Be Still And Know ...
"Be still and know." These past nine days taught me what those four words truly mean. I had heard this Psalm many times before, prayed over it, and even had it written up on my wall in my dorm, but until the past nine days I never truly grasped what stillness in the Lord could mean.
The Ugandan culture is much different than ours. The hustle and bustle of everyday life is a bit slower and timing has a whole new meaning. Meeting at 9am may mean that you won’t meet till 11am; a 15-minute task may take 2 hours. The quick paced and rushed way of life is just not the way things go around here.
I first struggled with this immensely, growing impatient and lonely as I waited or hurried to get my tasks done. But as the days went on and I began to adapt to the culture of this country that I know and love, I saw the beauty in taking time to slow down. Taking time to notice the details around me. My life at home is often so rushed, so busy, so hectic, leaving little room for life to simply happen in between. But the thing I have treasured most about these past 9 days is the unexpected joy that those moments of “in between” often bring.
Take time to be still. Take time to acknowledge your heavenly father. Take time to know that He is holding you in His arms every single step of the way. Take time to see how much joy this life can truly bring. Take time to be still.
One of most favorite days this past week was Saturday. I took two of my three sponsor girls out to Jinja for the day. We talked, shopped, and ate till our tummies just about exploded. We sang songs, we pointed at monkeys on our drive, and we ended our day with a nice long nap on the car ride home. This day was just pure joy. They were both dressed up in their new dresses I brought them from home and added lovely new necklaces, bracelets, and leather sandals to their wardrobes.
My heart was so full of gratitude and thankfulness because I finally felt like they grasped how much they meant to me. They realized that they were mine and I was theirs and they could always always always know that to be true.
My other most favorite day was Tuesday. Nerves were high and anxiety was kicking in but I was going to do it. I was going to spend the night in the village. I am not someone who is great at sleeping away from my own bed in general so this was a real big step for me. No electricity, no toilet, no running water, but I knew in my heart that I wanted to do this. I was going to sleep in a tiny little bunk bed with my baby Patricia, who I have mentioned before. To explain this bunk bed a bit better, it was the bottom bunk, about 4 and a half feel long, and had a thick pad on it as a mattress and a thin old sheet on top. The blanket was about as soft as sand paper and the mosquito net had as many holes as there were kids in this room, that being 17. Lets just say I was anxious.
But as the sun set and we headed in the house for the night, all my fears and worries vanished. The girls grabbed me by the hands and we danced for hours. We sang and laughed and I felt right at home. I climbed into bed with Patricia and cuddled up real close. Not longer after our nighttime prayers, I felt a tiny little tap on my shoulder. Benita, my oldest sponsor girl, was standing there asking, “Momma Gabi, Can I please sleep with you tonight?” and my heart melted. “Of course you can sweet girl”
And then there were three of us.
I slept in constant cuddles from my two most favorite little girls on this planet and as they slept, I had one of those moments that I always picked on my mom for. Tears came rushing down my face and I heard my mom’s voice saying. “They’re happy tears gabs…one day you’ll understand” and boy oh boy did I understand.
These nine days alone have stretched me, taught me, and shown me the kind of grace that the bible constantly speaks of. They have brought me more joy than I ever could have imagined. But most of all they have shown me the importance of being still. Be still and take it all in, grasp every moment, live in the “in between.”