31 December 2014

Keep on keepin on.

Hi y'all,

First of all, cheers to a new year!  This is a post that has been in the making for quite awhile but seemed it needed to end up being on the day we finish off 2014 and welcome in 2015.  Let me explain this picture above that speaks depths to my heart and hope it encourages yours.  Let's pretend you're reading a chapter in a book I have, rather than a quick short post on a blog :).  Because I feel this might be long.  

Since moving out to Mattaw, I started running out in the villages around where we live now.  And my oh my how much different I view this area, in a good way.  There's something about actually walking/running in an area that'll give you a heart for it as opposed to just driving through.  Since I started the journey of running in 2008, my runs aren't about doing half marathons, although we've done a hand full and I enjoy them.  But the best runs have been when I'm out on a red dirt bumpy road with blue skies and the occasional super cute little kenyan kids that'll yell "mzungu!" and run for a few minutes with me.  It's on those runs where I can get vision and renewed purpose.  I started out this whole running thing after my first child to partly lose baby weight.  But to maintain a love for running, it had to be more about how it makes me feel energised and healthy.  Not about the weight.  And it had to get to a place where my mind could connect with Jesus.  (just a few tips and side notes for those that are trying to get into running, I've had a handful of people email and ask)  It's all in the head too :).  Mind over matter.  No pain, no gain.  (this is my history of being a coaches daughter coming out).  That was a side note.  

Several weeks ago, I set out to run with some of our older kids at Mattaw.  I mean, I wasn't really running with them but more like eating their dust while they ran ahead and sometimes wait for me.  This particular day it was two of our older boys and four older girls.  The boys were running twice as fast as I was (well, almost.  seriously.)  The girls would book it on the downhill or flat spots so when it came time for uphill, I kept my pace and could catch up (for a short time).  I especially would get a good dose of endurance when I could see up ahead some young guys walking towards our girls to say hi.  Yep, mama bear instinct works when you're running too!  Anyways, so we set out to run a certain distance and little did I know it would be more than a workout but a journey with these girls.  People often ask what our days look like here and we often find it hard to answer.  We can set out to do things but Holy Spirit often crashes in and will redirect our steps.  Or the frustrations of a developing nation will make getting things done longer than it should be.  But this was one of those days that Holy Spirit crashed in and as Heidi Baker says "stop for the one".  So I did.  Well to be exact, it was for the four.  Our girls didn't plan it and I sure didn't plan it.  We had no idea that the village these girls came from was exactly 3 miles away from the main road Mattaw is off of.  As we approached the turn that goes next to where they used to live, I caught up to some of them and asked if they wanted to go see if their relatives were still there.  They were surprised and excited to go.  At Mattaw, we try and keep the relationships with relatives of our kids but its very difficult to do when they come from very broken places.  All relatives are given the options of visiting kids on weekends or during holidays but so often they don't.  Thankfully some do though.  So as we walked down the road to the huts the girls used to live in, I had no idea what we would find, especially after remembering how the environment was when picking the girls in 2008.  Two are sisters that came from their aunt's house and the other two are sisters from their grandmother who is a neighbour to the aunt of the other girls.  We walked up to the aunt's house and she was out in her shamba (maize field) cleaning and sorting maize.  At first she didn't recognise the girls and then the closer we got, she realised who it was.  She went to greet the girls and then I saw the tears roll from her cheek.  I about lost it.  It was such a sweet reunion that I was thankful for the girls to have.  We found the aunt still living in similar conditions from when the girls were placed in our care and also found the aunt has 10 children.  She had her hands full to say the least but was working to bring in food to feed them all and that helped explain to the girls why their aunt hasn't visited them.  We were able to talk more with her and found out more history on our girl's family.  We then went to the other girls home and found the grandmother.  She also had not visited Mattaw in years.  When she saw how much one of the girls had grown, she thought our girl looked like their mom (the grandmothers daughter).  The grandmother went to a corner on her property and wailed and cried remembering her daughter.  It was hard but good for the girls to reconnect with where they came from.  It gets hard when kids ask many questions on where they come from and how much they want to go back and stay during holidays.  When we commit to children and bringing them into Mattaw though, we commit to walking through life with them forever.  This is a huge part of that journey.  And it requires much wisdom and relying on God.  No matter how hard their life was before Mattaw, they want to know where they come from and want to have a sense of belonging.  So although we don't have all the answers and often it can be painful to walk through this part of life with our kids, we have to keep going and keep trying.  Our God is one of reconciliation and our hope and prayer is that at some point, our children that want that restoration from where they come from, that it'll happen.  So the picture above came from that day.  And it was a rare moment of me being that close behind them :).  You've seen which country mostly wins in track in the olympics?  Yeah.  (There's more to the story as we went back to spend a whole day there and are planning to trace the rest of their family who are in Turkana but more on that later!) 

Then there was today.  Today was the perfect day to get in a last run in 2014.  It was good to reflect on how far we've come and where we are going.  Some of my runs have been alone but today, the same four girls wanted to run again.  We also decided it's time to actually train and find a race to have a goal to run.  This requires commitment but I'm thrilled to see them set goals and what a finish it'll be on race day.  But again, it was not a day I had planned but His timing is perfect.  As I ran I began to reflect on this past month and what a whirlwind it has been.  A lot of good, some hard and it's been a lot of transitioning.  Last week, with all the Christmas planning and preparation, we were very caught up in the busyness.  When Christmas day came, it was a beautiful day and I couldn't be more thankful for the celebration of Jesus we had with our Mattaw family.  Which by the way, you can read more on at the Mattaw website:  www.mattawchildren.com/uncategorized/a-merry-mattaw-christmas-2014.  

After Christmas day we crashed and have rested since.  It was a good rest.  A few mornings ago though, Holy Spirit woke me up and clearly spoke to my heart that now is not the time to sit back.  Often times, in a season where God wants to give more vision and purpose, my physical body will fight it at first and want to relax more.  This is not to say we are not to take times where we rest in His presence.  And it's definitely not a meaning to strive.  No striving.  But it's more of a standing up and moving forward into the promises God has given us.  I felt to get to this place I've had to keep my heart steady and keep going.  Falling into His strength and endurance.  And keep on keepin on.  Then I listened to a podcast from our home church and OH MY HEART, did it ever speak directly to what Jesus was already saying.  Here's the link:http://thegardenstc.org/faudios.php (titled "keep on speaking"). 

 So my encouragement as we move from 2014 to 2015 starts with the quote above on the picture.

"If you can't fly, then run.  If you can't run then walk.  If you can't walk then crawl, but whatever you do you have to keep moving forward" -Martin Luther King Jr. 

Because in some areas of life, we might not have it figured out, but we have to keep going and believing in God's promises.  Even when we don't feel like it.  We must choose to keep our eyes on our author and perfecter of our faith.  He is faithful!  

May 2015 bring us more fulfilled promises, more faith to believe, more hope restored, more abundant life and may Christ within you, the hope of glory, be a great big light in this world.  The dark seems to be getting darker in this world but we have the hope and promise that the light of Christ will get brighter and brighter until His return on this earth.  And I'll close with is this scripture that keeps rocking my world.  I hope it breaths life that'll give you the endurance, that maybe if you are crawling to move forward, that you'd start soaring and flying to move forward.

3Strengthen the feeble hands,
    steady the knees that give way;
say to those with fearful hearts,
    “Be strong, do not fear;
your God will come,
    he will come with vengeance;
with divine retribution
    he will come to save you.”
Then will the eyes of the blind be opened
    and the ears of the deaf unstopped.
Then will the lame leap like a deer,
    and the mute tongue shout for joy.
Water will gush forth in the wilderness
    and streams in the desert.
The burning sand will become a pool,
    the thirsty ground bubbling springs.
Isaiah 35:3-7


tori.heflin said...

I was very encouraged by this. Thanks for sharing Kim!

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