Start With Jesus

by - 1:26 AM

Image: Ivan 96 / Getty / Edits by Rick Szuecs.

It has been a long time since I sat down to write. I am home, seated at my desk by the windows, overlooking the hills of Rwanda. I have a hot mug of sosoma beside me, a thick concoction of Rwandan ground sorghum, soy beans, and maize. It is raining outside. The rainy season has begun. The air is cool and damp. I am trying to quiet myself. And so I pray and ask God, “Where do I start? What should I write?”

I feel slightly overwhelmed by all the things I want to write: stories and lessons from the past weeks, months, and two years of living in Rwanda. A huge chunk of which would involve fond memories and piercing reflections on our first year of marriage – my husband Baraka, and I. Yes, marriage – wow! And digging further into my mind, recalling insights from the crucial time that I moved out of Afghanistan in June 2021 and closed – or rather, attempted to close – that immensely difficult, rewarding, and viscerally memorable chapter in my life.

Where indeed, do I begin, when I’m beginning to write again?

A thought comes to mind: “Start with Jesus.”

I am here because of Jesus. I am writing because of Him. All the difficulties in tough places, all the pain and injustice witnessed, all the times I have struggled to make sense of brokenness within and around me, are eclipsed by His truth, His love, His voice, His glory.

Salvation is in Jesus Christ. Because of the sweet salvation I have received, experienced, journeyed with, I am able to write again. I am able to enter a time of rest and waiting on Him. If it weren’t for the spirit of the Lord beckoning me to rest, I would be a frantic person running around trying to do the next thing. As much as I am still doing ministry and mission in Rwanda, and now with my husband Baraka, I also sense Him calling me to be in a restful state of mind. I have come to learn that resting does not necessarily mean to sleep, or sit around and do nothing.

To rest is to be present to the Lord, to be present to Him when there is not a lot of activity and busyness to occupy you. To rest is to say ‘no’ to unessential things and even good opportunities. But one should ask, what is considered unessential? I think the unessential things are those things that Christ does not require of me to do or be involved in. They could be good things that are mere distractions which hinder me from doing the essential things.

And what are the essential things? I am trying to figure that out day by day. I suppose they differ for person to person, because each of us is going through a unique season or phase in our lives. God only knows what we really need to do and be at a given time, because He is the source of our lives. (When I say God and Jesus, I say it interchangeably because I believe Jesus is God in the flesh, He who walked among us, and made the way of salvation and reconciliation with Himself and man possible.)

So, as I write again, I am trying to start with Jesus once more. Everything in my life started with Him. My mission journey started with His voice, His heart, and His tears for the lost. Even my marriage began with Him – His love, His covenant, His revelation of intimacy and relationship. If you find yourself in this life living, but feeling utterly lost – like you don’t know where you came from, or where you’re going, and where you’re ending up when your last breath is drawn – then I have three words for you: Start with Jesus.

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