This is how God showed his love among us: He sent his one and only Son into the world that we might live through him. This is love: not
that we loved God, but that he loved us and sent his Son as an atoning sacrifice for our sins. 1 John 4:9-10

Tuesday, March 29, 2011

Be still and know that I am God.

For the last four years I've had a sign hanging above my bedroom door with this Psalm 46 verse written on it: "Be still and know that I am God"

I've always loved this verse.  I love being reminded that God is mighty, that he is all-powerful and that I can relish in his strength.  This weekend God reminded me how important it is to do this.   He reminded me that sometimes I need to step away from my 'I have to do it all' mentality.  I've been told that my dedicated personality (and sometimes overly dedicated personality) is both a strength and a weakness.  I'm pretty sure this time around it's proven itself a weakness.  

I had been feeling ill for over a week.  It started last Friday the 19th with a sore throat.  No big deal, I've had plenty of sore throats.  (although this one was more intense than even the tonsillitis I had experienced just weeks before leaving for Kenya)  I spent the morning in bed and that afternoon went down to Shimo with girls- telling them that if the women in Africa can have AIDS and other crippling illnesses and still fully provide for their families, then I can minister to them with a sore throat.  I probably should have taken a slower approach to things starting at that point- oops, failure on my part!  My condition continued to worsen over the course of the next week as I developed a deep cough and an achy body.  I kept up with my usual schedule, loading up on advil each day just hoping it would actually help.  Of course it never did.  On Saturday I even attended and played in a soccer tournament Duncan was putting on with Liberty Sports Club- an organization which aims to give Kitale's youth a positive Christian environment while at the same time using sports as a way to reach out to a non-christian community.  (I'll have to blog about this organization soon because I absolutely LOVE their vision and purpose!)  When I woke up on Sunday, day 6 of my headache, I was unable to hold down anything- including water.  That's when I decided it was probably time that I see a doctor.  That morning Little Howie had woken up with a fever so Howie was taking him to Sister Freda's to be tested for malaria.  Amy managed to stop them as they were pulling out of the driveway and I hopped in the car.   

I knew I wasn't feeling well, but I was shocked when they told me I had pneumonia.  Pneumonia? Now how did that happen? Perhaps it has something to do with rainy season, which recently started here in Kenya.  I'll never really know the cause, but I'm grateful that it's treatable.  The doctors told me that I would need to stay at the hospital for the night in order to receive IV antibiotics.  I sadly and stubbornly agreed.  No part of me wanted to stay overnight, but I knew I needed to.  It wasn't until I was lying in my hospital bed that the doctor came in and told me that my blood test had shown high typhoid levels.  I wasn't even sure what she meant by high typhoid level, but later when asked to clarify she said it meant that I had typhoid- should of guessed that's probably what she was trying to tell me, haha.  

After about 6 hours and several antibiotics, my headache was finally gone and I was starting to feel better.  I had requested my Kindle, Bible and toothbrush to keep me company during my hospital stay, but with those things came Jade, Amy, Cody and Jason!  I was so thankful to have them around for a few hours- 6 hours alone in my room had been more than enough already.  At around 6:30 everyone but Jade headed back home.  Sweet Jade had packed her pajamas for a slumber party at the hospital.  Do I have amazing friends or what?!? God has surrounded me with an incredible community here in Kitale and this is one example of how amazing they really are!  The next night both Jade and Michelle stayed with me.  I don't think I'll ever be able to repay them for the nights they spent with me in the hospital, or at least I hope I don't ever have the chance to repay them- I'd prefer not to have anyone else require an overnight stay in the hospital!  Their willingness and desire to love me in such a way is a example of incredible love and servanthood.  

I'm very glad to be back at home.  While the doctors and nurses at Sister Freda's hospital took excellent care of me, I am thankful to be recovering in my own bed now.  I certainly won't miss the late night and early morning vital checks or that the only bathing option is a bucket of water and a bar of soap.  Besides, I'll be back to Sister Freda's soon enough- fortunately not because I'm sick, but because it's one of the places where I volunteer each week.  I'm looking forward to once again visiting patients in the hospital ward, not being one.

My days were full of feeling sick, reading, chatting, napping, laying in bed and medicine.  Quite a change from a typical day in Kitale which is full of non-stop energy exerting activities.  My body had decided the week before that it was time to slow down and now I was finally letting that happen.  While ideally I would have chosen another method to pull me away from my full-steam ahead mentality, this is perhaps the only thing that could have made it happen.  By trying to do so much, I often start to believe everything relies on me and start to minimize my need for God.  In the future, I should not let my desire to go and to do get ahead of my ability to be still.   Because in being still I find that God is in control and that while I am finite, he is infinite.  I love that I am able to meet God in the midst of everything because in spending time with him I realize how important he is and how unimportant everything else besides him really is.  So take a moment (or perhaps a few days, which I'll be doing as I recover) and be still.  

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