“Love is patient and kind. Love is not jealous or boastful or proud”
(1 Corinthians chapter 13, verse 4)
If you read my latest article 'Overwhelm', you will know that for me I’ve been sitting in a space of overwhelm over the last little while. A lot of that came down to the fact I had a lot going on in my life including a trip to Johannesburg, South Africa to surprise my African friends and family.
There's so many things to accomplish before my flight and a lot of overwhelming feelings about returning to a place I love so deeply and even though I’m here for just a few weeks I know it will be hard to say goodbye again.
Gift of Love…
I believe love is an incredible gift we have in this world, and that there is an art of loving. For some genuine and authentic love comes naturally, for others it’s something that’s a little harder that we work at, but love is something we can all give and feel.
Love makes one feel happier, stronger, more supported in life and happy within themselves. It gives us greater self esteem, compassion and kindness.
Happiest place on earth…
Today as I write this article I sit in one of my “happiest places on earth”. It's better than Disneyland in my opinion.
I sit surrounded by people I love and who love me back so deeply and although the buildings are different, some of the people and children are different, the atmosphere that I loved when I lived my season of life out at this children's home is the same albeit on a different property.
It’s a place with pure love and joy. I’m surrounded by people who have helped me grow in myself, in my vulnerability, my authenticity and so much more. A lot of what I’ve written about over the past year and the lessons I’ve learnt has stemmed from the season of my life that I lived here.
I thought I knew joy, I thought I knew love, I thought I knew compassion but when I came here, when I experienced all that these people and this place had to offer and teach me and when I got to journey in life here and on my return to Aotearoa- I learnt the art of love and the bigger picture of loves depths in my life.
I’ve been here a few days now and although some of the children may not remember my name, they may not remember me, I truly believe there is a heart connection.
I believe the art of love that I fostered in my relationships with them when I lived here with them from Dec 2018-Feb 2020 has played a part in allowing them to feel safe and connected to me still even if they cannot remember me or the time we shared together.
Within moments of them seeing me again, and us chatting and looking at pictures, they were comfortable, they were content and it was like time had not passed since I was here with them. So while they may not remember my name or the things we did, I truly believe that the art of love and the power of ‘matters of the heart’ has been overcome in this space.
Depths of Joy…
So as I am reminded of the depths of joy and the art of love as I sit in this space, I am grateful for God’s provision over my life and the season I lived out here, a season that was both beautiful and challenging, a season where I met some of the greatest friends I’ll have for the rest of my days.
I’m eternally grateful for all that this chapter has held and continues to expand and the lessons continue to be learnt as I return for visits and keep building these relationships fuelled by love and deep deep joy.
I would love to say that all these relationships, the love and the joy came easily, but if I’m honest it hasn’t. I’ve had to sit in spaces of discomfort, I’ve had to open myself up and be vulnerable and honest in ways I hadn’t before and I’ve had to learn to listen, to be respectful and to offer the same levels of love, joy and vulnerability to those who I’m journeying with.
It’s been a challenge for me to continue to walk in some of these relationships especially from afar, but the gratitude I hold for my friends who have become family is deep. I am grateful for the hard conversations, the quiet moments where the silence is loud but the love is bigger, the love filled hugs, the wisdom, the guidance and the hands that have held me in the hard times.
For me this trip, getting to hug my loved ones, getting to hug and kiss some of the young ones in my life, sitting in some deep and hard conversations with people who genuinely care, getting to meet some new babies who are so joy filled has been the reminder of his presence and provision over my life that I’ve needed lately.
“Those who plant in tears will harvest with shouts of joy.” (Psalms chapter 126, verse 5)
I am a Young Salvationist who lives in Upper Hutt, Wellington. I am passionate about enhancing the life experiences of others and do this in my paid employment as a Support worker for those with Intellectual Disabilities and as a volunteer leader for GirlGuiding New Zealand. I love to create, write and travel the world and have a passion for submerging myself in the cultures of each place I travel. I left my heart in Africa a month before Covid sent the world into lockdown and I cannot wait to be able to return and serve in a continent that stole so much of my heart.