I'm on a journey with a set destination. Heaven! I want to journey well and bless those traveling alongside me. I don't want to sit - I want to make progress - everyday. But I know, I must feel the brush of His Robes, or I'll never make the climb. This blog will chronicle my journey, but more importantly, it will share my moments of reaching for the Robes of Christ.
Saturday, December 21, 2013
...what is needed more...
She sat at the round table, taking her
tea; it's a daily practice of hers. Most days I buzz by her
continuing on with the whirl of “doing” whatever it is that seems
so important at the time. But last week, I sat with her and we talked
Eve is a blessing to me, to our home,
to our puppies, to everyone. She arrives at our house singing every
morning. You can tell exactly where she is on the property if you'll
just pause to listen... she's always singing.
Two weeks ago while working in the
kitchen, I could hear dear Eve singing in the wash room (she calls it
her “store”). Always singing in Swahili, I can often recognize
the tune and enough of the words to know she's worshiping our Abba.
On this particular day, I thought I recognized the tune. It was a
song i'd heard so often in my childhood... “Come thou fount of
every blessing, tune my heart to sing thy praise... streams of mercy
never ceasing, call for songs of loudest praise..” Subconsciously,
unknowingly, I began singing in the kitchen the song her tune brought
to my mind. Oh what a comfort to sing that old hymn in this kitchen
sooooo far from where I had first learned it.
Sometime later, still kneading dough in
the kitchen and still singing, she comes mopping through the house,
still singing as well.
Both of us consumed in the work before
us, hardly noticed each other's presence ---- until...
simultaneously, we froze and looked at
we paused for about 10 seconds...
and then laughed ---- soul-laughed ...
I said, “Eve, where did you learn
“From a mzungu missionary when I was
a child.” she answered.
“Eve, do you know the words in
“Yes, but they come more freely in my
“Oh Eve, may I sing for you... and
you tell me if they are the words you learned long ago?” Her sweet
smile said, yes.
And I sang...
“Come thou fount of every blessing,
tune my heart to sing thy praise.
Streams of mercy never ceasing, call
for songs of loudest praise.
Teach me some melodious sonnet, sung by
flaming tongues above.
Praise the mount I'm fixed upon it,
mount of they redeeming love...”
I continued on with the next verse ---
as she began singing with me --- in her tongue.
In a kitchen in Kenya --- two daughters
worshiped you in different tongues with the same words, and you drew
near. We felt you as close as the air passing through our lungs.
… and You whispered “home” to me.
“you're beginning to understand what 'home' is really like”
How often have I shed tears over
missing home ----- and there's nothing wrong with that. Surely some
of those tears our Jesus cried were over the “culture shock” of
being so far from His real home... Heaven.
But still, singing to Him, with her, a
song from my childhood, from the other side of the world, and
feeling His Holy-skin-closeness... I learned something new of His
definition of home.
So as I sat with her for tea-time last
week, I should have known class was back in session. But some
learners are a bit slower than others...
We talked of the days she would
take-off for Christmas to be with her children. We talked of a
special meal we could plan for our two families to share during the
holidays. We talked of her daughter's recovery from a recent bought
of malaria. Then I asked, “Eve, we would like to bless you this
Christmas with a gift that will bless your home. But I do not know
what is most needed or wanted...” She smiled that timid, humble
smile and remained quiet. She's truly such a beautiful daughter of
So I said, “Last week in town I saw a jiko (cook stove used here) that is much safer than those usually
used. It uses less charcoal and it does not produce carbon monoxide.
I wanted to buy it for you Eve, but I felt I should ask you first.”
She said, “Mom, may I ask how much it cost?” “Yes, it cost 3800
ksh.” She gasped and said. “Oh mom, I have a good jiko that cost
me 250 ksh, and while the other might be safer... I will share with
you what is needed more.”
“Clothes for my children.”
clothes ---- for her children ----
shoes for their feet ----- food to cook on the jiko she already has
---- oh Lord.
For how many years have i viewed
Christmas presents through the lens of “what do they want...?”
But today, it is truly as it should
“what do they need...?”
It's surely the words you asked your
Holy self... even You who knows ALL... You looked down at Your
scrambling children and faced the words... “What do they need...?
And THAT is what You sent on that first
You did not send us what we would have
You sent us what was NEEDED.
We would have asked for this... or
that... and the gift would have been forgotten weeks later.
But You sent us what we needed. And now
over 2000 years later the Gift is still living inside us and being
offered again and again to those who haven't yet accepted it.
Eve's words --- “I will share with
you what is needed more...”
She didn't see my soul vibrate
when the words spilled out of her mouth.
“I will share with you what is needed
and YOU did.
Forgive me Lord for all the years I
spent trying to figure out what was “wanted more” ---- when there
is a whole wide world around me who is hoping someone will share with
them what is “needed”.
3 weeks ago, I visited dear Eve's home.
We are trying to find her a safer place to live, but in our driving
about one day, she invited us to come visit her children and see with
our own eyes “why” she is praying for a better place to live. She
raises 4 children, alone. Their father/her husband deserted her
before the last were born, twins, a boy and girl. She is thankful he
left, because with him left the beatings. She lives in a stick/mud
home with 2 windows (no glass) that is about 10x15. The two older
daughters sleep in chairs, while Eve and her 9 year old twins sleep
together on a twin bed. Small, crowded, dark --- but neat, welcoming,
and... dare I say it... Holy. There was a sure sanctuary in that tiny
space. She is a beautiful daughter of the Most High God.
“I will share with you what is needed
It's taken 51 Christmases to get me to
this place of understanding ---
You shared with us all what was needed
----- forgive us for warping it into wants Lord.
May I be a daughter who remembers,
truly remembers, Your Gift ---- You gave us what was needed. And You've placed us in a world full of needs... needs trump wants...
You showed us that didn't You?
Last week, I had a private crying
I cried because I couldn't go shopping
with my daughter, walk through the Christmas lights, listen
to Christmas music, have something warm to drink, share a Christmasy
evening with her...
Then I sat with dear Eve at the round
table --- and heard, “I will share with you what is needed more...”
Tomorrow she and I will go shopping...
in the open air market (the place where
the “discards” from wealthier places are sold) --- with no Christmas
sights or sounds.
It will be dirty and dusty and it likely won't smell very good at all.
But our thoughts will be steady on “what is
needed more” ---
My Christmas looks different, yes. But
it's being Authored by the One who cares most about “what is needed
I'm learning Lord...
Merry CHRISTmas ---
may you get “what is needed more”.