Oh. How I have waited to type these words for so long.
::I'm going back::
To the land of the red dirt, smiling faces, rolling hills, and immeasurable joy and sorrow.
"I was that woman, but am not that woman now"
The me that is headed to Uganda this time is not the same as 3 years ago. The strange thing is. I'm a little nervous. Not about flying, or traveling alone, or that is may be "dangerous". No, I am nervous about how wrecked I may be. You see--the last time I went to Uganda I was an afraid, broken, mess of a girl. My dreams had been shattered and I was fleeing the country. Of course my church answer was that I wanted to go serve the people of Uganda and make his name known...but deep down, I knew that I was running as far away from the States as I could with the whispered hopes that He would meet me there and begin the healing process. When I arrived in Uganda- for awhile I was so caught up in my own pain and misery that my "serving" was really just going through the motions. It took weeks for my heart to soften and open up to loving the people. Thankfully though, it was in this beautiful country that the Lord began to put my pieces back together. He planted new dreams in my heart and renewed life and purpose to my weary soul.
So you see---I am healed and whole and redeemed now. He made me new.
I am terrified I am about to be broken again. But this brokenness....this is the kind that our Father longs for. He longs and yearns for us to turn from ourselves and look to the hurting and oppressed. He wants our hearts to break for the things that break his heart. He wants us to look so closely at Him that we can see the lines on His face. We live in a fallen and sinful world and deep & unthinkable heartbreaks happen to us all. But this is not His plan. He longs for all to be restored and made new. So this time with this brokenness-- I am going to lean into it. I pray that I will not be numb to the things I see but that it would cause me to weep and turn to the Father and ask what He wants me to do.
This leads me to another fear. What if he calls me back to Uganda--but then again, what if He doesn't? This is a point that I have prayed over and wrestled with and sat quietly to discern His answer. For now, He has me here. For now I spend my days working and serving and trying to love on the people He has placed in my life as well as I can. I pray that He will give me the strength to accept whatever answer He gives me. Because I know He is not done with me yet.
The most beautiful thing about this trip is that I am going to help a dear friend with her adoption process. When I initially decided to go to Uganda Lizzy prayed about going too and even sent an email to the same organization I did. While I got responses immediately--Lizzy never heard a thing. Ultimately Lizzy felt led to stay in Raleigh and serve with our church. About a month later she met the man she ended up marrying! Now, this beautiful couple have decided to do something that most people consider "radical". They are adopting their first child from Uganda instead of trying to have children first. For those of us who know Lizzy and Josh well---it just made sense! These two have such a heart for orphans and I know the Lord will use their obedience and their story to encourage so many others. They are in the process of adopting a little girl who will be about 1 when they get home! Since the Lord's timing is always perfect I do get the chance to go to Uganda with Lizzy after all. I will arrive a few days after Josh leaves.
I am beyond excited for the opportunity to come alongside Lizzy as she goes to appointment after appointment with a baby strapped on and figures out being a mother in a third world country. There will also be 2 other families from our church, and dear friends, who are also adopting in country and staying at the same guesthouse! Essentially, this is the trip I have been praying for since my feet hit US soil again.
My thankfulness that the Lord writes our stories runs so deep these days. I am thankful that things come in seasons and that He is never finished refining us into who He desires us to be. One of my favorite books, Hinds Feet on High Places, chronicles the journey of Much Afriad and her journey with the Shepherd. So I leave you with words that describe my hope these days. At a great precipice the Shepherd turns to Much Afraid [and I mean, aren't we all "Much Afraid" at times?] and says...
"I love doing preposterous things," he replied. "Why, I don't know anything more exhilaritaing and delightful than turning weakness into strength, and fear into faith, and that which has been marred into perfection..that is my special work, " he added with the light of great joy in his face. "Transforming things -- to take Much Afraid, for instance and transform her into-" he broke off and then went on laughingly. "Well, we shall see later on what she finds herself transformed into."
Lord, I cannot wait. To see what you will transform me into this time.