Monday, July 8, 2013

He knows the plans He has...

Every morning for 20 days now i've sat in our “office” here in Nairobi. “Office” is perhaps not the correct term. It's a lovely table sitting outdoors, sheltered by a brown umbrella and resting on carefully laid stones surrounded by lush green. It's a sitting area just feet from our room.

The Ha-Da-Da ibis flies over every morning and the hawk like Kites fly over head most all day long. Just miles outside the wild bustle and smothering fumes of Nairobi town, it's quite amazing how God has provided this oasis for this tired daughter.
Steve and i would have never chosen to be here and rest for this length of time. After all, there is much to do, we need to “get at it”. Right?
But before we can do another thing, we must have a safe, solid vehicle carrying us from here to there. We've paid drivers and asked for help from friends here as much as is permissable. But if we are going to serve here, we need to be able to be the ones offering help, not asking for it. And so our good God has chosen that while we wait for fund transfers and servicing and security systems to be installed in the vehicle He has chosen for us ---- we can do little more than ------ rest.
For the month prior to this big move – we worked, thought and prepared at a wild pace. In four short weeks, we moved out of our home of 31 years, closed on its sell, moved in with my sister and brother, planned final details and gave our daughter in marriage, then packed for four days, gave countless “farewells”, and flew to a new country. We've been running with the “hares” wishing for more “turtle time”. But, consistently we've trusted our Abba ---- perhaps He knew if we had too much time to ponder, we would become too timid. After all my Steve has waited for almost 13 years, and we've been diligently working to get to this place for over 2 years. So --- there is no murmuring or complaining over the quick pace of the past month; rather just at telling of it's intensity.

While God authored the timing of the weeks before our departure, we see his authorship of our days since we've arrived in Kenya as well.

This time of God-imposed-rest has given me time to visit many “rooms” inside myself ---- reorder them, cry over the ones that hold precious memories, but most of all, to be attentive to Abba's presence in each corner. To pause and “see” how He is rearranging things and allowing Him to re-clean what had become dusty.

As i sit here in my morning office, my eyes turn to the right and ponder the stone path the leads from where i sit to a lovely row of cottages at its far end. This pathway has caught my eyes dozens of times. Why? Well, it's a neat, clean, well trimmed pathway that curves back and forth slightly, just enough to be pleasing to the eye. The stones are laid carefully with attention to keeping the path level. The greenery surrounding the path is beautiful. At the other end of the path are chairs, inviting rest in flower-laden gardens.
Along the pathway there are attractive African-ish pots painted in green and yellow.

BUT, in the midst of all the careful landscaping and pleasant allure of the path ---- there are 3 black, ugly, “decorative” pots in the shape of large hand-grenades.

They do not belong on the beautiful path.
Oddly enough --- i find it is the 3 ugly, black grenades that have continually grabbed my attention. They are a curiosity. Why are they there? What were the gardeners thinking when they placed those three ill-fitting atrocities in the midst of the pleasant pathway?

This morning my eyes were once again pulled in the direction of the path.

Talking with God again, i thanked him for much. i had already begun my day by “reminding” Him of all the many loves in my heart who i daily hand to Him and thank Him for His care over them. He, Jehovah, can do all that is needed in their lives, i can do little more than love them. So as i began another day of watching for, listening to, sitting with, and praising Him ------ i whispered --- of my curiosity over the ill-placed grenades on the pretty winding path. (His Word says we can talk with Him about anything right?) :)
And instantly, almost like a gentle ocean wave lapping across my feet, i could see something that had been a mystery until that moment.

The two pretty decorative pots at the beginning of the pathway spoke of the sweetness we feel when we first come to know our Savior. In those first few days of feeling His nearness and knowing He has saved us, we are doubly blessed. We enjoy a season of “honeymoon” with the One who has given all for us as we first feel the depth of His true love.
Then time passes.
Still covered and still loved, however something usually happens that shatters our tranquil place of peace --- something akin to a grenade exploding. Something we thought we might be protected from still comes. Wounds from a friend. Betrayal of someone we counted on. Financial pressure or physical decline; requirements of life, we once again face times of distress ---- and we can begin to wonder ---- where did my Savior go?
It's a part of the path.
The One who Redeemed us and counts us among His kids has not left us or deserted us ---- but instead He is growing us, teaching us, peeling away things that must go and introducing us to things that will better serve us on our journey to a better place. But to our human-selves it can feel like a grenade has exploded.

It is then, if we cling to Him and trust His goodness------ we will find ourselves at a new curve on the path He is guiding us down. And another lovely decorative pot is found. Something we would not have been wise enough to even know to ask for. Something good and right and filled with blessings --- but not something our “old” selves would have sought after. We enjoy this portion of the path, it has hints of our honeymoon moments when all was well. But it's richer. We “know” our Lover better because we have endured hardship and felt His nearness. He has not left us when we stumbled or felt distress; we can speak of His faithfulness with a confidence that only comes with experience. We have stories laced with Him, and we know what it feels like to be carried through storms in His arms.

We enjoy the sections of peacefulness on the path.

Then we round another curve and another grenade is waiting. Another hit comes, another disappointment, another wounding, and we pause. We look at the “grenade” and wonder ---- why? What good could come from this ugly black thing being allowed on my path. Why Lord? Why must this painful black thing be allowed on my path?
And then we remember.
We've encountered dark “decorations” before. We endured. We learned and grew in different ways, we gained depth and courage, faith and hope when we journeyed past other bombs in our lives. We remember – we are not alone. The One who died for us will most certainly carry us through ----- and even more, He will prove His Greatness. He will use this painful impact to increase good inside of us. Only GOD can do that.
The enemy of our Lord will set off bombs in our lives to try and destroy us. After all, he is the one who seeks to kill, steal, and destroy.
But not our Yahweh.
El Shaddai holds our very lives in His hands as if we were most rare treasure. HE takes what was intended to harm us, touches it, and uses it for good in our lives and the lives of those around us.
The “grenade” goes off, we stumble over the impact. But our Father is there, very present, weeping if we weep but not feeling weak when we do. He is confident and certain of the plans He has for us. He knows exactly what He can do with the "explosion" --- He sees the possibilities even in the darkest sections of the lowest valley portions of our path. Nothing is beyond Him, nothing is a mystery to Him, nothing surprises Him. He knows the destination of the path we walk on, He will not be thwarted from carrying us through.

Everything along the path 
can be used by Him to transform us ----- 
from what we were ----- 
to what He sees in us.
Saul to Paul.
Simon the fisherman to Peter the Rock.
Hungry street boy to anointed minister.
Self-centered child to devoted mother.
Materialistic hoarder to generous giver.
Frightened hider to bold warrior.

He knows the plans He has for us ---- and they are not to harm us. But to give us a Hope and a Future. We read it clear in Jeremiah...

This pretty path beside me with the African pots and the black grenades ----- ends in front of an enchanting cottage. But just before it ends ---- there are two green and yellow pots on either side of the path. How interesting that the pathway begins and ends with pretty pots on either side. No grenades in those two places.
My time has not come to leave this world yet. But i suspect that for those who have walked the path and been transformed by the goodness of God on it --- even when explosions along the way had brought them to their knees --- i suspect in those last breathing moments, when they step off the path and into the place of promise ---- they will feel peaceful beauty on either side.

My first day in this temporary office, i had been tempted to ask the hotel management, “Why do you have the ugly black grenades on the pretty pathway leading to the cottages?”
Now, i'm oddly appreciative of their placement.
They're still not pleasant to look at, but my eyes have been opened to see a simple truth they represent as we travel our paths ---- this side of Heaven.

Years ago, i heard a minister preach on "The Rogue Wind". He said, "Everyone will experience a 'rogue' wind in their lives. If you're not in the middle of one right now, then either one is on the way or one has just subsided." i was horrified over his words. What young mother wants to hear those kind of words.
His message concluded with wise words, "It's not a matter of 'if' you will encounter rogue winds. It's a matter of how you will cope when the winds come. Will you run to the Savior and find refuge in Him or will you try and endure the storm on your own. If you choose the former, you will be blessed even in the hard storms. If you choose the latter, you will fall."
Now --- all these years later -----  i know his words to be truthful.
Rogue winds come --- grenades explode ---- no one gets through this world without pain.
No one.
But in our Savior --- we can find refuge --- no matter how hard the winds blow or how damaging the explosion. It's an inalterable truth ---

The Lord gives, and the Lord takes away ------ blessed be the name of the Lord.

May the grenades and the winds ------ only draw us into His lap ---- and allow God's Holy transformations to be accomplished.

©2013 Donna Taylor/Reaching for the Robe


  1. I am refreshed by this posting Donna. It is wonderful to be able to get a glimpse of a soul that the Lord has granted a heavenly binoculars. What you see no common man can see or apprehend; you flip open a page of heaven and it makes it wonderful to read the revelation of His grace and love and compassion. May the Lord of Hosts, in the heat of battle, whisk you to safety as He did with His angels to remove Lot and his family from harm. Greetings to my dear brother Steve. Laban

    1. Dear Brother Laban - you bless me deeply with your words. You yourself write so beautifully --- i'm even blessed that you pause to read my blog. Thank you for your encouragements to Steve and i. Isn't God quite amazing --- He has caused us to "swap" countries with one another for a time. May you be blessed and covered as you continue your days in the States. Thank you for covering us in prayer as we serve in your homeland.

  2. beautiful insights!

    what is the name of this place you are staying?

  3. wonderful message from the most high