All the Small Things: Glimpses of God's Goodness
There’s a song I have been listening to on repeat lately called “Yes I Will” by Vertical Worship. The first verse of the song says,
I count on one thing
The same God that never fails
Will not fail me now
You won't fail me now
In the waiting
The same God who's never late
Is working all things out
You're working all things out.
The whole song is beautiful, but as I started to write this blog post the words of this verse came to mind. God’s timing is never late and He is the one working all things out, even when we do not see it.
After coming back to Kenya at the start of the new year, I took some time both to reflect on the last 15 months of our life here in Nairobi and to prepare for the next 8. It’s easy for me to focus on all the things that have been hard or gone wrong or what we haven’t had during our time here. Uprooting your life and moving to any new city is almost always going to be hard. My best friend recently moved back to her hometown after having lived pretty far away since she left for college and the things she and her husband are struggling with are in many ways the same as the things Aaron and I struggled with when we first moved to Nairobi. Finding a new church, making new friends, settling into a new home, figuring out a new job: none of these are easy! Top it off by moving to a new country with an unfamiliar culture and a city with a challenging infrastructure. After dealing with rats in the attic, a flooded room/broken water tank, difficult team dynamics, countless power outages, terrible traffic and having our car hit by a motorbike, what seemed like a constant stream of bacteria and parasites finding their way into my body, and phew….I’ll admit that there were many times in the beginning that I was ready to throw in the towel and move back to my very comfortable life in Greenville, SC. But then the Holy Spirit reminds me of ALL the good and precious gifts God has given us in this season.
But then the Holy Spirit reminds me of ALL the good and precious gifts God has given us in this season.
It’s undeniable, when I take the time to actually think about it, that God has been working all things out well before we were ever aware, even the smallest things. When I reflect on our time in Kenya, there are so many things that have happened, especially within the first few months of us living here, that seemed to be random coincidences. Of course, they weren’t actually random or coincidental. It was the Lord giving us sweet and undeserved gifts. It was Him working all things out for us at a time when we often didn’t even know what we needed! So instead of seeing all the things that have been difficult or that have gone wrong in the last 15 months, I’m now seeing all the many, many ways the Lord went before us and gave us so many blessings in this season. So that you can truly understand what I’m talking about, here’s a few examples.
Within our first month in Kenya, I was introduced by email to a friend of a friend of a friend. (This is only just the beginning!) She and I had coffee, and she introduced me to another friend. Unfortunately, both of these women were soon moving to another country, but in the few months that we overlapped here in Kenya, they were such huge blessings. One of these ladies taught a barre class at her house. Aaron drove me to barre class one morning, but keep in mind this was still within our first couple weeks here. We certainly did not have traffic patterns figured out yet, so it took us 50 minutes to drive 3.5 miles. We almost turned around and gave up. But we made it! Casey did barre class, but then we also ended up buying a lot of furniture from this family since they were moving soon. We didn’t know at the time how amazing this was, but later learned just how challenging it is to buy quality and affordable furniture in Nairobi - it’s not an easy task! But on top of the furniture, this family, whom we only got to see a handful of times in total, ended up introducing us to some couples they thought we’d get along with, several of whom have now become some of our closest friends here!
This same family also told Aaron about pick up basketball games that happened every Tuesday night at a nearby international school. Aaron started going weekly & loved the chance to get some exercise, play basketball and meet some new guys! Through basketball, he met several other people that would become some of our good friends, even a few fellow South Carolinians! One of the families we met invited us to our first Thanksgiving meal in Kenya!
The web of people we’ve met is not something we could’ve ever planned or figured out on our own. When we look back at all the connections, it’s clear that God was working things out for us.
Another example was our journey to finding a church. We visited quite a few churches because we were having a hard time finding where we felt like we belonged. We could look back and regret wasting too many Sundays visiting different places, but instead I am again reminded that God was working things out for us. At the first church we visited (which is actually the church we ended up at, but it wasn’t until 3 months later), a family came up to us immediately after service and introduced themselves (they knew we were new because you have to raise your hand if it’s your first time - ha!). That family continued to check on us in the coming days with the chaos around the election season, even though they had just met us! They are now also some of our closest friends here and we see them at least once a week! While at another church that we attended only once, we learned from someone we met about a cut through road near our house that we use weekly now. In all honesty, we were frustrated that it took us so long to find our church home here, but I look back now and see all the little blessings God was giving us as we visited different places.
I’m pretty sure I could fill a book with all the countless examples of the ways God was working things out for us, both small and big. These examples are all just from the first couple months of our life in Kenya. Not to mention the incredible gift of even having the opportunity to live in a country filled with such magnificent beauty (just look at these photos! It’s unreal!). It all shouts of His goodness to me. Even the birds can be blessings! The above photo is of the same kind of bird as “Zazu” from The Lion King. If you know me well, you likely know how much I have always loved The Lion King. Just that little bird is a glimpse of God’s sweet gifts to me! It’s real life ZAZU!
The last example I’ll share is when we decided last minute to go to a yard sale taking place about 30 minutes from our house. We arrived a little late, and there wasn’t really anything we needed, but as we were leaving, one of the women we had just met invited us to her house nearby for lunch. We went over and had lunch with her family, and while we do not get to see them as often as we’d like, this family has helped us in more ways than I could probably count. They connected us with the company that has helped us get our work permits, resident ID cards, driver’s license and the list goes on. I’m not sure what we did before we had their help and advice!
It’s almost crazy to think back and wonder “what if” we hadn’t gone to barre or basketball or a yard sale or visited a church or any number of other small things that ended up leading to other small things that eventually led to friendships, community, a church, residency, and so much more. God’s hand is evident in it all and His kindness to us that he would work all of this out is humbling. He is far more good to us than we deserve.