Wednesday, October 16, 2013

Farthest Oceans

"You have examined my heart and know everything about me... You see me when I travel and when I rest at home. You know everything I do... If I dwell by the farthest oceans, even there your hand will guide me and your strength will support me. "

- Psalm 143:1,3,10

These verses have been a guide for me for the past several months. To know that God is the same sovereign Lord here in Nigeria that He is in South Carolina or wherever I may live, is such a comfort. 

Yesterday I got the chance to visit the beach for the first time here in Nigeria and the verse kept running through my head, "If I dwell by the farthest oceans, even there your hand will guide me and your strength support me. "

I need this reminder so much right now. Yes, I know in my heart that God has called me here, but there are days that I struggle with missing my family, friends and church back home. Also, the days that I feel most overworked and exhausted are the days that I also feel most dissatisfied. 

This past weekend I got the chance to FaceTime with my two year old niece, Allie Grace. As I was saying goodbye, she leaned in to kiss me through the screen and then said,

"Yiz, I miss you!"

"Oh baby, I miss you too," I replied. 

She leaned in closer, "Yiz, I miss you."

"Well, I miss you too!"

"Yiz... I MISS you!" She said even louder. 

Just as I was saying, "Ok you're going to make me start crying if you say it again." 

She responded by saying even louder, "YIZ I MISS YOU!!"

I didn't realize how much this affected me, but it really did. This conversation with a two year old has made me miss home and my nieces like crazy. 

Even though I may miss the ones I love, God's promises hold fast. He is my comfort and support. The Lord promises to give strength to the weary. 

Just when my weariness was threaghtening to overwhelm me, we were blessed with a two day holiday in the middle of the week!

To take advantage of our time off, my housemates and I took a road trip down to the beach near Lagos. 

What started out as an overcast rainy day, turned out to be the most beautiful day that I've seen yet. 

It rained for the entire two hour drive from Ibadan to Lekke Beach. By the time we parked the car, there was only a slight drizzle and the rain stopped very soon after we got out to the beach. 

We checked into a room at the Hermitage, so that we could have a bathroom and place to rinse off after playing in the saltwater and sand.

There is something special about the ocean. Somehow the sound of the waves and saltwater just seemed to restore my soul and wash away my weariness. 

Several of us took a walk along the beach.  The spots that would be prime real-estate in the US were filled with thatched huts. Debri littered the beach, yet past the rubbish, there was beauty. 

My student, Eli joined us for the day

Even as I walked along, God was still sending subtle reminders to trust in Him. When I get overwhelmed, I want to handle things my way, but as the name of the boat says, it's not my will, but "God's Way. "

While we were walking, the clouds completely cleared and the view became stunning.

Several things that are different about Nigerian Beaches:

1. I've never seen kids completely strip down to play in the waves. 

2. It was the first time a herd of cattle has ever walked past my beach towel. 

3. Never realized really how white I am or how easily I burn, until getting so close to the equator. 

Overall, I had such an enjoyable time! The ride home was also pleasant and provided the opportunity to people watch and observe the natives. 



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