Friday, June 18, 2010

make straight the paths that crooked lie.

My eyes are heavy and I know that I should be sleeping. I have work in the morning and a long day ahead. But my mind and my heart are full.....

I have spent the last few minutes reading back over some of my blog posts from Uganda....oh how I miss that country. The people, the babies, the conversations, the simplicity of it all. While I enjoy the comforts of America immensely-- the distractions and materialism are exhausting. I am currently working full time at a doctor's office at the front desk, and let me tell you. That is a mission field in and of itself. I love interacting with the patients and attempting to show them the love and kindness of Christ in the minute or so that I spend with them.

Life has been interesting for me over the past few months. I am getting ready to move to my 8th location in the past year. Change and I are starting to become REALLY good friends. :o) You would think this would help me learn to trust the Lord more...but honestly....for a few months I feel like I lost my way. I have had a hard time carving out this new niche for myself here in Raleigh. It was more that just me that changed when I went to Uganda. Now that I am back I am realizing that most of my relationships with my friends have changed too. I have been looking for a more permnant place to live since I returned from Uganda. A wonderful family from my church has GRACIOUSLY let me stay with them for the past 3 months. Have I mentioned how much I love my church here in Raleigh, Vintage21. This family has shown me more love and grace and generosity than I know what to do with. I have loved being able to see them show Christ to eachother and to me. All of that said...I still do not have a "permanant" place to live! I know that the Lord already knows who I am going to live with and where I am going to live....I must surrender it daily to Him. He is continually reminding me how much I need Him. That He is the ONLY way to make it through the day and that HE is the ONLY constant I need. That even if I move 20 times in one won't matter because He will be with me every step of the way!

I am living in this intake of breath. In that moment right before you turn the corner and see a beautiful sight. I have seen the glimmer of joy and hope in His eyes and He is about to lead me somewhere amazingly unexpected. The Spirit is whispering to hold on, more change is coming, but cling to me. He will lead me. He will make straight the paths that crooked lie, Lord before these feet of mine.

Tuesday, March 30, 2010

I love today!

Why you may ask.....

Because today is my BIRTHDAY! I love that my birthday is in the spring. Everything seems so full of hope and promise. I am always reminded of the verses where it talks about that even if we don't praise the Lord it doesn't matter because the rocks and the trees will praise Him anyway. Spring is a TRUE testament to that.

(I get very reflective on my birthday) When I look over the past year the one thing that has covered this year is the Lord's gentle care and provision for me. Let me tell you...I always thought that life would look a lot different at 24. I had this vision in my head that I would be married to the perfect man, have the perfect job, and we would be happily living in our adorable house with a dog and I would be constantly whipping up amazing meals in the kitchen. Well...real life at 24 is that I am nannying because I left the country and don't have a fulltime job yet, definitely no husband, I am living in an adorable house (but it belongs to a great family that is graciously letting me live with them for a bit), I do not have a dog, but at least I got one part right. I AM whipping up some yummy meals in the kitchen! Last year the fact that life did not go AT ALL as planned kept me in a tizzy for awhile. Now. I am perfectly content with my life. That is only due to the goodness of the Lord. I know deep down that He has labored this year to draw me back to himself. He has gently allowed change to happen and recently he has totally provided for and blessed me in unexpected ways.

I also love that my birthday falls around Easter. I was actually born on Easter! I got new life on the same day that we celebrate Christ giving us all new life through His resurrection. I cannot wait to celebrate with my church family at Vintage21 on Easter! If you are reading this and you are not a part of a great need to be! I have learned so much about what a community of believers can truly look like. Everyday I am amazed at the humility and sacrifice that the Pastors make for their church.

I am excited to see what being 24 holds for me! And hey....maybe a few of those things I have been hoping for will happen....a girl can dream right! I hope that you all enjoy this Holy Week and time celebrating our life in Christ through what He did on the cross!

Friday, March 5, 2010

this heart that's overcome.

The sun is finally out in North Carolina today. The chill of winter seems to be possibly blowing away. The first signs of spring were seen in my friends house when her husband brought her a single daffodil. In North Carolina...daffodils = springtime.

Life for me has been a bit crazy as of late. Somedays I think the Lord just wants to have fun with me and see how far He can push me. There have been seasons in my life where I have felt like the good things were always happening to everyone else. Never me. Most things do not come easily for me, but I realized this week that it is because God is reminding me over and over again that if I will only rely on Him--BIG things will happen. When I left for Uganda all I really wanted out of the trip was to come back changed. I wanted to serve God and others and in the process heal and change. I have been back for awhile now and I wasn't really sure if that change had happened. But last night at bible study I realized I had. When I left I had no purpose for life or any idea what I wanted to do with my time. I knew I wanted to do something meaningful...but what? My bible study leaders, Mary Kate and Jayson Humphrey (also wonderful friends), asked us last night what kind of legacy did we want to leave or what sort of things did we want to accomplish. My answer shocked me. I had been toying around with this idea....but I felt the Lord showing me that this is exactly what I am supposed to do.

Answer: I want to start an adoption program in the Triangle area that specializes in international adoption of HIV/AIDS orphans. I want to provide training and support groups for the parents before and after they adopt their children to educate them on how to successfully care for them.

DO WHAT!? I left for Uganda an Interior Design major with a shattered heart and broken dreams and I come home with THIS? That is evidence of the Lord taking my broken heart and dreams and substituting it with His whole heart. It is also due to one precious little boy named Joshua. He was at Sanyu Babies Home and he had a family wanting to adopt him. Then they found out that he was HIV positive and chose another baby. Look at his face. How could they leave him behind? Now he may never get proper treatment. So Joshua. Thank you for giving me a better story. And Lord, thank you for allowing my heart to be overcome by your heart and redirecting my life for Your purposes.

Monday, February 1, 2010

the "re-entry" process

I have now been back in the States for a little over two weeks. My time has been filled with time with friends in Raleigh, time with family, job hunting, and relaxing and reflecting. Right now when I think about my time in Africa it almost seems like a dream. Like this wonderful dream with visions of children and laughter and love and learning all floating about and mixing into this grand glimpse of God's story for my life.

I posted previously about wanting to make a better story for my life. Well let me tell you....when I am in the midst of the grieving process from Uganda withdrawals....I lose a little bit of that gumption that I found again in Uganda. I have to remind myself often that my drive and joy for life that I rediscovered in Uganda is not based on my location in the world. It is based solely on my trust and fulfillment in the Lord. There is so much in our culture that distracts us from pursuing the Lord. The Food Network happens to be my personal downfall. (it is on right now as I type...but it is on mute...does that count as having self control...probably not) The Lord created us to have a constant relationship with Him. In Uganda since there was much less to distract it was somehow easier to keep most of my attention on Him. I am having to re-learn how to tune out the constant noise of our society and listen to His still soft voice that is constantly beckoning me to seek and find more and more of Him. Will I listen? or will I listen to my own voice and all the voices on television instead. In my sinful nature I listen to my self more times than I should. I know that His ways are better than my ways.

I have applied to a few jobs since I have been home. Mainly work in medical offices. I have no idea why but I feel myself drawn to working in some sort of medical office. I know that part of it stems from my desire to learn more about effective health care in the hopes of using that to serve the Lord internationally again at some point. I am also going to an information meeting this week at UNC Chapel Hill to look into a graduate program in Social Work and Maternal and Child Health. They offer a dual degree that looks fascinating to me. Right now the thought of going back to school is a little daunting, but I know that if the Lord wants me there He will make it happen.

I am also REALLY looking forward to a girls lake weekend coming up in five days! I am convinced that my group of friends really does have something special. The amount of love and support that is shown by EACH of us towards each other is nothing short of the Lord working through us. These women support me, challenge me, and encourage me through any and every situation. I know that this weekend will be good for my soul.

Those are my thoughts since I have been back. I did almost have a breakdown moment when I returned in the Gap Baby section. The knowledge that I could not bring a child with me about broke me. But the Lord has put that in my heart and now I must wait for His timing. Patience...seems to be the theme of my life. And the word encourages me with this

Psalm 27: 13-14
13 I am still confident of this:
I will see the goodness of the LORD
in the land of the living.

14 Wait for the LORD;
be strong and take heart
and wait for the LORD.

Thursday, January 14, 2010

leaving on a jet plane.

Well. All good things come to an end at some point. I have mixed emotions about leaving. I am sad, happy, confused, a little nervous. But there are so many good memories here. And...once Africa is in your never gets out. I will be back here. I am not sure when....but it will happen.

Here are a list of some of the memories I will always remember.

-singing in the kitchen with Hannah and Courtney while cooking Italian
- not being able to eat freshly slaughtered goat on my first day because the guys had hung the skin up on the wall
-going to Gulu and eating goat on a stick through the bus window and surviving 400 speed bumps there and back
-bathing in a bucket in the middle of the night in the middle of the yard in gulu
- the first time I went to the babies homes and heard the babies call me Mommy
-being on the taxi with Catherine and the Mocha Boys and them all having to smell my arms because of the woman with rotten fish in a basket (don't ask)
-two words. jungle trekking
-living in true Christian community at the Morris house
- crazy boda rides with Loring
-going to the deaf school and learning sign language
-"leading" a choir
-dancing at the Remand Home
-teaching to children that don't know english
-using my first aid kit to bandage up children
-little Jacob's smile
-Maria's laugh
-the deaf boy with Beautiful blue eyes
-seeing real Safari animals!!!
-serving the Lord and learning what that truly looks like
-learning to love with Christ's love
-seeing prayers answered

Oh the memories. This was such a blessing that the Lord would look upon me and use me for His glory. I am coming home a new woman. And that is exactly what I had prayed for.


is where I am headed. everything will still be there. It is me who has changed!

Friday, January 1, 2010

a new thing. 2010

It is pouring outside. I feel like God is washing us clean for the new year. It sounds like my own personal symphony on the clay roof. All of the other sounds in Kampala are drowned out by the rain. I love it.

With it being the new year I keep hearing the Lord saying. Let it go. Let the past go. If you do there will be more room for me. Let it go and I will rush in and fill up all of those places that are still taken up by unnecessary thoughts. So I am going to let him. It is a new year after all.

I feel such an immense peace and joy right now. I am learning to enjoy my singleness (never thought I would say that!). I am however, glad that 2009 is over. It was simultaneously the best and worst year of my life. It contained more tears, more pain, more heartbreak, more confusion, more courage, more joy, more laughter, and more hope than I ever thought possible. Now, I do not have the SLIGHTEST clue what the Lord has planned for 2010....but I am not too worried about it. If He can bring me through hell and back I think I am going to be just fine. I am going to leave the next 364 days alone and trust that they are in his hands.

Can I be honest with you? For the past 23 years of my life I have always had a fear of the unknown, change, the future. I am not sure when it happened, but somewhere along this journey towards the light the chains of fear dropped. Slowly, as past fears and hurts began to drop away like dandelions in the breeze. I allowed the Lord in. I let Him heal me. As I am writing this I can hear my dear friends and family exhale "Finally!" My eyes well up with tears at the amount of patience, love, and support you have all shown me over the past year and a half. Thank you.

While I am sad I only have 2 weeks left in this wonderfull, confusing, frustrating country....I know that it is time for this chapter to come to an end. This trip has read like a good book. It took awhile to get into the story, but once I did I loved it, and now I have that sad hesitant feeling I get when I see only a few pages left to turn. I don't want to keep reading it so it won't end...but I am desperate to find out what happens!

It won't be long now until I am curled up on the couch at home with Gracie. A fire will be going and we will be watching movies or telling stories. I have a feeling that it may be a difficult transition back to the states. I am a whole new person and I have to carve out a new place for myself. Friends and family....I hope you like the new me.
But I noticed the other day that the light in my eyes has I am sure you will.

Praise the Lord for a new year and a new me! Meredith version 2010 will be seeing you all in 14 days!!!

“This is what the LORD says— he who made a way through the sea, a path through the mighty waters, "Forget the former things; do not dwell on the past. See, I am doing a new thing! Now it springs up; do you not perceive it? I am making a way in the desert and streams in the wasteland.”-Isaiah 43:16