The Story that is My Life

My life as it has been and as it continues to unfold is a story. One story made up of many stories. One complex, yet simple story. One sometimes messy, but so beautiful story. One story that I wonder if it might be interesting to be told.

This blog is my attempt to put part, or parts, of that story into words, pictures, or whatever form my mind can wrap itself around or create from within myself to express what it is like to be the one inside Cindy's Story. This is an exploration on my part and on yours in reading, and seeing, and maybe even hearing. It is not necessarily chronological. It might not always make sense, but it is my expression. It is me.

You are invited to see how my story unfolds.....

Friday, April 25, 2014

To Have or Not to Have (Thoughts on Being Rich and Poor)

This journal entry was written while I was living in a small village in Kenya, East Africa, after about seven months of living with a Kenyan family in "the bush".  It was a place where there was no electricity, no running water, no cars, no indoor plumbing, no shower, no bath tub, no comfortable bed, no carpet on the floors, among other things.  Most of the Kamba people living in the village might have had a set or two of clothes (often with holes), possibly a pair of shoes, food that they grew themselves, water from a dirty spring, a boney cow or two, a couple coins for school fees, a fire to cook their food, among other small things.

Me with some locals in Muthyoi, Kenya

I, though I didn't have much with me in relation to my life back at home in America, had much more than those that around me in Kenya.  I could fit all my belongings that I had with me in a large duffle bag and two backpacks.  To me this was a little, but to them this showed that I was very rich.  

The following were my struggles and a breakthrough in understanding of "having" and not "having":

20 March 2001

This morning I felt the release of a great burden which I have been carrying for a long time.  That burden was the guilt of having things, being better off than others and having access to better health care, education, and comforts than people I want to reach with the gospel of Jesus Christ.

I have continually striven to sacrifice everything that I am and that I have to Jesus and for his purpose, but the harder I try and the more I give, the more I realize it's not enough (and it never will be).  There will always be someone who has less than me, which will make me feel guilty of my position.  This thought of mine this morning suddenly made me realize that guilt and renouncing all things cannot be the answer God desires in me.  It was then that I brought to mind those people of my acquaintance who have more and live better financially than I do.  I realized that that is not the main thing that I consider in them, rather it is their character and obedience to Christ.  

I could bring to mind many people who have more than I have whom I did not wish that they had less than me, but I was/am very thankful that they have more than me. This, I realized, was because of their attitude both toward me and toward what God had given them.  They treat me as a friend and of no less importance than them, and they readily shared what they do had with me and others and used it for God's glory.  They did not react in guilt or try to hide what they had from me.  In fact, their love came through even stronger through this demonstration and the intermingling of our lives.

I am not guilty for what Christ has freely given me, salvation from death through believing in him, though others have not yet received the salvation that he freely offers.  No, I thank and praise God for it, then go and share salvation through Christ with those near and far.

Everything I have was given to me by God, a gift to be used for his glory.  My place is to thank him and remember that these things are not "mine", but have merely been entrusted to me for a time.  I guess it could be possible for a person even who has less than all others to hold too tightly to the little that they do have, or even to let the fact of their self-sacrifice become a source of pride or self-pity.  This in turn ruining their joy in Christ and the genuine love for others they could have.

What a relief to think that it may be okay for me to accept the blessings that God has allowed in my life.  At the same time, what a grand responsibility in using what I have with the purpose of loving others.  

May God find me a worthy steward of the gifts he has given me and grant in me through my stewardship a growing love for others and obedient commitment to Christ.  Whether God grants me much or little let me find my first act that of obeying him in the small things he daily asks me to do and share.

"To obey is better than to sacrifice." (excerpt from I Samuel 15:22)

There is freedom in obedience and praising and thanking God.


Though I wrote this almost 14 years ago, it is a good reminder to me today.