can I be honest? Ok, I think i’ve established that this is a place for honestly and realness. I love Africa, you know that right? God put it on my heart randomly one day through our desire to adopt from there and since then He’s given more way more opportunities than I deserve to go there. to serve and love. in the past 2+ years, I have fallen in love with Africa. specifically with the places I’ve been- Ethiopia, Rwanda + Uganda. In each of those countries I have friendships and relationships that I hold very dear. In each country we have kids who call us “mom and dad” or “mama and papa” or “mum”. I’ve been home from my last trip for almost 3 months. 3 months and I have yet to tell you one story. or post any pictures that I took with my “real camera”. and I have a confession about that.
I’ve been mad at Africa. can I say that out loud? well, I said it to my dear sister Wendy 2 weeks ago and just saying that out loud to her brought me freedom. and I’m all about freedom. so I’ve been mad. I’ve been praying and asking God to change my heart. [instead of asking Him to send me to a new continent where I can start over + do things the right way…]. Ya know that book, When Helping Hurts? it’s true. helping does hurt sometimes and we have learned so much the past few years. we know we haven’t done everything right, and we still have a lot to learn. I want Africa to not be all about me. I want it to be about God. and it being NOT about me, has taken away the fantasy of it. I used to dream almost every day of being back in Africa. of living there. of just visiting. and Lord willing, we will be back and Africa will continue to be the place God sends us.
but I”m not there right now. instead I’ve been trying to avoid it. to “put off” all the issues that I need to deal with. in my own heart and in specific situations. there has been a lot of stuff go down in one of my most beloved places on earth. the enemy is attacking, and it’s getting dark. it’s hard. the enemy wants to sink his teeth into these precious souls. but today! oh today! I am claiming VICTORY. Jesus has already won + He will protect those souls. He loves them more than I EVER could. and He’s got this!
two nights ago God started to soften my heart. I don’t know what it was. I was looking at my pictures from my time in Uganda with our Noonday artisans [that you will see very soon!] and maybe it was them? maybe it was the hope and joy in their faces. maybe it was in some of their smile-less faces. thinking about their lives, and how hard their road has been. but knowing that because they know CHRIST- they have hope. they know that God will not forsake them, or ever leave them. and that gives me hope. excitement to think about how much further they will have come in their walk with the Lord the next time I get to visit. and the next. and the next.
africa gets into your soul. you can’t help but want to give your life to serve it’s people. to give your time, your money, your resources, your energy, yourself. I have given myself to those people on the other side of the world that are like family to me. I can be mad at situations, I can be hurt, I can be frustrated with the way my “western” mind and heart wants to do things all I want, but at the end of the day, I can’t abandon them. I can pray more, I can seek Him, I can be patient and WAIT for Him to tell us what to do next. Open hands. open hands.
You are going to be hearing a lot more about my family in Africa. and I’m not going to apologize for that. I’m finally getting to a place where I want to talk about it, I want to dive into the hurt + pain again, and writing and editing pictures is how I get there. it’s my therapy. I want to use my voice and use this space to TELL YOU about the amazing ways that YOU can get involved. no one is paying me to do that. it’s my heart. and I want you to join me. even if it’s going to be hard— it’s going to be worth it.
Wherever God leads, is where I want to be.
ps- i’m not sure why I put that picture in this post. maybe because I don’t like my posts without pictures [the photog in me] but I think mainly it struck me as a reminder…this was me IN Africa this June. In Uganda actually at dinner with our friends at Sole Hope [shout out!] and I love the joy and hope I see in my eyes. I love it there. It feels like home. and maybe I just needed that reminder today. thanks for obliging me. #nottryingtobenarcasistic