody could ask, as even last year, gunmen entered malls, movie theaters, and even elementary schools in America.

And frankly, the questions are never done being asked.

Any of us could be going about our daily lives when we unexpectedly find ourselves lurched into the middle of the world’s next tragedy. It’s a sobering thought, to come to terms with the fact that our own security is out of our reach. And that thought brings to mind a verse that both encourages and challenges me.

“Do not be afraid of those who kill the body but cannot kill the soul. Rather, be afraid of the one who can destroy both soul and body in hell.” [Matthew 10:28]

Really? Don’t fear the person who points an automatic weapon in my direction with his finger on the trigger? Don’t fear the drunk who gets behind the wheel? Don’t fear the person who lurks in the dark, waiting for a moment of power?

In an unsecure world, where can we find our security?

The answer comes as sure as the sunrise in the morning. As clear as the night sky over the desert. As resounding as the blasts on that fateful day.

Security is found in the God of the Bible, who is loving and faithful and sovereign.

As terrifying as those scenarios seem, that verse couldn't speak more truth. With our security found in God, this life is only the beginning. When we die, whether by natural or man-caused reasons, Christians know that we will begin an eternal time of joyous being with our Lord. No person or event can take away our relationship with God, and as a result, cannot take away our true security. Rather, we should fear Satan, who works to convince people that they don’t need God, and works to destroy the faith of those who do believe. A human can destroy our body, but cannot touch our soul. If we die apart from God, then Satan is privy to both our body and soul.

In our raw moments, we might admit that even this knowledge feels empty. When bullets stop hearts or when disease tears through a body or when a mind is born malformed God doesn’t seem loving or in control. And when we don’t understand or can’t understand, I must compel myself to remember that God has a much farther-reaching perspective than I do. “‘For my thoughts are not 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 than your thoughts.’”  [Isaiah 55:8-9]

But God doesn't allow circumstances and then force you to deal with the consequences alone. Using the same analogy, the psalmist declares that that is absolutely not the case. “For as high as the heavens are above the earth, so great is his love for those who fear him.” [Psalm 103:11]

I know that the God who created the world and has formed every child in his mother’s womb, deeply loves each individual on this earth and desires to be in a personal relationship with every single one.  I know that He, who knows us to our depths and yet still pursues us, has promised good for anyone who follows Him. I know that the One who authors both blessing and hardship has won the ultimate victory so that we can share in that with Him for eternity.

None of us can ever guarantee our livelihood. Our life is short and passing, regardless of whether we live to be 100 years or only 25. We can’t determine when we will take our last breath. Before we do, in whom will you place your trust?


[Note: Nobody within AIM was injured or killed within the attack, although some families were initially trapped inside, and many had friends who were affected. Please continue to pray for peace within this country, for comfort of those who have physical, emotional, or psychological wounds, and for the truth of the gospel to penetrate hearts and minds as a result of this tragedy.]

Saturday, September 14, 2013

Christina Alice

Here in Korr, names are usually taken quite literally.

Chulayo (“born in the night”) was given his name because he was …born in the night!

Kulamo (“to gather”) has her name because…. many gathered for her birth!

Sofo (“faster”) was named because he came from his mother…faster! 

 Daniel, Elizabeth, Mercy, and Joseph--
(also known by their Kenyan names)
Dagti, Lagoya, Ntare, and Incaracha

The adults I talk with find it quite strange to name a child before they are born. How will you know the circumstances surrounding the birth- whether it’s raining or daytime or underneath an acacia tree?

Like most of you reading this, I was given my name before I was born. With my older sister Jackie as a cue, my parents avoided their first choice of Jillian in fear of a lifetime of mockery (Jack and Jill went up a hill…) and instead settled on Christina.

When it came to a middle name, the choice was more clear. After my sister had been named after my mom’s mother, I would be named after my dad’s mother.

Alice.

I have to admit, when I was six years old, I wasn’t thrilled with the name Alice. It felt out-of-date, and I secretly envied those with more modern, cool names. But over time, I came to see the beauty in being named after my grandmother, and greatly appreciated such an honor.

My grandmother was a special woman. She raised five children to love God and to live their lives in light of that love, with her life as a prime example. She was a leader within their church’s youth group, spurring on many young people to take their faith seriously, and to commit to following the Lord with their lives. She travelled the world with my grandfather, and they made friends wherever they went because of their friendly, compassionate demeanors. They even joined the Peace Corps after retirement because of their desire to make a difference!

It’s needless to say that I would not be who I am today or where I am today without the influence of my grandma.

My grandparents with their 4 children and my mom

A few weeks ago, my grandmother suffered a stroke and a few days later, passed away. Although it is always sad and tragic when a life comes to an end, my family can celebrate the incredible life she lived. We can celebrate the love she had for Jesus and the way she spent her life serving Him. And we can celebrate the fact that she is now in heaven with her Lord, and has seen him face-to-face! Her faith is no longer, for it has become sight.

There were many conversations on what I could do, what I would do. But ultimately, with it already being a natural break-time from school, the decision was easy. I wanted to go home, be with my family, and honor my grandmother and the legacy she left behind.

What a privilege to carry her name, to bear the name of Alice.


Yet there is another name I bear, an even higher privilege that I have each and every day of my life. When I call myself a Christian, I am inherently bringing the name of Christ on my life. This is both an awe-inducing and fear-inspiring result of trusting and following after Him. To be considered worthy to have his name a part of mine? Unbelievable. To carry the weight of knowledge of his perfect name collided with my very imperfect life? Somewhat terrifying.

"Everyone who calls on the name of the Lord will be saved." [Romans 10:13]

But what is perhaps most astounding of all is the fact that Christ loves me, loves each of us so much that he wants us to have his name. He wants us to take his name, even knowing that we will sometimes take it and misuse it, drag it in the mud behind us, or at times be ashamed of it or ignore it altogether. As Christians, sometimes we do a pretty poor job of representing Christ, but that doesn’t change who He is. I pray that when people look at flawed Christians (all of us), they would not think differently on the person of Christ, but rather see the God who wants to redeem imperfect people and call them His own, faults and all.

So today, as I reflect on my grandmother and my Savior, perhaps you, too, will consider the names you bear. More than anything, I hope that you would carry the name of Christ and live in response to the life he lived, the life that changed this world.

We do not become who we are alone. We all live in the light of someone’s legacy.

Whose do you live in?

Sunday, August 18, 2013

One Thousand Gifts

Okay, I admit it. I really dislike grading compositions.

I never imagined what being an English teacher would exactly entail. I was more focused on the people and the students and the setting. It wasn’t too much of a surprise, however, when I realized that I would need to assign, and thus grade, writings for each week.

It didn’t intimidate me at first. Everything was new and exciting and even reading their writings gave me a greater insight into the lives of my students. But over time, I knew my students quite well and the novelty wore off. It’s a monotonous and times-taking task, and correcting the same mistakes each time around can get discouraging.

During the last week of the second term, as my mind was looking for some distraction after hours of reading and correcting, I decided to count how many compositions I had given (and therefore graded) since the school year started. I flipped to the beginning of a student’s composition book and turned each page, smiling as I remembered the various topics. Finally, I reached the last writing, ending my count at an even twenty.

Twenty-seven students in my 7 East Class and twenty-three students in my 7 West class totals fifty students. And 50 students with 20 compositions each rounds out to a solid 1,000 compositions. Now that’s a lot of grading.


Just as the math teacher in me tried to figure out how many hours of grading that equaled, I was struck by the seeming coincidence of the number. For weeks, I had been treating myself to a chapter of a new favorite book of mine whose words had been providing me encouragement and inspiration in a fresh and insightful way. And the irony that stood before me then was that the title of this book shared the number of how many compositions I had worked through.

One Thousand.

Or, more specifically, the full title:

One Thousand Gifts.

The author writes from experience how she was challenged to incorporate thankfulness into every aspect of her days. Her words dance across the page, illustrating her experiences in a way that allows you to be right there with her, and illuminating her insights in a way that invites you to grab hold of them for yourself. She relates her journey of looking for God’s grace in every moment, whether beautiful and enlivening or dark and hopeless. She dares to express her gratitude no matter the situation, counting her gifts all the way up to one thousand (and beyond!) The book recounts the radical transformation that happened within her heart, ultimately enabling her to live fully.

With that backdrop in mind, my perspective began to shift.

The ability to express yourself through words? A gift!
The capacity to identify a life by the familiar strokes of their pen? A gift!
The chance to aid a child in achieving their hopes and dreams? A gift!
The mental capability to analyze and understand? A gift!
The cool breeze that refreshes while you work? A gift!
The aptitude to learn and grow? A gift!
The opportunity to love? A gift!

Certainly this is only the beginning of such a list, a counting of blessings.


And all of these gifts come from a most giving Father. The God who gives so that we might experience abundant life. Who gives purpose and love and strength and mercy for our days. For days when we remember, and for days when we forget. For days when strength invigorates, and for days when energy lacks. For days when hope rises, and for days when questions surround.

This God is the One who didn’t even stop short in giving of His Son because of His love for us.

Right now, I’m on school holiday, enjoying a bit of a break away from the sometimes endless tasks that lessons can bring. But in a few weeks, I’ll lift my broken piece of chalk to the board and prompt fifty students to write. And when I do, I’ll keep the truths of this book and the truths of my God lodged in the forefront of my mind. To give the outlook and perseverance necessary for the task. But ultimately, so that I can enjoy each moment that God has given me.

To live life with thanks, to live life fully.



(Jesus said) I have come that they may have life, and have it to the full.’” [John 10:10b]

PS. The author's name is Ann Voskamp. Go ahead now.