Opened Eyes

Yo from Nigeria! I literally could probably start writing now

and not stop writing until we head to the airport again.  I’m in absolute awe already. Cannot begin to describe with the words in my vocabulary this place.  The people are beautiful, the landscape is beautiful, the city is broken, and my favorite part God is here.  Not that this is a shocking revelation, from Truth we know that it is true, but y’all how beautiful to spend the last day on planes to get to the other side of the world, and show up and get to see, feel, taste, touch the move of God just as powerful here as it is in America.  When my heart gets super anxious, as I lay here and can’t sleep, as I stare at a culture that no part of me understands, these words are my comfort–He is here.  He never leaves.  Literally is willing to dwell inside of me. Guiding, Leading, and Comforting me every single step of the way.  Real talk- my heart is waking up and breaking all at the same time.  My prayer continually for the last five hours or so has been Lord don’t ever let me forget what You are showing me here.  Y’all we are so so so blessed.  It’s unreal.  Not just with material things, yes, those, too though.  But man with families, with His love, with an understanding that our God is relational and passionate about us as His own people for His own glory & for our good.  I have been in Africa for under seven hours and I already want to sit down and write a thousand thank yous, first to Jesus, and then to my incredible parents, family, best friends.  Just saying hey I absolutely love you, and everything the Lord continually teaches me and challenges me with through you.  In a couple of weeks when I get back, please prepare for the biggest hugs of our friendship. Although I am up writing this because I can’t sleep because I am so nervous and scared, I am resting in God being everything He says He is, His active word, His nearness, and am rejoicing in this opportunity to be shaken up, woken up, broken, and just real about the incredible blessing it is to know Jesus as Savior, Lord, and friend– the the beautiful honor it is to share that with others.  Since my feet have hit African soil, my eyes stay on the verge of tears, for a gillion reasons…here is one God- in HIs absolute grace and mercy extended to me through Jesus on the Cross the incredible opportunity of being reconciled back to Himself, of being in true relationship with Him.  By His Spirit, He got my attention through everything.  Through my idols (basketball, relationships, etc.), through my hardness of heart, through my brokenness, through my sin, through my shame, through my hurt, through my materialism & worldly gain & contentment, He got through to me.  Even when I thought the key word was my and me, He restored it with HE!   He pursued me, and swept me off of my feet.  Jesus on the Cross conquered my sin, debt, and death–and now we get to celebrate being reconciled back to relationship with Abba. That is real.  That is truth.  Here is what makes my eyes swell with tears, that message, the FULL gospel message, conquers just as much on poverty stricken African soil as it does on entitled American soil.  He pursues His people, and He wins.  Nothing can stop His love. ever.  I pray that in these next two weeks I am just overwhelmed by that love, and that He uses me as HIs vessel to simply pour it out on HIs people here.  In a few hours I will get on a plane to a village, and then get out to meet and hug kids that have covered my walls for the last ten months.  Our God truly is greater.  He does more.. And I am so thankful tonight that it is all about Him.  I pray that no matter what we’re doing today, whether we are in a third world country, or you are sitting at home with your family, or maybe at your desk at work you are absolutely captivated by the love of Jesus, by the Gospel, by the fact that tomorrow we celebrate, and everyday we get to celebrate the RISEN, REIGNING, LIVING SAVIOR!  Y’all we get to carry His Name everywhere we go, for HIS glory, and by His grace, and in His joy! I pray that as we do that today and everyday we never forget the incredible blessing and honor that it is.  Love that family well today, work unto Jesus today, rejoice in Who He is, and who has called you to be!  I will write more from the Starling home tomorrow! yayay!! Thanks so much for the continual prayer- I truly feel so lifted up and encouraged in this process.  Cannot wait to share with you a gillion stories in a couple of weeks when I get back to the states, in the mean time I will blog on! Bt dub Story reminder #1- Customs- it’s a good one, and for the first time in my life I was so thankful that my parents had me watch all those McGruff drug dog videos as a kid- I used to practicing saying no with the videos and today I got to put it into practice! He is good y’all so so good! In His Sweet Grace with firmly planted ready feet on this African Soil! Psalm 56:3 – so thankful for this Truth- and John 15:5. Come on! lets go!

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