Friday, March 3, 2017

What I learned this winter 2016/2017

Shout joyful praise to God, all the earth!
Sing about the glory of his name!
Tell the world how glorious he is.
Come, let us rejoice in who he is.
Psalm 66

As Emily P Freeman says: Instead of waiting for the world to stop, let’s slow ourselves, look around, and name what we see. What have I learned that I don’t want to forget? I am inspired by her, who shares a list of what she’s learning four times a year. This is my first try and I am linking it with her blog.

I like Emily's way of creative and spiritual direction and took her Fall class of "Create + Complete", last October. But the learning continues and I am often coming back to process what I thought I understood.

1. Finishing a project that matters 

is about learning the balance between pushing through resistance as well as pacing yourself as you go. It’s also about ignoring good things on purpose which don’t matter. 

My husband and I live and work in northern Côte d’Ivoire to help train pastors and their wives. But deep in me developed the wish “to understand the muslim Dioula women better and help them to find creative solutions to develop, become alive and grow spiritually." So I moved to a Dioula town in January to learn the Dioula language and to understand the culture better. It’s not easy at all to learn a new language. But I enjoy my simple setting, living in a court yard of the Coulibaly family in the midst of the Dioula people. As I am learning their language, I am also listening closely to Jesus and his word to follow his guidance, to understand of what the project wants to be.

2. Learning that Limitations and Boundaries 

are good and necessary. They are even the very borders within creativity grows best.

3. I learned a lot from Emily’s Quiet Collection especially Day 10     

     “Anti-Hustle” Bread - Mark 8! So good. 

Jesus wants to have Kingdom conservations with us but because of our limitations, he always needs to come back to provision. V 17 He is inviting us to live differently and we are looking around distracted counting bread. He is pointing out the YEAST of the Pharisees and how selfish ambition can ruin the whole batch. But I can’t hear it because I am all about where is the bread? There is not enough. Am I going to be o.k.? But this is the Jesus who fed the crowds already twice with lots of bread leftover! How so often am I pointing out the lack rather then having Faith for the plenty. Jesus says: “I am the BREAD !” And there are plenty of broken pieces left over in the baskets! Why am I always forgetting the point? Jesus invites broken people to come and feast on broken bread. It’s not about my way and my timing with whole loafs of bread. There is an invitation to hold the bread in your hands to see your day and your work with kingdom eyes. To feast on Him, to move forward with the energy that comes from eating the broken pieces. 
“This is my body broken for you. Do this in remembrance of me.”

4.  Dawa is a special ink 

During my Dioula language study I am also drawing quite a bit to help me memorize words and phrases. I discovered DAWA. Dawa is an ink, made from the Kotoyiri tree used for medicine. My neighbor is a Marabou (Koran teacher) and uses Dawa to write Koran verses on tablets to wash them off and collecting the liquid in bottles. He let me try drawing and writing with his ink. When dry it has a beautiful dark brown shine.

5. “Breathe” and “Wonder” 

are the words to help me pay attention to life, myself, and God’s presence. How sad would it be, when we stand before great wonder and feel nothing. Let’s ‘breathe’ to awaken and to be attentive to the world around and in us. Let’s ‘wonder’ with passion about the beauty of God’s ways.

I want to close my reflections in summarizing this past 3 months with a quote from 

Joy Saweyer: 

“We want to be fully aware of God. And we want to be unified with his purposes in the world. In short, we want God to find his perfect artistic expression in us and through us.”

What have you learned this past season?


  1. Thoroughly enjoyed your thoughts-and fun finding a "neighbor " through the Emily freeman linkup (I'm in Ghana) ...wondering if we have any equivalent special ink, as well. Aren't local finds fun ? (We found maringa trees and harvest them sometimes)

    1. Hi Anna, thank you for your comment and getting in touch. So where in Ghana are you? I do think that you have the same sort of ink in Ghana, as that is what the Marabous all over West Africa are using to do their work of magic. I lived and worked in Sokode, Togo for a few years, where I saw them use the ink, but I didn't know how it was produced at the time. Now I am in a small town in northers Côte d'Ivoire, called Kong. We have got Moringa trees here as well. I use the leaves fresh and dry.

  2. Beautiful - I am really enjoying reading your blog.