Fumbling Forward

“There is no growth in Christ without some difficulty and fumbling. If we are going to keep on growing, we must keep on risking failure throughout our lives.” (Brennan Manning, from Ragamuffin Gospel, pg. 169)

Lying in bed recently, striving for sleep…in vain. I’m envisioning the dorm kitchen at Sahel Academy, Niger, where we are headed in less than a month.

It is hot in there.

Sticky from the many teenagers who don’t wipe counters as well as I would like.

Trying to speak French to my beautiful Nigerien house-helper.

Straining to figure out the measurement conversions — cups to liters? Or is it teaspoons to grams? I am wondering how they do it there?

Now what am I supposed to do when faced with a scorpion? Kill it? Or run? No wait, run from cobras and kill scorpions. Catch grasshoppers. Wave to parrots. Chase lizards. Do not swim in the river.

Long skirts. Cover my shoulders. Scarf creatively (and appropriately) tied to cover my head.

Man approaches – look down. Woman approaches – smile. (I think?) (Note to self: check on that!)

Yeah. I think I got it.

But I don’t have sleep. Not now, anyway, while I aimlessly ponder these imaginary scenes.

My dear friend recently reminded me that “there is no grace for the imagination!” So true! Time for me to take some authority over my thoughts so I can get some sleep!

I must accept it. Failure, hardship, hurdles, stumbles, and fumbles ARE INEVITABLE. Especially when a person as flawed as I am steps out to try something so daring as moving to Africa!

Just as long as I am fumbling forward. Seeking to know God more, serve others wholeheartedly, giving my all to the task before me!

Twenty-seven days until lift-off! The excitement and fear and anxiety regarding the “unknowns” has been the battleground for me lately. But I can see the Lord teaching me new treasures, bringing me to a place of peace, a depth of trust I haven’t known before.

And now that I think about it, my hard times in life have been graciously mingled with victories, blessings, priceless lessons, maturity, wisdom and relationships. I’ve noticed that these things pretty much go together — these fumbles and trophies –when you are risking…oh, I mean… living life to the full.

So here’s to some more fumbling!

“Even if we could live a life with no conflict, suffering, or mistakes, it would be a shallow existence. The Christian with depth is the person who has failed and who has learned to live with it.” (Brennan Manning, Ragamuffin Gospel, pg. 170)


Walking across the Narrows Bridge -- two miles of curiosity-satisfying exercise!

3 thoughts on “Fumbling Forward

  1. As one who has fumbled quite a bit, I like your post. A compassionate ear and humble-learning posture tend to draw out grace from others. And perhaps the other will grow a bit too from their interaction with us, the alien.

  2. Ah Nikki, I somehow missed this post when you originally posted it and just came across it tonight. You have no idea how much comfort this just provided me reading that your battleground too is struggling with the unknowns. I’ve recently found myself struggling with this as well – granted, I think it’s been a constant struggle, it’s just resurfacing in a new way. Funny how that works 😉 – thanks for being so open and honest about your experiences.

    1. Mallory — so good to hear from you. How are you? Are you headed anywhere soon? I need to check out your blog to see about your updates! Consider yourself cyber-hugged! My love to you — Nikki

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