Pacfic

God of my Journey

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This week’s blog comes from Natalie Downes – one of our recently graduated Haerenga Interns from 2014. This year has been one of many experiences, challenges, and growth.

You learn many things while living in a new culture – sometimes unexpected things. Learning how to weave a traditional Fijian mat wasn’t on the list of things I expected to learn, but I’ve discovered the process captures something of my journey through the Haerenga Internship.

To prepare a mat, the process involves cutting down the plant, stripping the thorns, and putting in a process that changes the nature of the plant till it’s ready to be woven together… The journey is not an easy one. From comfort to discomfort, undergoing change is painful at times – this year has been a great life changing process. When I think of a mat as my journey I know there’s the Master Weaver who has been faithfully weaving together the strands of my journey, taking the highs and lows, the struggles, learning and joys and weaving it into something beautiful.

My journey is nowhere near complete. One thing I’ve learnt this year is that mission isn’t something we step in and out of. It’s a lifestyle, a lifestyle of open hands, open eyes and ready feet. A readiness to serve when you see a need, to step out onto shaky waters when He nudges.

One of my daily happenings during my final placement at St Christopher’s home in Fiji was to wander with the kids to school, sometimes with two on each hand and one clinging to my sulu! After a week or so of doing this I started to recognise the people we passed every day and began to make some ‘road friends.’ There was the Indian lady on her front porch, an older woman raking, Aunty Va selling veges. One time I met a lady selling milk which somehow led to me running off on a spontaneous fishing trip with her family! You never know where a hello may lead!

I still struggle with the whole conversation/sharing thing. Is it enough to just make friends, to listen to their stories or should I be more ‘evangelistic’, trying to get God in there in some kinda obvious way. Perhaps God speaks anyway whether or not I actually say his name – in the smiles, in taking the time to stop. These encounters allow me to ‘see Jesus’ in the people on my journey. People on the side of the road become ‘road friends’ when we take the time to notice them, and listen to their story. I thank God for weaving these precious people into my story, even if our encounter is momentary.

Engaging in mission like this is not something I’ll leave in Fiji but a way of life I hope to continue. An orientation towards community and sharing, a readiness to invite people home, to chat, to listen. An awareness that I am blessed to share, I am given things so that I can be generous.

My mat still has holes and loose ends, struggles and unanswered questions, but I’ve seen God’s faithfulness throughout this year (often in hindsight!) and I know that something’s taking shape even though often it just looks like a big mess of flax. My mat will probably never be finished but I look forward to the weaving process and I trust my Master Weaver.

 

THE MUSE

Sometimes we are caught in the little details of life and can’t see or trust a bigger picture – the Master Weaver is at work even when we cannot see it. What part of your story do you need to trust the Weaver with this week?

THE MOVE

Spend some time with these words and prayerfully enter into the response and trust this prayer invites.

God of our journey remind us that you are near by Joyce Rupp.

 

As we journey through life, we often face fear of the unknown, doubts, hesitations, anxieties and insecurities.

      God of our journey remind us that you are near…

Life is an unfolding mystery, sometimes a painful search and sometimes a wonderful discovery

      God of our journey remind us that you are near…

Our hearts are restless, because we are pilgrim hearts whose Home is not here

      God of our journey remind us that you are near…

When our footsteps grow weary, when we stumble along the way, discouraged, and doubt so easily comes forth to meet us

      God of our journey remind us that you are near…

We are always learning what to leave behind and what to take with us as we move along the road of life

      God of our journey remind us that you are near…

We encounter God continually in the constant cycle of ‘setting out’ and ‘coming Home’. Sometimes we allow life to be so busy as we travel, that we miss this Special Presence

      God of our journey remind us that you are near…

Expectancy, anticipation and courage rise up in our beings when we are open to the ways of God in the wilderness

      God of our journey remind us that you are near…

In our journey we need a strong conviction about the beauty and goodness of life, a vision of hope that endures the pain and the struggle, and a thread of love that weaves through all our dreams…

      God of our journey remind us that you are near…

God of our journey, we need a burning bush to set our hearts aflame with deep love of you. When the road of life seems long and tedious; when the dying and rising gets to be too much, be that pillar of fire by night. Be that comforting cloud by day, so that we cannot only see the way but can be confident of your gracious presence which is our strength and our hope. Thank you for your nearness.

      God of our journey remind us that you are near…