Tuesday, 14 February 2012

“Everybody, everybody wants to LoVe! Everybody, Everybody wants to be LoVeD…”-Ingrid Michaelson lyrics

I am not much of a enthusiast of this day the commercial world has made into a ‘holiday’, but I am thankful today and these first two months of 2012 that in the midst of the business of life, the joys and sorrows, the work and fun, God is answering my prayers and is leading me in the long journey of knowing, growing, and understanding LoVe…that He is LoVe…how to LoVe as He is and does…

I thank my Lord for His life of love. I thank Him for His Word and the instruction and teaching it provides me for what LoVe truly looks like and means. I especially thank God for the people and opportunities that He has placed in my life daily to practice and be challenged to LoVe God and others:

LoVe is patient and kind
LoVe does not envy or boast
LoVe is not proud, rude, self-seeking, or easily angered
LoVe does not keep record of wrongs or delight in evil
LoVe rejoices in the Truth
LoVe always protects, trusts, hopes, perseveres
LoVe never fails…
1 Corinthians 13:4-8 (adaptation)

I also thank my Lord for the many people and opportunities that God has blessed me with to be LoVeD on both sides of the big pond in all areas of life! Above it all I am learning that I could not be more LoVeD than I already am by the Savior of the World and I am learning to place Him as my first LoVe in return with all of my heart, soul, mind, and strength!

It is my prayer for each of us reading and following this blog and God’s work here in Uganda that over time we all would come to know and share that same LoVe of Christ who came while we were still sinners and died for Us! It is this that makes me believe that He is continuing to patiently form me and each of us into His beautiful workmanships...and for the hope of transformation through His LoVe I can not be more grateful when I look within and around me...

“[I am so] Lucky to be in LoVe with my best friend [Jesus]…”-Amos Lee lyrics 
(A year ago...even a few months ago I wouldn't have been able to say this...It shows God is transforming and shaping me and I praise Him!)

Much LoVe and blessings to each of you this week! May each of us come to know and experience the depth of true LoVe this week, month, and year and may we find it spilling over to others!

melanie joy

Here are a few of the easiet moments of loving captured over the past few days :)
My sweet and stubborn companion for the day "Sophia" in one of the fishing camps 
My dear friend, a nurse here, Lucy's newest addition...a baby boy!! Meeting Auntie Melanie/Auntie Joy for the first of many many times!

Lucy and baby...Proud and happy first time Maama!

One of the many little boys being born to the nurse's at Mengo hospital! Wee 5 months old John and I enjoyed some precious love and play time together when visiting this week!

Tuesday, 7 February 2012

"They will be called oaks of righteousness, a planting of the Lord for the display of His splendor." Isaiah 61:3

Sometimes I feel more like papyrus swiftly flowing down the Nile through the rough and tumble of the current rather than an oak tree steady and strongly grounded on the bank of the river displaying God's splendor...but all that to say I praise God He hasn't given up on finishing the good work He started in me and I hope I am becoming such an "oak" as I have seen and heard in others who so uniquely and distinctly display the splendor of our King! 

I said I'd write on the weekend and I like to be a woman of my word, so I'm still calling this "my weekend" although really I don't believe my weekend ever started...Maybe that gives you an idea of the background to those quotes and verses that I began with last entry...

"NEVER tire of doing what is right."-2 Thessalonians 3:13
The phone rings or I meet with a friend and am slammed time after time with the reality of pain and joy, the rejoicing and the suffering in life...Deaths, births, illness, broken families, abuse, restored relationships, legitimate fear of threat, effects of corruption, darkness and depravity of the human heart, accidents that lead to the upheaval of life, loss of jobs, dignity, food, rent, school fees, hope...(I know this is scattered but I hope it gives you a wee picture and gets you thinking. Each of these ideas all stem from real scenarios that have or are happening to people close to me in the past few weeks, weeks, not months or years even...). The seemingly insurmountable problems that I can not imagine facing on my own are the very opportunities that God is laying in front of me and all around me giving me opportunity to do right and walk as Jesus did along side people as I learn to love; to pray for wisdom for what to do when hope seems gone, and how to help bring relief or wisdom or encouragement as appropriate. 

I never cease to be amazed that as I ask God to teach me something very specific...along the barrage of lessons and opportunities to practice and see come! This year I'm striving to learn to live by and obey and make my first priority at all times the command in Matthew 23: 37-39 "Jesus replied, 'Love the Lord your God with all of your heart, with all your soul, and with all your mind. This is the first and the greatest commandment. And the second is like it: Love your neighbor as yourself." God is certainly answering my prayers for Him to teach me HOW to love Him first and then to love my neighbor as I would want to love myself. Before I used to love in the reverse order of this verse, but I'm learning and He's graciously teaching me, but like most lessons we ask Him to teach us and grow us in, it is not the easy way around. It takes opening up our hearts in order to love Him and others and opening our hearts means we open ourselves to the reality that we will FEEL, joy and sorrow. But something I am learning is that, "Where our [my/God's] work is there let our [my] joy be"-Tertullian. I think or hope I am beginning to understand or taste a bit of the joy in suffering that Paul so often talks about in the New Testament...It is not a happy feeling, it is hard to explain...it is JOY and joy isn't changed or removed when we're living right before God even if circumstances do plummet. It seems to be both a choice and a blessing...

My prayers are as follows each time I'm confronted now by such opportunities to find Joy through Love:

1) Thank you God for weaving me to be a woman who CARES deeply for people and for bringing me to a place of understanding that purpose that you've created me for and how nursing is a means to using it fully. Thank you for calling me to care for people as you did which often means walking hand-in-hand, kneeling side-by-side, and crying arm-in-arm.

2) "Teach me to number my days aright that I may gain a heart of wisdom...Satisfy me in the morning with your unfailing Love that I may sing for joy and be glad all my days."-adapted from Psalm 90:12 and 14.

3) Most of all right now, how do I love you 1st? Then how do I love my neighbor as I want to be loved? Thank you for your Word that teaches me what love is so I can learn how to apply it in each scenario brought to my heart each day..."Love is patient. Love is kind. It does not envy. It does not boast. It is not proud. It is not rude. It is not self-seeking. It is not easily angered. It keeps no record of wrongs. Love does not delight in evil, but rejoices with the Truth. It always protects. Always trusts. Always hopes. Always perseveres."- 1 Corinthians 13:4-8

4) Lord, teach me to trust that you love each person so so much more and far beyond what I will ever be able to! 

"I have been driven many times to my knees by the overwhelming conviction that I had nowhere else to go."-Abraham Lincoln I'm now beginning to realize and slowly learn that this is one of the best places I can be and best things I can do as I walk in love beside my brothers, sisters, friends, and loved ones.

Obudde Bugenze (Time has gone)!  Time for bed before waking early to travel again! Back to the islands until the weekend. I will fill you in with more detail soon...particularly with the island ministry, but also with the ministry that is my life here in Kampala. For now there's some of the food in my thoughts these days...Good night from Uganda!

May God bless and keep and grow us all in His grace and the knowledge of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ and the life of love He lived...