One thing I value and enjoy doing during my supply trips away every few months is to take moments to just chill, think, and process. I listen to music, read, think, sip coffee and stare into space. I enjoy spending time with “Kampala” friends too. 

I sometimes do my thinking at a pool soaking up the sunshine and doing one of my favourite things, swimming and getting In some “water” time. But, so far this week I’ve been cold—“what?” Ya, me—the Canadian—in East Africa is cold. The other night I actually got up in the night and wrapped myself in my bath towel because I woke up freezing cold. Haha, not sure I will ever be able to return to my “tough” Canadian girl climate! 

I arrived in Kampala tired, I probably stretched out my time between trips a little too much. So this morning I’m sitting on a lovely patio musing, staring into space, and taking it all in. I was just reading through my journal. What a year the last has been—highs, lows, joys, tears, highs… and lessons learned. Jesus has faithfuly been with me and has blessed me, but He has also gifted me things I didn’t want to experience or walk through. I have seen Him carry me through. I have also experienced a closeness with some of my Ugandan friends that I never expected as they have prayed for me & held up my hands. At times life here can seem isolated, but God aways faithfully brings me companionship at the times I need it most. What a year it's been--honestly reading through my journal was slightly overwhelming. But, My Jesus has been good. And He's used hard things, twists in the road to bring about His perfect will. And while it's been tough, I can honestly say I have deep joy every day, and I'm privileged to serve Him where He has me right now.

Experiences are gifts from God, and even the ones we don’t desire are from him—they make our hearts bigger, broaden our empathy for others and bring new depth to our relationship with Jesus and with others. I have been challenged by the lyrics to the older song Oceans, and this year I’ve realized those lyrics are hard to sing honestly. At times I don’t want to listen to the song: “you call me out, the great unknown … my faith will stand. But I will call upon your name, and keep my eyes above the waves… Your sovereign hand will be my guide, where feet may fail and fear surrounds me—you’ve never failed and you won’t start now… Spirit lead me where my trust Is without borders, let me walk upon the waters wherever you may lead me. Take me where my feet would never wander and my faith will be made stronger in the presence of my Saviour.” Friends, those are some hard words to honestly sing. But He has faithfully given me His grace, although under pressure, to walk wherever and through whatever He has for me. 

Music has repeatedly been something that God uses to fuel me and give life. These last few months in my free time I’ve enjoyed watching episodes of Americas Got Talent (I love the human interest stories behind all the contestants!) and, when electricity allows, I’ve watched it on the projector in my living room—somehow it helps me feel at home and miss America less! :) 

I’ve also been back Into playing the piano more again and writing some of my own new music and arrangements. (Thanks, Mom & Dad, for insisting that I bring my piano to Africa!) And just maybe, as some of you have repeatedly requested, one of these days I’ll record an album! Anyhow, I wrote this song a bit ago—inspired by some of the people who have been part of my life. I’m still working on some parts of it, but here’s what I have: 

“Beautiful

Some say beauty is only skin deep
Some wish to see more beauty in the world
I wish we could see past the skin—if only we could really see
We can really see, if only we look
If only we could really see, the way this world was meant to be
If only we could see each ones heart, could we stop tearing this world apart?

Little one, broken, abandoned, ignored, Valued for only the work you can do
You sit there and wish you at least had some shoes
If only you could really see the person HE made you to be
You’re beautiful
So smile little one and let them see a spark of who you’re meant to be
Your dirty feet and worn hands are weary from this worlds demands
Look up little one and you will see, the future is bright for you and me
The Father has good plans, beyond this worlds many demands.

Girl at sweet sixteen, there’s nothing more she wants than to fit in
She sees the demands of the fashion world, but she doesn’t fit into their world
Sweet girl of sixteen if only you could see, the person He made you to be
You’re beautiful
So smile and let them see a spark of who you’re meant to be
Your broad shoulders and sturdy feet and legs are all according to His plans
Look up sweet one and you will see the future is bright for you and me
Those feet will go to far away lands, spreading news of peace and grace, lifting up weary hands.

Young boy of fourteen, you see all there is in this world to glean
Yet your grasp is never enough, All you know of this life is rough
If only you could really see, the person He made you to be
You’re beautiful
So smile, my boy, and let them see a spark of who you are meant to be
Your abandoned heart is not torn apart, its stronger from the mending he’s done
Look up young man, and you will see the future is bright for you and me
There’s no power stronger than love, your kindness will always be enough.

Young mother, body crushed by disease, your pain so great
Your heart is carrying such weight, You long for heaven, yet your children are here
If only you could really see the person He made you to be
You’re beautiful
So smile, Mom and let them see that spark of who you were meant to be
Your sick body and tired eyes will not always struggle to win the prize
Look up Mom and you will see, the future is bright for you and me
This world is not all that was meant to be.

This world is not all that was meant to be
Nor is it completely Home to me
Look up friend and you will see
The future is bright for you and me
The broken roads and weary loads will not always be
If only we could really see, the way this world was meant to be
If only we could see each one’s heart, Could we stop tearing the world apart?
So smile my friend and let them see a spark of who you are YET to be!
Smile, for when you do, I see heaven in your eyes—It’s beautiful!
(©2017, Laura A Stewart)

 

And so friends, I choose once again to “lean into what we don’t understand” leaning into the ONE; trusting Jesus and His wisdom more than mine. Someday heaven will be beautiful and He Himself will explain all, our questions and tears will be erased—and people from all nations and tribes will be part of a great party:

“Behold, a great multitude which no one could number, of all nations, tribes, peoples, and tongues, standing before the throne and before the lamb, clothed with white robes with palm branches—crying out with a loud voice: ‘Salvation belongs to our God, who sits on the throne and to the lamb!’… They shall neither hunger anymore nor thirst anymore; the sun shall not strike them, nor any heat, for the lamb who is in the midst of the throne will shepherd them and lead them to living fountains of waters and God himself will wipe away every tear from their eyes.”  (Revelation 7:9-17)