Into the Wild.

 

 

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The first time I visited Mwanza I was in a car accident. Phil and I were ‘just good friends’ and we were with the loveliest team – from Stourbridge, San Rafael and Coventry…

We entered the Serengeti with the roof up; Phil and I cozy on the front seat, team cameras ready, wind blowing in our hair.

Our guide decided we would like to see the ostriches. A whole herd of the odd looking birds with their skinny legs, big body and black feathers, those wings might not do much but those legs can run – not my favorite.

As our guide took off the path, and accelerated faster… the thrill quickly turned to threat as the jeep hit an area of water and we began to aquaplane.

Slow motion gliding ensued until the driver with no control let go, as did the truck – we spun and rolled – sending us in different directions.

I will spare the gory details but the scene was a mess – I lay motionless on the ground, with a potential broken back, a friend trapped under the vehicle, another broken collarbone. Detail spared.

Help was scarce – the first help came in the form of a man on a bike – then a packet of twenty cigarettes – perfect timing for us who had given up smoking to start again.

Help was eventually found in the form of a dump truck where we were loaded up, with me on the roof of the flipped truck as my stretcher. We were admitted to a nearby hospital where Phil took X-rays, a friend was operated on and the Masai nursed us on a maternity ward. We were thankful to be transported out of the area the next day by MAF (love you forever MAF) after the village had cleared an unused airstrip for us.

Fast-forward 18 years.

I woke on Wednesday at 4.30am to torrential rain. A storm of storms – lightening illuminating the whole house – thunder shaking the foundations – rain, rain, rain. It lasted for hours.

What’s more, it was our day off…and the team were excited to see the Serengeti!

My worst kind of traveling weather. Ugh.

As the morning progressed and our guide was late picking us up (TIA)

I began to feel more and more anxious about the trip, memories were flooding, images, fear, anxiety.

I began to pace up and down the living room.

‘Breathe Michelle Breathe.’

‘Jesus – me and you – we can do this.’

Cheryl sat reading her bible ‘read something to me’ I asked. As the word began to sink in – the presence of God arrived in freedom and healing. The trauma attached to the accident still evident and needing a freedom only God can bring. The team gathered. I had not orchestrated this moment, but God clearly had.

My bible was open to Isaiah 43.

‘Don’t be afraid, I’ve redeemed you. I’ve called your name. You’re mine. When you’re in over your head, I’ll be there with you…’

You’re mine

When our life is entrusted to the ultimate healer… it means healing is constant and a process.

I have personally seen God’s healing in many ways – sometimes through personal prayer and reading God’s word – many times through counselling and therapy – and often through the Spirit of God orchestrating ‘a moment’ – and the beauty of those moments all woven together.

The enemy of our souls likes nothing more than to keep us bound in trauma, past experiences and old habits.

The lover of our soul changes that.

How He loves us!

So, in my new found freedom. I honestly felt immediately different – if only it were always like that eh?

I sat fearless in the front of the jeep for a new Safari experience.

Where we saw everything we wanted to see.

Where we were first at the scene for the best.

I told Stephen our guide – you need to know we will see a rainbow today and I spoke to him of God’s promise over our lives and what that means. Of course we did – and this rainbow was over us and ahead of us for miles.

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We woke early and opted for a 6am adventure…

‘Oh and Stephen. You need to know that today we will see the lion, not just any lion – but a male adult’.

He smiled.

‘There are no guarantees’ he said.

I smiled.

We were first on the scene for breakfast time in the wild, females and cubs feasting – jackals scurrying and scavenging hyenas laughing.

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We sat for a long time in awe at the scene – just feet away, nature in its glory.

Then… as promised.

Silence descended upon the scene. As did redemption.

As the King had the last laugh.

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Thank you for joining me on my musings from Mwanza!

Be blessed,

Love, Michelle

See below for more Serengeti pics…

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SerMonday: Stormy thoughts.

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SerMonday: My take on the weekend message at WillowParkChurch.

From our new series #DiscoverJESUS.

Immediately he made the disciples get into the boat and go before him to the other side, while he dismissed the crowds.  And after he had dismissed the crowds, he went up on the mountain by himself to pray. When evening came, he was there alone,  but the boat by this time was a long way from the land, beaten by the waves, for the wind was against them.” Matthew 14:22-24

Jesus is seeking time alone with God, sending disciples ahead of him and dismissing the crowd so that he can be alone and pray.  Jesus dismissed them, ‘sent them away’. He is preparing himself for the increasing intensity of the ministry to come.

Meanwhile, the disciples are having their faith challenged in Christ’s absence.

The word used of the disciples beaten, ‘buffeted’ by the storm is the same word used in these two verses, a word that can refer to torment and demonic hostility.

“Lord,” he said, “my servant lies at home paralyzed, suffering terribly.” Matt 8:

“They were not allowed to kill them but only to torture them for five months. And the agony they suffered was like that of the sting of a scorpion when it strikes. ” Revelation 9:5

Two story lines are merging; While Christ is praying on the hill tops the disciples are being tormented by the storm.

We all know what happens next? Jesus came to the disciples walking on the water. How have you imagined that stormy water.

What did Jesus say to the terrified disciples? ‘Take heart, or take courage. It is I. Do not be afraid’

Matthew 14:28-31 “And Peter answered him, “Lord, if it is you, command me to come to you on the water.” He said, “Come.” So Peter got out of the boat and walked on the water and came to Jesus. But when he saw the wind, he was afraid, and beginning to sink he cried out, “Lord, save me.” Jesus immediately reached out his hand and took hold of him, saying to him, “O you of little faith, why did you doubt? And when they got into the boat, the wind ceased.  And those in the boat worshiped him,  saying, “Truly you are the Son of God.”

My thoughts from this familiar story.

Jesus dismissed the crowd. Seriously, if Jesus had to do it. So do we. Our crowd is not the same, of course, but there’s so much that crowds our life and distracts us from spending time with God. This isn’t an encouragement to switch off the TV or unplug social media – not that alone.

Are we frequently finding and protecting time to be with God?

Jesus did.

The image of the storm representing torment, or the sting of scorpion. This was powerful. I sit with church family who are right in the middle of the storm. I don’t have to list these storms. You know your own.

Jesus says today ‘Take courage. It is I, do not be afraid’. 

Storms are a part of life, I’m not going to say that by having faith and inviting Jesus into our storm that we always experience an immediate, physical still. I do believe when you invite Jesus, who is Peace, into your storm, that He gives you an indescribable inner peace and gives you the courage to face it.

And one day. It will stop.

My final thought. In August we went to Green Bay where Phil spoke at family camp for a week. We were invited to join a group on a ‘romantic, scenic’ boat trip around Kelowna. Taking in the sights and watching the sunset. About 10 minutes into the experience, the weather turned and we watched a grey, menacing storm roll in over Rutland.

Soon enough our romantic evening changed as Okanagan lake waves made their way to my romantically inspired hair and non waterproof make up.

We watched the storm unfold over our city and knew lives would be affected.

As it settled, I saw this from the boat…

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Often, when we are in the midst of it, we can’t see a way out, desperate to believe the promises, to hear God, we are thrown around, struggling to find a glimpse of hope.

It is then, that we need our community, our church family to step in and to see the promise for us. I have seen this repeatedly over the years of church life.

Life storms are often unbearable. Find yourself some rainbow chasers if you’re in one.

Love, Michelle xoxo