Tuesday, October 2, 2012

Water.

My heart is full.
Have you ever had a heart so full it seemed impossible to start pouring it out?
I have no idea where to begin in recounting my experience to you.
That's why the two-week silence. 
I've been home from Kenya for two weeks...

Snippets. That's all I can manage.
No big, sweeping, novel-esque tales of grandeur. 
Bite-sized bits.
That's how I'll do it.
And hopefully I'll be able to convey even half of my heart to you.


Let me start with Britt's first bath after my return.
The water poured from the faucet.
Clean, sparkling, clear.
Loads of it.
A bathtub full.
And it startled me like a shock of lightning. 
I'm bathing my child in gallons upon gallons of drinking water cleaner than most kids in Africa have ever seen.
Cleaner water than they've ever bathed in.
Cleaner than they've ever drank. 

The water I saw there...
the water that mothers dip out of the river and bring to their babies' lips;
wretched.
Dark with waste.
Smelly.
Disease-ridden.

I fumbled with the faucet; turned the water off.
I couldn't get it to stop pouring forth fast enough.
Britt took a shallow bath that night.
And I sat there, trembling, thanking God for such extravagance and wondering...
why?
Why is this for me...this tub full of shimmering water.
And that is for them...that river barely moving; garbage lining the edges; filling broken cups with it and drinking.
Water I wouldn't even bathe my baby in...


I don't know why.
God didn't tell me.
All that I know is he calmed my questioning that night.
I know that God holds the whole world in His loving hands.
I know that to whom much is given much is required.
I know that He loves those beautiful babies as much as he loves my beautiful babies.
I know that I don't deserve any of His grace or his gifts.
And I know that he gave me this experience to open me up in new ways. 

The calm that has settled in my heart has nothing to do with having become complacent and hardened to their plight.
It has everything to do with trusting that God has a purpose for it all,
and there is a place for me in that purpose.


...More to come.


4 comments:

Andrea said...

SO BEAUTIFULLY WRITTEN ASHLEY. CAN'T WAIT TO HEAR MORE ABOUT YOUR TRIP. WHAT A BEAUTIFUL AND BLESSED THING TO BE ABLE TO SERVE IN THIS WAY.

jek said...

In all the times I have had the privilege of serving a community in another country, having an experience where I get to see God moving in ways I hadn't thought of...there is one constant for me that I have learned to be of the utmost importance.

Reflection, and the kind that moves my soul to create life change...in the smallest and biggest ways.

There is so much good stuff that happens while we are "there" serving. Good things that we are able to bring and do. But I always returned home with the feeling that I learned more from them than I was really able to give.

Also, our time there is temporary. But the way it changes our souls is forever, and it affects how we make decisions moving forward. Its always amazing to see in time how one experience, one person, one week....can impact a person, a family, a community.

I realize that I'm not saying anything you don't already know. This beautifully expressed post just moved me to reflect again on my own experiences and see how God really has changed me and in so doing has impacted those around me because I love differently (better) than I would have otherwise.

Thank you for sharing your reflections with us!

My Froley said...

Wow, what an eye opening experience it must have been. I travelled around africa once, but didn't really go into the poor parts as I was travelling with a wealthy family, but we drove through/past them and what I saw (the shanty towns etc) shocked me even from a distance. It does make you thankful, and as you said, ask why!?

I am holding a giveaway over at my blog today

http://myfroley.blogspot.com

Stacy said...

I just read a great book and thought to recommend it to you just in case you hadn't read it yet, and then read this post- and WOW! Amazing journey God took you on.

Blessings to you!

Oh- and the book: The Language of Flowers, by Vanessa Diffenbaugh. I'm certain you'll love it.