Each morning I seemed to awaken in the very same position on our blessing of a bed (unexpected and cherished luxury in the African jungle).
. . . On my right side, slightly squeezed into the crack between the bed frame and the wall . . .
The wall. Dried mud.
At home I would have awakened angry to find dirt smeared along my arm. In the Kenyan jungle, its' presence somehow garnered a sense of security. Mud huts are surprisingly sturdy, especially from the inside. I found comfort knowing that wall, made up of water, clay, and dung, would still be braced secure when morning came.
Then there were the choos. I joked over text to a fellow team leader one day that my "choo time" was truly the only "alone time" I could find, as strange as it sounds, I found myself later in the month remaining for longer moments than necessary in those toilet stalls made up of that same water, clay, dung ratio (Sometimes more dung than clay, I believe). There was something to its' isolated existence that drew me to its' smelly structure.
Long hikes must be included in this post because God used the muddy paths to do more than mold my calves (perk of the jungle, yes!) but really each step, determined, heavy, and wisely placed, brought me further into God's purpose. After a rain (aka most days in the month of October) journeys were still to be made and shoes were to be therefore chosen carefully. These treks were honestly the first location world wide that I do not recommend TOMS shoes. Sorry, TOM. I tried and they failed miserably. Chacos were better but not great (The whole earth tends to gather on your sole with every step, making your walk heavier and harder than ever) and flip-flops equal impossible. A shoe that doesn't slip or gather, seems to be the best choice . . . I had neither. Although difficult to traverse, long hikes in the mud were adventuresome and something of a personal triumph.
Holiness? Well, holiness was a blessing. Each of these experiences with mud, only bettered me. Not because life spent such ways is easy but because life lived simply and with a physical challenge, is a better life than that I could find elsewhere. That is a bold sentence considering I will return to USA next year and will be grateful for my sheetrock wall, flushing toilet, and asphalt roads. I will be very grateful indeed. I do, however, believe that my growth in holiness will have to be dosed out from the Spirit of God in way more obvious ways than here in this grand place of marvelous mud.
Mud. Mud everywhere, surrounded by some of the lushest vegetation of the earth. There's gotta' be a fantastic parallel here or call me not a writer. As I trudged on, up and down the miry path, leading to the open doors of further ministry . . . as I lie awake next to the walls of dried security . . . and as I rested for just a moment from the pursuit of community in the walls of a choo in that blessed village . . . God's holiness was made evident to me there. I can not become, holy. I must let go of my easy and ask for His best. I must decrease in vanity and embrace the blessings of living truer than before and I must be cut off daily from excess, and ask for His solidity in unnerving times. If God is for me, who can be against me? Not even I can get in the way of His work when it is Spirit led and includes conquering the flesh day by day.
I have nothing to fear in the mud.
My God is a Rock, a Fortress, and the very mud that attempts to create sink holes of distress, are the very compounding ingredients that my security of faith and growth in holiness is built with. My lush life can only find growth in the necessary solid created by the point of transaction between the rain and the earth.
I guess the holiness begins when the water and the clay/dung mixture meet.
Honestly that's where I want to be. Wherever I live in the world may I be grateful for the muddy days. The holiness of God is uncovered on such days. He is molding me with mud, step by step and shelter by shelter. I love my everlasting God. He is able.
Lauren!<><+ (The girl who loves Kenya . . .but really)
1 Thess 4
1 Tim. 6:6-8, 11-12, 17-19