Wednesday, June 19, 2013

Battling With Contentment while my Heart is in Africa

A word that has been coming to my mind lately is "content" I know there are many people that struggle with the concept of contentment due to relationship issues, career goals or even while battling addiction. Contentment does not mean everything is fine and it doesn't even have to mean everything is okay but it does mean making peace with where you are in your current situation. Thankfully I am blessed with a wonderful home, loving husband and steady career which leaves me very content however there is always a yearning for ONE more thing! And that is Tanzania!
 See I went on a journey in 2009 that forever changed my life, every future goal and pulled at my heartstrings. I fell in love with a country and the beautiful people of that country!
I feel in love with giving and honest compassion for others. I feel in love with the smell of Africa, the fresh air at the base of Kilimanjaro, and the sweet, contagious smile of the African children.
 I had the pleasure of going with a great group of people, one of which I now call Mamma Gayle! I went with an orthopedic surgeon, two nursing students from Northwest college, a pre-med student and grad student that was on her second trip to Tanzania. I was really lucky to have a great group of people to go with and to share this amazing experience with!
When I went to Africa there were 3 phases that I noticed myself going through
1 // Shock - You can't imagine what you are seeing and all the devastation from being in a 3rd world country. You want to help out around the clock and feel like your efforts will never be enough
2 // Absorb - You truly feel like you can't absorb enough of it. You want to remember every minute and every second! You don't want to ever forget the faces of the Tanzania people and you just can't seem to fathom loosing that feeling of being amongst the most special people on earth!
3 // Breaking Away - You don't want to leave. The trip to the airport on your last day brings tears to your eyes because you don't want to leave this beautiful land and you know that it is so unsure as to when you will return...But you MUST return! Your heart can't find that sort of set on fire, free, overwhelming love anywhere in America.
There were times after I returned that I would just cry. I would be frustrated that I wasn't back in Africa. Angry at how much it would cost to return again. And confused as to how my friends and family could never understand how I felt while I was in Tanzania. Every story I told just couldn't express how I felt and I couldn't "bottle" up the emotion enough to explain that it was truly where I felt God's love the most!
But then my sister went to Tanzania on the same Medical Mission trip that I went on! Finally someone to talk about the Tanzania people with! Finally someone that understood what I felt and what I saw! And we made a promise to each other that we would return again to Tanzania but this time we would go together!
So that is why my heart is yet to be content. Because there is a piece of my heart that is in Tanzania! I'm glad I have the warm memories and hundreds of photos to keep my heart steady while I wait for a return trip to that special land unlike no other.
I'll leave you with this. It is from the blog A Holy Experience
You have got to use your position inside the gate for those outside the gate – or you’re in the position of losing everything. There are a thousand ways to be the living dead.
If you have any food in your fridge, any clothes in your closet, any small roof, rented or owned, over your head, you are richer than 75% of the rest of the world. We are the Esthers living inside the palace.
If you have anything saved in the bank, any bills in your wallet, any spare change in a jar, you are one of the top 8% wealthiest people in the world. We are the Esther’s living inside the gate.
If you can read these words right now, you have a gift 3 billion people right now don’t, if your stomach isn’t twisted in hunger pangs, you have a gift that 1 billion people right now don’t, if you know Christ, you have a gift that untold millions right now don’t. We are the ones living inside the gate.

Weekend Bloggy Reading

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