Sweet Tea Stories.

source.
So I changed the title of the blog. For now. At least.
I say for now because I’m still hoping that Africa is in the future and maybe this blog will be used eventually to capture more of that incredible world I had my toe in for way too short of a time.
And maybe then it’ll go back.
But maybe my place is here forever. Wherever here is. But specifically here in the US.
But no matter where I am, two things won’t change.
I’ll still be drinking sweet tea, and I’ll still be telling stories.
(Well, and I’ll still be worshipping Jesus, but I couldn’t find a creative way to fit that into the title.)
So, Sweet Tea Stories, that’s the blog name.
For now.
(The URL (www.dotheyhavesweetteainafrica.wordpress.com) is staying the same.)
–Hallie.

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Because I’ve chosen Jesus and He’s what I get.

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It’s not even 9p.m. and already my head has found its not-so-familiar-lately place among feathers and dreams on the bed I’ve spent the past two weeks paying the minimum toll to. And my friends have begun again with the jokes about me always wanting sleep. And I feel not-so-much like myself and more like the girl I was back then.

Back when my world was out of order and Jesus was just another thing I scheduled in, like lunch dates on a busy Tuesday when I really didn’t have time for the surface conversation I knew was coming because my tongue wouldn’t let me go where my heart so desperately ached to be.

Back when stress was a constant because my joy was found in the things I did, the activities I loved (and often hated). Back before I ripped my heart in two, away from the good things I had with the small inclination somewhere deep inside that the life I was meant for wasn’t just “good“, hoping upon hope that the Lord would come through, not fully believing that He would. (And in case you’re new here, let me just tell you quick. God has come through. Big Time.)

Today is different. And I’m tired because for two weeks I’ve allowed myself to be pushed back into the busyness. A busyness that isn’t bad, but isn’t me… at least right now. And I reflect and see that the Lord is not only good, but He is faithful and just and merciful and so much more than I deserve. And I thank Him for reminding me of who I want to be today. Reminding me that tomorrow He might have other plans, but right now it’s learning to be still. To sit before Him and simply be.

And I’m so thankful for conversations with the woman who has given me life, and not just on that September afternoon 20 years ago, but again and again as I’ve cried my eyes out to her and she’s held me, sometimes only metaphorically as the distance has made it physically impossible, as my heart has felt broken over and over again.

I’m thankful for the percieved breaks because I’m realizing they aren’t breaks after all. That the tears in the muscle that provides life to my body have only lead one by one closer and closer to Jesus. That the line they know I hate so much and yet continue to say “Your eyes look beautiful when you cry” actually has some validity behind it. And maybe it’s metaphorical. Because I learned in Africa to look for spiritual lessons in every situation, even if it’s peeling potatoes.

He’s reminding me each day that He’s the only one that completely understands all of me. And there’s going to be criticism sometimes, because those people don’t see the big picture. And some days the criticism is the type that you take into your heart and allow to begin a direction change, and other days the words are ones that the Evil One knew were exactly what you didn’t need that hour, that day, or that week. And so it’s exactly what he gives.

And the incredible thing is we serve a God that is there in those moments. He takes every situation in which Satan seems to mess everything up, every situation in which the words of the boyfriend ring out true. “Well, do you believe that Satan attacks harder those who are growing closer to God?” A simple question he asked just when I needed it, as if God Himself was speaking through those lips because He knew that, at that moment, those were the ones my ears were most receptive to. And maybe God allows this to happen to give us a reminder of who He is. That He’s still so much better than anything we can have here in this world. And we need to do nothing more than be still and know that He is God.

That God really does have a purpose and a plan. And no matter if I’m dreaming of the future, He is faithful now. And He’s faithful to provide. To remind me in situations where my eyes have the chance of moving away from Him that He is the only thing keeping me going. And I’ve unplugged my IV drip to the world, and I just can’t take it back. Because I’ve chosen Jesus and He’s what I get. Thank the Lord for that.