Living in the US, you get used to the convenience of the drug store nearby and so discard things before they are truly finished, empty, expired. As my makeup struggles to squirt out of my tube one day, I’d simply run down to Target and purhase a new one, failing to realize there may be
Growing up in America, Hispanic decent but appearing white to most, means experiencing life through a particular lens. It also means being treated as the majority race, with all its privilege and social stereotypes. Easy. Privileged. Rich by most of the world’s standards. It also translates to me growing up being the “norm” and everyone
The debate is high in the world and in our churches and it is a hot and divisive topic. I have been on both sides of the fence on this idea of “husband as the head of the home” and “submission.” The side I am on now was a long, painful, but desired transition full of kicking and screaming, tears, but ultimately peace. Every Christian couple must discern for themselves where they fall on this issue, this is simply my journey I thought I would share with you.
Background- Growing up in a divorced home, raised primarily by two single women(my mom and my grandmother)-strong, independent women, I early on battled the innate desire to be loved and taken care of with that of being fiercly independent and self-sustaining, not wanting to be reliant on anyone. I believe that battle was mainly due to fear- fear of losing control and not sure I could trust that I will not be abandoned. I suspect many children of divorce face these very same fears and it can drastically alter how they see the world and view people. This resulted in many painful relationship experiences, culminating my strong desire to be loved with constantly being disappointed by those I trusted, fuleing my “independent spirit.”
Now, during this time I went to church, read my bible, and saw a few wonderful examples of truly loving husbands and wives. I was taught through my hispanic culture and through the bible that the man is to lead his family and when I saw authentic examples of that, I wanted that for my life too. But more often I experienced the let down of the men in my lfe not leading me well. So I just became stronger and more opposed to the idea of anyone “ruling over me.”
And then I got married.
I was blessed to marry a man who truly adored me, as my grandmother said was better than marrying a man who just loves you. There was just one issue- he had no real desire to lead. He was content to let me lead. You would think I would be ecstatic, right? Wrong. I quickly discovered that my heart’s desire was to have my prince charming rescue me and lead me well. Especially after we had children and the desire to have them grow up in the church also became very strong in me. Despite my bad experiences with the men in my life and my liberal convictions I held throughout college, my heart ached to release the burden of leading our family and being responsible to make all the decisions without much input from my husband. I know this sounds like a bashing of my husband, but trust me, it gets better!
Gabe said the other day that he doesn’t like doing anything on Christmas. Syd makes the comment that it doesn’t feel like Christmas this year. We are busy running around preparing for a Christmas party for the Boys and some of the Youth Class on Christmas Eve. Sydney is baking, Gabe and Brennen are wrapping, Erika is doing it all. I am sitting on the deck trying to grab a few minutes of alone time to prep for the message I am giving tomorrow, Christmas morning. We like to have an unhurried time during this Season. We tend to sit at home Christmas morning and lounge around in our jammies, drinking hot chocolate, coffee and eating Erika’s heavenly cinnamon rolls. One difference is that it is 90+ degrees w/ high humidity, no snow, our Christmas decorations are in the States and so are the friends and family we have celebrated with for so many years.
As many of reflective times begin with songs, I decided that I shouldn’t try to fix what isn’t broken. :p I rose early this morning, 5am early. This has become a routine since the kids started school, a God directed routine. I wake, drag myself to the hot water kettle to heat water for my instant Dorman’s, then settle into my quiet time chair(think time out spot for toddlers), free of distractions for some much needed time with God. These moments have become as life giving to me as the air I breath, like the living water Jesus offered to the Samaritan Woman.
Tell me your story…how would you answer that imperative?
As long as we have been in Kenya, that has been what the Lord has been impressing upon me. It’s not enough to ask someone their name(Unaitwa nani?), where they come from(Unatoka wapi?), or where they live(Unaishi wapi?) but to ask them their story. How they came to Mombasa was just the beginning of their stories. God wanted me to truly understand them: from their birth, to family life, to their faith, and the intricate details that make them who they are standing in front of me today.
It’s a simple yet powerful. God is asking me to know people, really know them. To know them as He knows them. And in knowing them, I can understand them better, love them deeper, and in doing so they can hopefully see God clearer through me. Jesus knew the woman at the well. Really knew her. But He didn’t have to ask her a single question. He didn’t have to ask her to tell her story, because He already knew it! But she needed to know that He knew her, loved her, desired her.
I thought I was doing pretty well…thought being the key word. I had rolled with delays, laughed(much later) at how it was God who orchestrated those delays for my benefit, and just tried to be a good example to my kids of how to be patient. Again, I thought I was doing pretty well. And then we moved in.
Upon arriving at our new flat, we knew it wouldn’t be clean(we asked to move in early), we knew there were still repairs to be made, and we knew we didn’t have everything we needed. What we didn’t know was how many extra repairs we would find immediately that would really make life interesting! Delays in delivery of furniture, appliances, and a limited budget meant we would need to be flexible(a growing trend here in Kenya for any Mzungu). What I did not anticipate was being without a cooker for three weeks or working plugs in my entire kitchen and dining room! We joked with our friends about our kitchen situation, making light of the whole ordeal, but growing inside of me was a resentment toward our new home instead of an attitude of thankfulness for what God had given me.
The day we thought would never arrive, finally did! On June 19th, we moved into our flat, ending the three month saga of missed dates, delays, and all the hiccups that those delays caused. It is quite amazing how a simple thing like being in your own home can bring such joy and peace to all the family.
The kids excitedly helped(without complaining) pack up our meager belongings back into the suitcases we brought over from the states. It didn’t require a lot of effort or time to move 15 suitcases a mile down the road, but rather the accomplishment was in the receiving of the keys and finally feeling like we were home. Home. After almost four months in Mombasa, home was a welcome word for us. An a welcome idea as well. The guest flats we have stayed at have all been great and we were grateful for the hospitality of our friends, but we did in fact feel like guests in our new home country. And we longed to be settled.
There are not many times that I feel shame and embarrassment in my people(Americans), but Friday was one of those days.
Imagine a succession of several white Volkswagen vans(we call them matatus). The top is popped, with no less than five mzungus(foreigners) standing to catch the best view. All dressed in traditional holiday attire-tank tops, safari hats, and the familiar red tint to their skin. What are they trying to catch a glimpse of, you ask? Well the view of the people going about their days in downtown Mombasa of course!