It is the season of Lent. Time to focus. Time to reflect. Time to give time to sacrificing something of our normal indulgences. Such sacrifices take time, effort, a pause and change from the routine.
Or do they?
It was at first hilarious to see an image of one church's approach to the beginning of this season of sacrifice, but then disappointing to realize what it epitomized--a state of being unaware of the minuscule amount of time "sacrificed" when desiring to give something up for Him. If we're giving something up for Him shouldn't we also give ample time in acknowledgement and dedication?
We all cut short our devotion to Him in various ways. God, open our eyes to how we short-change You. Let this and every season be a time to truly hone in on His perfection, His ultimate sacrifice and our desperate need of Him.
Beautiful, strong, abundant, life-giving things take T-I-M-E. We must take time to cultivate the spiritual, emotional and physical aspects of life.
This past weekend Sam's older sister stopped by to report that Grandma wasn't doing very well. She hadn't eaten for almost two days and was very weak. Sam's sister requested that I go out and check on her. Two hours later I was on my way. These things take time.
I first went to visit with Aunt Lucy of David Family to ask about which David Family children could accompany me. (Sam was in class lectures) We agreed on which two girls would go after they'd finished the garden. During that time I gathered medical supplies--I didn't know what state Grandma would be in so I needed to be prepared for almost anything.
I also gathered bananas and cooked some rice. I knew I'd need to have some bland, soft foods to help coax her into eating again.
Just before we got into the car Sam showed up from class and he went out, too. One young lady translated the more difficult words for me as I examined Grandmas while Sam and the other young lady washed sheets, clothes and other soiled items.
Our time with Grandma took about two hours and thankfully showed us that Grandma wasn't actually suffering from any illness other than a healthy dose of stubbornness. She didn't want to eat mostly because she succumbed to frustration over needing others to help her with simple tasks. If she couldn't do it her way, in her time then she didn't want to do it at all.
Once she saw the bananas and rice, she began gobbling them up.
It took time, but she finally understood and agreed to eat a little bit a few times a day and to also sleep on mattresses on the floor. (There had been a disagreement between Sam's sister and her over sleeping high up in the bed (a struggle to get up and a fall risk) and sleeping down on the floor.
It is amazing to me how much of myself I saw in Grandma once I objectively processed what happened in the two hours of our visit.
I often stubbornly refuse to receive from others, from God and from His word. I then become weak and am frustrated as others try to help me.
But, if I take time to "eat" from His truth throughout each day I remain strong and healthy. Lord, help me! I still forget this basic truth and am slow to realize I need to take time with You.
Spiritually, we need to devote time to Him!
Less than an hour after leaving Grandma's I was on the road again in the other direction. One of the staff members I mentor lives in Kiwoko and we shared news and struggles and then we prayed together.
From the old to the young. Definitely time WELL spent and I am grateful for their presence in my life. What a privilege to be able to be a part of people's lives! Spending that kind of time is an emotional boost! Grandma must have said, "Thank you," a dozen times. Likewise, my friend expressed a heart felt, "Thank you," more than once. Yet, I received so much at the privilege of receiving blessing while giving blessing!
About a week ago Geoff and the kids spent the greater part of Saturday in the gardens around our house. It took time to get our compound looking nice, but it was worth it!
Acacia cleaned up the overgrowth near the goat house.
|Slashing grass outside the goat house|
|Our back yard, freshly mowed and cleaned|
|Geoff loves being in the garden. He enjoys showing others the fruit of his labor in our compound.|
|Kevin also LOVES working in the garden. He planted maize, beans and squash in mounds, "like the pilgrims," he explained. He has spent much time in the garden this month as the rains have begun and the soil is soft.|
|Toby helped to cut and collect grass to add to the mulch in the garden.|
|Acacia found a snake skin in the goat house. We're just glad we didn't run into the new-skinned snake!|
|Kevin paused long enough to let a baby chameleon rest in his hand.|
|We found a family of chameleon's in our bamboo: mama, daddy and little baby. Can you see the mom and the baby?|
Beauty takes time. Devotion takes time. Sacrifice takes time.
The garden doesn't produce without effort, hard work, attention.
People don't grow without an investment of love and care.
A cake doesn't make itself.
Enjoying a "bush bike ride" takes loads of energy.
Milk requires heat to present itself useful and not harmful. This takes time and ATTENTION (milk boiled over takes MORE time to clean up, ugh.)
And we must take time. Our beauty comes from Him. Time given in devotion and sacrifice to Him yields a deeper appreciation for all the time He has given us.
May we thrive and grow in love with Him and in thankfulness for all He's given.
May we give adequate time to recognizing Him.
And may we give Him time to cultivate in us what is truly life giving.