When you don't all look the same

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{Guest Devotional by Jen Mguni}

You were all called to travel on the same road and in the same direction, so stay together, both outwardly and inwardly. You have one Master, one faith, one baptism, one God and Father of all, who rules over all, works through all, and is present in all. Everything you are and think and do is permeated with Oneness.
But that doesn't mean you should all look and speak and act the same. Out of the generosity of Christ, each of us is given his own gift. Ephesians 4:4-7 (MSG)

Seven and a half years ago I walked down the aisle. 

With careful steps toward the man standing in front of the beautiful big bay windows, I looked around at the smiling faces of friends and family as they rose from the uncomfortable beauty of the old teak benches. 

To some in that gathering, this marriage was a sort of uncomfortable beauty. 

On our wedding day we felt completely loved and supported by our family and friends, but we had climbed more than our fair share of hills to get to that point. 

Southern Africa is still wading through the mud created by centuries of inequality and oppression along race lines. History always has ripple effects that extend into the present and at times these felt more like tidal waves than ripples to us. 

When I was growing up, difference was seen by many as something to fear. 

Diversity didn't get marketed as a strength and many people thought that the differences between my husband and I would be obstacles to our happiness. 

It's true that there are big differences between us. 

Our skin colour is one of them but it certainly isn't anywhere near the biggest hurdle that our relationship faces. My husband processes audible information very well and I suffer from an inability to do that. My husband is analytical and I'm more likely to take things at face value. My husband prefers team sports, I prefer exercising on my own. I love cooking and eating, my husband would happily just take a tablet each morning if it still meant he got all the nutrients he needed. 

When we got married, I saw the obvious differences of skin colour and the cultural differences of our families, and they didn't matter to me. 

A few years into our marriage those things still didn't matter to me but I suddenly realized how different we were in a hundred other ways, and if I'm really honest, this realization frightened me a little bit. 

I had to learn that diversity is strength. 

I had to learn that with some things we really needed to be on the same page but with others we did best when we gave each other the space to be different. 

For me, this lesson unfolded in the context of marriage but it's true of our other relationships too. As followers of Christ we are united through our faith in God's grace. 

We have common foundations, but that doesn't mean that we need to turn into a disturbing crowd of clones. 

God could have made us all the same but He didn't. He made us different. (Tweet this)

Our niche is found not in a place where we're all the same but in a place where we learn to be comfortable with who we are so that we can also allow others to be themselves.

Ponder: How do you handle differences in your relationships?

Prayer: Jesus, help me to be comfortable with myself so I can allow others to themselves. Amen.

{About Jen Mguni: The Author Of This Guest Devotional}
Jen Mguni is a Zimbabwean-born South African, currently living in Germany. She is an instructional designer, writer and poet, with a learn-as-you-go-style passion for photography. She love's playing with light and colour and feels exhilarated when words come together surprisingly on a page. She writes about finding grace in the grit and grime of life and about the love of God seeping into every crack and callous, transforming the broken into the beautiful. You can read her blog posts and poems at freshmercies.com and connect with her on facebook and twitter
Jen Mguni takes beautiful photos and makes great designs with inspirational quotes. She is giving away a pack of 12 encouragement photo cards. If you would like to win the set share this post on facebook or twitter. Once you've done this email wendy@ilovedevotionals.com with the link to shared post. 

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Photo Credits Love and Sunset Pink Sherbet Photography Zebra alles-schlumpf via photopin cc | Design: Wendy van Eyck

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