I sit here tonight in awe of what a few dedicated people can do in a place where opportunity is hard to come by.
Today, I was reminded of something: We all have a story. A story that is worth hearing, worth telling, and worth everything. We all grow up differently, even if we are in the same family. I look at the differences and similarities between my sister and I, and sometimes I truly wonder how we have the same parents. I look at the people I have traveled to Cape Town and Guatemala with, and how we all had completely different experiences. I look at everyone I know, and love, and I realized that we all have a different story. A different place where our roots were planted and watered. A different path in life. I look at everyone, and then I look up to the sky, and thank God for creating us all in a unique way, because if we were all the same-it would be a very boring world.
This morning I was able to go to the Africa Jam breakfast. If you know me, you know that Cape Town, South Africa is near and dear to my heart. After going to Cape Town twice, and building relationships that can somehow last when there’s an ocean between them, it’s safe to say that place is beyond powerful. This morning I got a new bracelet that will remind me of these friendships every single day…I’m a little too excited about it.
My friends over there, the view over there, and the love over there is incredible. But there’s something that I remembered today-I have experienced the Cape Town that is full of God’s love in unexpected places and people who have been truly transformed because of their faith-because they were afraid to show up, but did it anyways. I have met people in Cape Town who had every reason to run away from their faith, from God, but instead ran closer to it because they were curious or desperate for something more. I have experienced Cape Town in my own unique and wonderful way. I’ve experienced the Cape Town that threw poverty in my face, but it didn’t phase me because of the community that I experienced in these Townships. I’ve experienced Africa Jam and what it looks like when someone’s life is truly transformed through relationships, music, and God. My people in Minnesota and Cape Town are courageous, vulnerable, and loving. They are authentic, and I cannot ask for much more than that.
This morning I was reminded that we all have different joys and struggles. We all have planted our roots in different places. We have all met different people. We all have our own stories. We are different. We are so different that I often find myself wondering how in the world we have the patience to put up with each other. But then I remember that we have a God who gives us what we need to love each other and provides us with examples of grace every single day. We believe in God that brings us all together, loves us all the same, and provides us all with different paths. This morning I was reminded that the storms in our lives will remain, but when we rely on the roots that we have planted and the love that we receive, we can do anything. We all have different stormy stories, and when we have the courage to share these stories and walk with each other, hand in hand, our roots don’t stand a chance of being uprooted during these storms.
I’m thankful for Africa Jam, for Cape Town, for my friends that are here and my friends that are across the ocean. Most of all, I’m thankful for a God who never gives up on us and always provides us with the courage and vulnerability we need to show up and share our stories about our roots and the work God can do in a human heart.
God doesn’t uproot our lives during the storms, instead he sends people to water those roots and nurture them, to give them strength, and remind us that they are still there, holding us up when the wind tries to knock us down. I went to Cape Town a few years ago expecting that I would change some lives, and instead my life was changed. It’s amazing what can happen when you get out of the way and let God do all the work…try it sometime.