Friday, November 2, 2012

Even me.

If we have spoken lately, I have probably said the two words, "even me" and here is why:

This is my sweet, dear friend Ruth.

I met Ruth in crowded room full of Kenyan children when we took shelter from a downpour of rain following our church service under the tree. Ruth and I ended up sitting on the floor next to one another and we talked for 30 minutes about our favorite things as the rain hit the roof.
We bonded over our mutual favorite color of green and our love for the song "Our God".

She styled my hair, held my hand, and wrote me the most beautiful note I have ever received in my nineteen years of life.

It's hard to explain the impact this 10 year old girl had on my life. We met for moments, but in every second, you could feel the love and life of Jesus pouring out of her. She was radiant and beautiful. As we walked back to the church under the tree, Ruth held my hand and said,
"Jamie, I will never, ever forget you."
I looked down at her beaming smile, and said, "Ruth, I will never forget you."

We went to the church under the tree several times after that; where we had the amazing opportunity to worship and share with the people living in the IDP camp (Internally Displaced Persons). Each time we went however, Ruth's friends informed me that Ruth was in school but that she gave me her greetings.

I spent our last Sunday in Kenya under the tree and sat through church without a sign of Ruth. I was so disappointed that I would be unable to say goodbye to my dear friend. After the service, however, Ruth and I caught each others eye across the field. We ran to greet each other. I hugged her for a long time and said,
"I am so happy to see you today, Ruth!"
"Even me." She replied.
"I was afraid I wasn't going to see you before I went home."
"Even me." She replied again.
I continued to hug her as I told her to always trust the Lord, to hear His voice, and follow His call. And before we left, we stood together and sang,

"Water you turned into wine, opened the eyes of the blind there's no one like you none like You!
Into the darkness you shine out of the ashes we rise there's no one like you none like You! Our God is greater, our God is stronger, God you are higher than any other.Our God is Healer, Awesome in Power, Our God! Our God! And if our God is for us, then who could ever stop us.
And if our God is with us, then what could stand against. Then what could stand against."

As we drove back home that day, I knew that I really could never forget Ruth.
Upon being back in America, I adopted saying "Even me" instead of "Me too" to just about everything.
It was a way of keeping her with me, and reminding me of her radiance. 
(Also, it was fun because no one really understood that "even me" meant "me too")

One day, as I was talking to my friend Lucy, I replied to something she said with "even me!" Lucy was confused and asked what I meant.
I told Lucy Ruth's story and she then proceeded to write this beautiful poem inspired by "even me."
Strangely enough, this poem is perfect for what God has been teaching me since I returned home: to become more like Him, to know His power and love, and to know He is enough. 

Oh God who never sleeps,
Give me endurance.
You lift the sun in the sky,
And pump light through him hourly,
Do so to even me.
Oh God who ceases conflict,
Give me loving eyes.
You orchestrate the peace of oceans,
And calm the tongues of beaches,
Do so to even me.
Oh God of every season,
Give patient faith.
You remind the rain of where to fall,
And remind it to be gentle,
Do so to even me.
Oh God of forgiving power,
Give me purity.
You cover the ground in cleansing snow,
And wash clean the dirty sheen of slopes,
Do so to even me.
Oh God Heavenly laughter,
Give me a joyful spirit.
You cause the fish to leap from their streams,
And the birds to spin in their sky,
Do so to even me.
Oh God of infinite wisdom,
Give me confidence.
You set the river’s flowing course,
And steady him within his banks,
Do so to even me.
Oh God who formed the Earth,
Give me reverent shaking.
You roar power with a voice of thunder,
And yet whisper to my tiny soul,
Do so, always, to even me.

-Lucy Marcella Baldwin

Do so always, to even me Lord. Continue to teach me and show me how to love like You love. And continually bring people like Ruth in my life to show me Your love and light and joy and peace and power. 
And then, do so to even me.

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