Friday, October 28, 2016

He Knows

O Lord, you have searched me and known me!
You know when I sit down and when I rise up;
You discern my thoughts from afar
You search out my path and my lying down and are acquainted with all my ways

Even before a word is on my tongue,
behold, O Lord, You know it altogether.
You hem me in, behind and before, and lay Your hand upon me.
Such knowledge is too wonderful for me;
it is high; I cannot attain it.

Where shall I go from Your Spirit?
Or where shall I flee from Your presence?
If I ascend to heaven, You are there!
If I make my bed in Sheol, You are there!
If I take the wings of the morning and dwell in the uttermost parts of the sea,
even there Your hand shall lead me,
and Your right hand shall hold me.

If I say, "Surely the darkness shall cover me, and the light about me be night,"
even the darkness is not dark to You;
the night as bright as the day,
for darkness is as light to You.

For You formed my inward parts;
You knitted me together in my mother's womb,
I praise You for I am fearfully and wonderfully made.

Wonderful are Your works;
my soul knows it very well.
My frame was not hidden from You,
when I was being made in secret,
intricately woven in the depths of the earth,
Your eyes saw my unformed substance;
in Your book were written every one of them
the days that were formed for me
when as yet there were none of them.

How precious to me are your thoughts O God!
How vast the sum of them!
If I would count them, they are more than the sand
I awake and I am still with You!

Psalm 139
It's amazing, unfathomable and humbling to try and understand how much we matter to God!
Why He chooses to love us imperfect, sinful, wandering, helpless and needy humans, but He does!  
He does SO much!

He knows what we'll do before we do it.
He knows what we'll think before we think it.
He knows what we'll say before we say it.
He takes care of us.
He protects us.
Even if we run, we cannot get away from Him and His love for us!
He knew us even BEFORE we were born!
He knew us BEFORE our mothers knew we were there!
He knows the number of our days.
And He knows what will fill each and every one of them!

I have 9 children who I love and care for and even more who I work with weekly.  But they each have stories I have not been a part of.  Wounds and hurts, joys and triumphs that I will never know or get to be a part of.  God has seen each and every one of their days... even before they were born and breathed their first breath of air!  
This is just one small area, of one small town, in one small country, on one continent in the world.  
There are SO many children, with different hurts and struggles and stories and yet God knows each-and-every-human who ever has, is and ever will be on this planet.  
He knows us individually and intricately.

My precious little Moses, whom I love so, so very much already has a past and future that I don't know.

I don't know who gave birth to him.  
I don't know the circumstances she found herself in.  
I don't know why she chose that particular garden to place the child she had just delivered. 
I don't know if she was hoping he'd be picked up or die there. 
I don't know for sure that he was premature.  
I don't know if the man who fathered him knows of his existence.  
I don't know if she watches us from afar.  
I don't know if I will be able to adopt him. 
I don't know what friends he will make. 
I don't know what he will be when he grows up. 
I don't know if he'll be right handed or left handed or need braces or break an arm or...  
 I don't know if he will come to know the Lord as his Savior, even though I pray he will!!

 Of only one thing I do know...

PC: Christopher Mullen

I know that God knows!  
And that's enough for me.  
Because I know that God's way is perfect and He has everything under His control in the palm of His powerful hand!  And I praise the Lord for that comfort!

PC: Christopher Mullen

Wednesday, April 20, 2016

Not My Own Understanding

I don't claim to know everything about raising a newborn. But I also am no stranger to them.  I know the sleepless nights and diaper changes, spit up and their general neediness/helplessness.  I am however, somewhat a stranger to "healthy" newborns since the ones I have cared for have always been drug babies and medically fragile ones.  I know they change your lifestyle and make life busier and us more tired.  But I also know the joy that comes from caring for God's precious little ones.  And for that reason, I know it is worth every second of lifestyle change.

I am also no stranger to having to say goodbye.  I am not good at them.  I hate them.  I don't look forward to them or look back on them with fond memories.  But I have had too much practice with them to not know what to expect or how to handle them.  All the babies I have helped raise have been foster babies and it becomes necessary at one point or another to let them go.

Being a mother is something I have wanted to be since I was as young as I can remember... and even these 30 years later, remains a great desire the Lord has yet to fulfill.  And it may never be.  I fully know that.  It remains something I have to continually surrender to the Lord.

I struggle as a single woman to know just what to do sometimes when the desire is so strong.  It's hard to hear mamas complaining about their children, neglecting them, giving up on them or even dumping them on the side of the road.  Some people are well intentioned and say "Enjoy your freedom", "You get to be around lots of kids... but it's even better because you can just send them home" "it's so much work" or my favorite... "You'll understand someday. Just you wait."

.. I am.

And I have been for a long time.  But I do think I've played enough of a "mothering role" to understand what I am missing out on.  I can get very jealous when I watch families interacting and mothers mothering. I know that is a sinful response of mine and I am working with the Lords help, to overcome that.  While I am thankful and blessed to be able to do what I do right now... it doesn't erase one of my deepest desires.  And that is to be a wife and mom.

Many older single girls struggle with feeling lesser or pitied or unwanted.  Often times we feel younger and are treated so simply because of the "single" status. It's almost as if adulthood isn't something to be attained until you're married.  It can be hard to feel treasured and precious in God's sight because we don't have that picture here on earth.  But it's true none the less and it's only Satan's way of making us feel worthless so we will give up on the callings God has on our lives.

You might be wondering where I am going with all this.  And you'll just have to wait.  ;)

I am not writing this to complain or seek affirmation.  I hope this isn't taken that way.  I'm not pining or hopeless.  It's taking a great amount of courage to share my inner heart so publicly.  But I am sharing because it is something I am learning and continuing to grow through.  I am seeing how all the things the Lord has brought me through in my life (the desires from a young age, caring for foster kids, the goodbyes and even singleness) have prepared me for life here in Uganda.  There have been and still are so many years of wondering "Why this, God?" And "Why don't you do it this way?", but it's so amazing to be able catch glimpses every now and then of God's bigger and more beautiful picture!

Trust in the Lord with all your heart and not on your own understanding. In all your ways acknowledge Him and He will direct your path.
Proverbs 3:5&6

Pray for me as I continue to follow the commands in this verse!

Wednesday, March 30, 2016

Overlooking His Gifts

There was an awesome lightning show last night! It was incredible to watch God's creativity and majesty so boldly on display! May we not overlook His gifts even in the normal every day things.  It took the beautiful storm to remind me of some things.  I have been convicted that I haven't stopped lately to enjoy these wonders and have been missing out on so many of His daily blessings.  These things come in all different shapes, sizes and colors, but it is often only the "big" ones I choose to praise God for and overlook the "little" ones that are just as deserving of thanksgiving and praise. 
A few days ago we climbed up 3 or 4 waterfalls and swung on vines with some half naked Ugandan kids who we couldn't communicate with, in a setting similar to how I imagine the Garden of Eden (snakes included!)...
I get to watch kids struggle and work hard to learn something.  And then find joy and pride when they finally understand...
 My hair gets braided, unbraided, pulled and snarled often by 4 or 5 sweet little hands at a time...
I played hymns on my flute with other instruments and people praising God on the day we remember Christ's resurrection and his greatest gift of salvation to us...
 We climbed Mt Wanale and dried off in the sun after splashing around in the water fall there...
Daily I am surrounded by kids who call my name in a cute accent who want/need love and attention, and I have the honor of giving it to them, but fail so often to do so...
 I get to hear laughter after something funny is said in a language I can't understand and still laugh along because laughter is just that contageous...
 I get to hold little babies and pray over their precious lives...
I love it when these faces appear at my windows and I hear their greetings...
I am encouraged and challenged by the ladies prayer group and look forward to that time of refreshment every week...
Dance parties in between football games where the kids laugh and make fun of my attempts to dance like them...
I love getting skype calls and silly voice messages on my phone in the middle of the night from my little loves Isaiah and Elysse...
 I am even learning to be thankful for the constantly dirty floors because it means my home has been filled with many feet and I am surrounded by God's children...
  I can even be thankful for the sick stomach I have right now that made me rest and think on these things!  So often I neglect being amazed at God's goodness, His blessings and the gifts (big and especially the small) that He sends.  It's easy to be distracted and overwhelmed by the great needs there are here.  It is in Him that we live and move and have our being and so often I forget to praise Him for that.  It can become habit to pray "Lord may we glorify you today in everything we do" and much less make a practice of it.  I can get so task focused and forget the important stuff.  I can worry so much about the state of things around me and before I know it, my own life is out of sync with God's will for my life and I have lost the joy He desires me to have in glorifying and serving Him.
Psalm 8:1 - O LORD, our Lord, how majestic is your name in all the earth! You have set your glory above the heavens... when I look at your heavens, the work of your fingers, the moon and the stars which you have set in place, what is man that you are mindful of him, and the son of man that you care for him? ... O LORD our Lord how majestic is your name in all the earth!

Saturday, February 6, 2016

Longer Term?

It's looking that way!
Originally I had signed up for 9 months-1 year to see if missions was something I felt called to do long term.  Even though I'm only 1/2 way through that, I cannot imagine being anywhere else than in Uganda!  I can see how the Lord had been preparing me all my life for something like this.
What I do here in Uganda will probably alter only a little bit.  I would love to keep the reading classes going, start the girls Bible study I have in the works, continue building friendships/relationships with the kids, etc... but!  I would like to add foster care to that.  As you all know, that is something I am very passionate about and love to do, but it is nearly impossible for me to do in the states. 
Combining missions, a country I love and foster care sounds like a dream come true!  I am still looking into this opportunity, but it's something I feel very strongly about pursuing since I am passionate about it and I know it's a way I can hopefully make a deeper difference in a child's life.  While foster care is "easier" in Uganda than in the states as far as government restrictions and requirements go, I know it isn't "easy" at all... but quite the opposite.  I trust the Lord and know He will grant me strength to do what He has called me to and will make doors open if it is His will.

The special needs kids are very much looked down on and often completely rejected here.  Ideally, I'd love to help special needs kids get healthy physically, form good relationships with their birth families and help them learn to love and care for their children... all while sharing the love of Jesus and His salvation in a 24/7 possition!
I have a lot to do to prepare for all this.  Housing and funds namely.  I trust the Lord will provide, but I also believe I need to do my part in that and not just sit back waiting.  So I have created these t-shirts as a start.  They are available for purchase until Feb 22, 2016 and wil be shipped directly to you within 14 days after that!
I created them keeping versatility in mind.  These could be used for someone who just loves Africa or work for adoptions or adoption gift or mission teams heading anywhere in Africa.  There is absolutely no pressure at all to buy one of these shirts.  I know God will provide if this is what He wants me to do.  But I would appreciate your prayers as I walk this next part of the journey!