A lot of people go to Africa either to find God or to serve Him. I came for neither, but I’ve ended up experiencing both.
It breaks my heart that God still speaks to me after all I’ve done. There is an ache panging my soul with the knowledge I’m forgiven. Not a bad ache, but a surprised ache that has me searching for more of this love I have yet to understand.
It started on my run. Running in the beautiful mountains of Africa is one gift I haven’t wasted or taken for granted. I run almost everyday, and it fill me with thankfulness and stems a desire to know where this creation has come from. A desire for the Creator.
Thoughts started coming to me throughout these runs. Memories that I used to pride myself in started flooding my mind now with shame. Flashbacks of days of hidden insecurities, vulnerability abused, and affection of men surfaced my mind with remorse. An identity and reputation that was once held highly was suddenly making me sick.
And though I haven’t been on the best terms with God lately, though I’ve wasted so much time in deep seeded rage and doubts that caused unbelief, I heard the quiet forgiveness go past my mind and far within my heart. “As far as the East is from the West…”
Knowledge of forgiveness has opened a door for knowledge of love.
And I’m experiencing the reality of a love I’ve never known, a love I’ve questioned and doubted. I’m finding truth, not in blind naivety and wishful hoping, but in the present realness of life.
God is making me fully alive. Not because I’ve studied my bible every morning, or because I’m traveling with encouraging Christians (in fact, I didn’t even bring my bible, and I work for maybe Buddhists – who are, in fact, possibly the most wonderful people I’ve ever met). But God is making me fully alive I guess just because He’s choosing to do that. Because He wants to.
And I’m saying Yes. I don’t think my ‘yes’ is out of neediness and desperation, although it’s true I am needy and desperate as a human (as a woman, as one who needs forgiveness). My ‘yes’ is out of a thankfulness and love I didn’t know still existed inside. A response, really, to what I’m experiencing of God.
It’s not all good days, and it’s not all bad days. But it’s all fully alive days, fully present days that aren’t hidden behind cell phones and selfies, unnecessary busy-ness, comfort food or relationships. It’s experiencing all; the sunshine and the rain, the joy and the sadness, the fullness and the want. Fully alive.