its been over a week since my last blog. my apologies. But, do you know why i blog? well first of all it is a great tool to keep everybody informed of what you are doing and it's, of course, neat to follow people in their journeys. however, at least for me, it serves as a great way to express any emotions or feelings or possibly an epiphany i may have had during my day, week, month.... with that being said, i am going to be very blunt and transparent with you: this last week was tough. no, i wasn't homesick or even physically sick. i didn't have a disagreement in the apartment or get my feelings hurt. i would not even consider any outer event to have caused this week to be difficult. 
no it was simply my own mind. i have been in a battle with my thoughts. 
one of my journal entries i wrote: 
"i am such a failure. i am not working hard enough to learn the language, which is inhibiting me to be able to touch people's lives. i feel as if i am doing a lot of 'spiritual growth', which is much needed, but i am not putting it to work anywhere. i do not feel like i am being used by God at all, which is making me question if there is something that is drawing a wall up between me and God, something that is causing a hindrance to him trying to use me?? i feel anxious over it. When i am just in the apartment i am running around (not literally) trying to figure something out to fill my time. because i do not feel like i am doing anything productive. i feel as if i am failing people at home when i do not feel inspired to write anything. its as if 'oh i am not doing real work here or i am being lazy'.. i don't know.. i just need to get out there and work with the people and become more motivated to learn the language...i need to do something to better myself so people won't think less of me.. i just need to be better.." 

i think you get the picture i am painting of my discouragement. absolutely horrible. however (don't worry, this blog is not going to just be a debbie downer), it was a lovely day & the Lord did a work in my heart and mind. 

today. i went to the first village of Bamako in order to meet up with these guys, who are from Sierra Leone, to learn how to do the beautiful art of tie-dying (definitely not like the states). we get there and immediately i feel comfortable in the area and with the people. they start explaining the two different kinds of dying that they do: batik & tie-dying. the batik is beautiful and is a large piece of material with a subtle design and a wax pattern done on the outside & center of the fabric. they showed us tablecloths, napkins, place settings, clothes, etc... just outstanding! the missionaries bought  a couple tablecloths and we moved to our next site to learn the trade of tie-dying. 
walking through the streets of the first village in Bamako, we are, no surprise, greeted by numerous children, who are enthralled with white people.. their precious little pre-mature voices shouting 'toubabou' (meaning white man). we enter into the small building that consists of two very small rooms that contain amazing fabrics hanging all over the walls and two sewing machines. as they are explaining the process of tie-dying i can't help but keep my ears tuned in to the laughter and chattering of the children directly behind us right outside of the room. after our first lesson, i turn to see all of these charming smiling faces. i pull my camera out & take a short video of them, attempting to grasp their genuine happiness on film. i couldn't stand to not hug them and speak as little Bambara that i knew to communicate with these treasured angels. 
& then it was. it was instant- that the Lord said to me. 'see, you are demonstrating the love of Christ. you may not be able to orally speak to them fluently, but your actions are speaking more words than you could ever say.' i was floored. my perspective immediately changed & i felt the Holy Spirit tugging at my heart, making me aware that this village, this community, this time of learning tie-dye was going to be something special and a work in progress orchestrated by our wonderful Savior. my lack of language skills is not a boundary when it comes to the Lord's work. 

i tell you this to encourage you. like me, you may feel frustrated or limited in your personal expression of ministry or doing anything for God at that matter. HOWEVER. God works outside of the margins. he knows your struggles, your weaknesses, your questions, your doubts. but he also knows your heart and its desire to serve him and his people. so next time you feel useless & stuck--dont. dont let your thoughts vanquish God's work. & just remember my story. 

while they teach me the artistry of batik, i may teach them their artistry in Christ.
Daniel 10."...please speak to me, 
my lord, for you have strengthened me..."


Jessica Barnes said...

Don't ever think you're a failure or that God is not using you! Because he is and we all know that and believe in you! You're such a great woman! I love you!

Ba(mom) said...

my sweet daughter, oh how the devil loves to interrupt the work of the Lord. you have touched my heart once again. First of all, You are never ever a failure in the sight of your family and friends. I believe that when you are ready to communicate is when God wants you too . I think when he speaks in you he wants you to tell us the beautiful work he is doing in you. Your blog reaches so many people who aren't even serving the Lord or struggling in their own faith Chels. God is using you to speak his love and how faithful he is when we have the desire to do his work. You speak to us when our precious Lord urges you to. You are in our prayers daily. I love you, mom

Carolyn Boyer said...

oh love...i think you said it so clearly, God's love isn't just words because at the end of the day those children don't need your words. they need the actions and the warm embraces. they need to see that someone cares for them and about them. Chels God is using you in so many ways. you are gifted in so many ways. allow God to use you to be the arms wrapping around those children! love you chels!!! praying for you!!