I don't need God

This title may come as a shock to you. Keep reading.

I woke up every single morning knowing that I don't have the strength to make it through the day. My alarm went off at 5am and I had to ask the Lord for determination just to get out of bed. I just knew, being a mother to eighteen precious children that the day wouldn't be "normal." I needed that strength.

Once getting out of bed and helping get the girls up, wrapping plastic bags around their heads so their braids don't get wet. Giving them my soap because they always seem to run out. Helping the girls get ready for school and making sure they brushed their teeth, uniform on, shoes polished. Let me remind you that all this is happening before 7am.

Breakfast is always chaos and the children would grab their lunches (thankfully prepared the night before) and run out the door to school. The whole morning I would constantly be praying, asking the Lord for wisdom and clinging to His faithful promises.

Every morning would bring an unexpected twist. Whether the host mom would shout at the children, if the tea had enough sugar in it, which child would cry in the morning because some other other child stole something. The list continues. On some mornings, a child would be so upset as thoughts of not having any money, missing their parents or lack of parents would arise before the sun.

I needed God. I never knew if there would be enough food for the kids or me to eat. I would pray with such conviction for carrots in the fridge or some sort of vegetable. It rarely happened.

Even before 8am hit, without Jesus living in me I would have been exhausted. It's a lot to deal with and a lot of unknowns. It requires faith. It requires trust in a God that I can't visibly see but that I know and can feel throughout each moment of every day.

I could continue typing about the hundreds of times a day I would ask for His vision, strength, energy, unending love, patience, justice etc. Talking to God and relying on His strength became the normal because I knew I was nothing without Him but I always knew I needed Him. I knew 100% that what was required of me couldn't ever be done by my own strength. I needed something more.

Coming back to North America I've already stopped "needing God." I woke up this morning knowing that their would be food on the table- food I liked that wouldn't be starch that sat in my stomach making me fat and constipated all at the same time. I knew that there was someone I could call if needed. I knew that people had my day perfectly planned out (i'm at re - entry in PA) and I just had to get up and follow the schedule. I went to bed without the fear of rats and mice running around and keeping me up late into the night and a peace that I wasn't going to get robbed. Trying to comprehend not living in fear is a totally new concept that I forgot even existed. It's amazing how much people trust people here when it comes to stealing and being robbed. 

These past few days I've stopped praying for safety: North America is already safe - I don't need a God to keep me safe anymore. I've stopped praying for vegetables and relying on daily miracles to feed me and my children. I don't have eighteen children to look after, to hold them when they cry or discipline them when I catch them in my room "looking at all my things." 

I've realized this is going to be one of my major challenges. I still need God in North America. I desperately need Him every second of the day, it's just harder to see. It's harder to have visible faith. It's difficult to remember that when I die I can't take anything with me. I leave with just my soul: not a single earthly possession.

I have been thinking a lot about this "needing God" topic recently and it's almost easier to be a Christian living in poverty. The people I worked and lived with needed God. They needed to know that their life had a purpose, that there was someone out there who loved them so much that He would die for them. They were desperate for that truth and as I sat with locals or snuggled my children and told them these truths they accepted with such personal conviction. I reflect and wonder how that would play out in Canada. I think the first challenge for people in North America is allowing them to see that they need God, even though they have every 'worldly' thing. God is everywhere. Ephesians 4:6 says "one God and Father of all, who is over all, through all and in all." & God has called each one of us to live in life in complete sacrifice to Him, allowing Him to take care of our every need, rather than consuming and storing up everything.

I've fallen into the North American "i don't need God" lifestyle for a few days. I was so upset with myself but thrilled that God continues to pour grace and mercy over my life and picks me back up again.  I'm going to try and figure out how to live with faith like I did in Africa in North America. I want it to be obvious despite all the tangible stuff I have that I can't get through the day without my Jesus. Africa taught me a new faith - I want that faith to play out in Canada. 

Keep me accountable?


Last Day of Work

Another goodbye.

I have been having goodbye parties every night and day and it is getting exhausting. As much as I will miss Gateway and the "working life" I am so ready to be a student again!

18 more days. These days are filled with so much activity and fun but at any moment I feel like I could burst into tears. Trust me this has already happened many times.
I have to be COMPLETELY packed by Sunday mid-afternoon and that is a mission for a girl like me!

Lunch at work, birthday party tonight and a sleepover. Some important skype dates, writing goodbye letters and checking the last few things off my "bucket list for SA." Another farwell party for Jared and me and trying to finish packing. Goodbye lunch with my parents and host sister and night church.

Than the good byes will be done. & I can properly transition home.

*Breathe Maddie, just breathe. One hour at a time.
A diner out at the revolving restaurant at the Durban Harbour

this was my starter at the restaurant.. so fulling!

being "Western" again in prep for coming home:) Heels- check

Kelly and Dani- the ladies that got me through this year.

Mona Lisa loving

something I won't miss.... all the gates and barbed wire

so excited to leave all the fencing and security gates behind.

cooking South African meals! I can make this for you when I come home:)

Let the packing stresses begin Lying on a pile of clothes that don't seem to "fit" in my suitcase

The dinner I threw for my ladies to thank them for ALL the love and hospitality over the year

Mark and Anne- my host parents I will miss so deeply

another dinner with friends saying goodbye- Sthe and myself.

28 Windsor Street Love:)


When Nothing Can Satisfy

I am writing this you in such a place of excitement. I am home in 21 days. After 330 some odd days I am coming home. It seems so soon.

The Lord has been so tender with my heart, feelings and emotions these past couple days and I stand in awe of the way He takes care of His children. O how He longs to love us.

I will forever pray for the children I lived with this year and will never forget to pray for them, but as I am transitioning to a new season back in Canada my prayers have been centred around the future; on what's to come. On what is unseen. My heart is so excited and so full of joy to see what God has in store for me.
These past few days I've been comparing South Africa to Canada. I've been rummaging my brain for what will be the most different, what will hurt the most, what will I cry over the most? I've been focusing on the differences over and over again. I have bible verses written in bold already, knowing I need to memorize scripture to speak over me and my Spirit in my transition phase out of Africa.

When I woke up this morning God asked me to look at the similarities. This is something that I haven't spent any time doing at all in my preparation for home. So I started talking out loud ( I usually do this when I am  seriously trying to process something) and just asking God what He wanted me to see. After a list of about ten things that remain the same and me being pretty satisfied with the list, the Spirit asked me to go deeper.

I sat with worship music on and just waited, I was so desperate to hear God's heart. What was I not understanding? Casting Crowns came on and the line of the song says "when nothing can satisfy and the world leaves you high and dry, just come to the well"

I have such a fresh perspective this morning from that song this morning. We all just need Jesus. It's the same need (*biggest similarity) whether I am in South Africa, Canada or anywhere else in the world. No matter where I am, nothing and no one can satisfy me; only Jesus Christ. Nothing. So why do I sometimes keep searching?

I'll be honest with you for a second. In orientation in the States before I flew here the director asked us to write down "why we were really leaving." The reasons we dare not speak out loud or tell anyone else. I wrote them down and sealed the envelope. That envelope appeared in my office last week, ten months later.

 Reading my thoughts on that page, everything started to become clear. I was running. I couldn't take the pointless gossip any more so instead of dealing with it I wanted to run to Africa. I didn't feel that I had found my purpose in Canada, so I ran away. I didn't feel loved so I ran. I felt I was too weak to deal with my past relationships so I ran. God did call me to Africa and He knows what He is doing, but I was running from a lot. My Canadian lifestyle wasn't satisfying me.. it was leaving me high and dry. So I ran.

This morning God gave me such perspective that nothing but Him can satisfy me. I can run to the farthest place on planet earth (South Africa is pretty close?) however the world will still leave me high and dry. There is no where I can go, nothing I can do in this world to fill me up. We were made to be loved. We were created with a desire to know we are loved. I gotta know that someone out there loves me for me, regardless of what I have done, am doing or will do. & that's Jesus.

O how I wish I could share this with you over a latte sitting in a coffee shop. My heart longs to hear your life and to experience what is going on in your heart. Another part of that song says "you can spend your whole life, chasing what's missing..." I would so love to hear what you are chasing. What you are running after to make you feel whole and loved. Maybe we have been running toward the same things, maybe you have just ran to what I've been running too and could encourage me not to go there. Either way, I am still in Africa so me blogging to you will have to do until I can go for coffee with you. But until I can sit across the table from you and hear about your life and what you are going through (good, bad and just ugly.. I wanna hear it all) please know that nothing can satisfy you but Christ. 

& if you know nothing can satisfy you in this world, are you living that way? Ask yourself if you are walking in obedience to your knowledge.  Does what you spend your time, your money, the way you view yourself- are those all rooted in Christ? Jesus asked me these hard questions this morning but I am so thankful He did. He loves me enough to never leave me the same but to continue to make me into a more loving young woman.

Thanks for getting through this blog with me!
Here is the song that I keep referring too:)


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