Saturday, February 25, 2012



emotional pain or distress; sorrow; grief; anguish.

It is sometimes hard to explain, but since returning home from our two trips to Ethiopia, I've been experiencing something that can only be described as heartache.  I look around me as I sit in my warm home, my (although not pretty) working minivan, my closet of clothes, etc., and I'm no longer comfortable.  All the things that are supposed to make my life comfortable no longer do; such irony.  
I think some people thought, "Well, she has her sweet boy home.  Hopefully this is all out of her system now."
I hate to say it, but it has been quite the opposite these past eight months.  
I have been vigilant of any and all mission trips I can take, organizations I can keep on my radar, and so on.  I am awakened in the dead of the night with a heaviness on my soul.  I walk through my days with undeniable awareness that I sometimes feel like an alien in my normal life.  God has awakened so much in my heart.
I was listening to Chris Fabry's talk show on Moody Radio the other day when he was talking to Dr. Don Davis.  Although Dr. Davis wasn't talking about Africa, he was describing the overwhelming feeling he has for the calling God has undeniably laid on he and his wife's hearts for serving in the urban areas of our country.  They played clips from his sermon at Founder's Week, and I immediately felt the connection with his words yelled (summarized):  Where is the passion, the fire that God laid on your heart?  Deny your comforts and GO and DO what God has called you to do!  This Christian life is not about keeping our things; it's about leaving it all to be obedient and do the crazy things God calls us to do.  Surround yourself with people who feel that passion, who cannot deny this magnetic pull to the "insane" calls, who encourage you to be obedient and follow the longing on your heart. 
I found myself in tears over this message.
Last night, after putting Jesse to bed and giving Ms. Alex her ten minute call to sleep, Steve asked if I wanted to watch tv; he loves his tv at night ;)  I just looked at him and gave him an emphatic, "No, I don't want to watch tv."  It probably was the look on my face or the tone in my voice, but he turned off the tv.
Last night, I just poured my heart out to my sweet husband.  I am just so blessed to have this amazing man by my side.  So, the skinny is that there's a lot in store for us.  Not this summer, but next summer there will most likely be a mission trip going back to the place that started it all.  And, after Jesse's adoption is paid off, there will most likely be another adoption.  We'll see what happens.
The decision to not go to Africa this summer is because my sweet boy isn't ready for me to be away that long nor are my kiddos ready for that kind of trip.  We have just gotten to a point where Jesse trusts me to leave him either at grandma's or Joy's house for a short amount of time (his amazing sitter and my friend ;)) and know that I'll be back.  I'm afraid he'll lose his cookies if I'm gone for a week. My babies need their mama first.  In the meantime, I'll be a prayer warrior and advocate for doing what I can for those in Africa.  I have to find peace with that for now.   
I'm asking for prayers as I move forward with whatever God calls me to do and with whatever God calls you to do.  He has amazing things in store for our lives and the lives of others.  It just may not be in the comforts of our environments.  We may have to go beyond our borders or our towns, or even churches.  I'm praying for courage for us all.  Let's lay it all down at His feet.  
Sending my love to you all.   

Thursday, February 16, 2012

How do I do that?

Since returning to school and getting back into the swing of being a working mom again, I've been experiencing the highs and lows of the demands and blessings of putting my teacher hat back on.  One of the blessings I've felt is from our church family, who through our children's ministry, is doing a fundraiser for Hannah's Hope, the orphanage where Jesse lived for his duration in Ethiopia.  I'm touched beyond words that our extended family wants to do this.  In turn, our children are decorating shoe boxes with Amharic words and Ethiopian colors and symbols to collect money to send to Hannah's Hope.  How cool is that?  There's a sweet video that our kiddos from our church put together connected to a touching story about a little boy who needed a pair of shoes and arrived at the doorstep of HH and his reaction to receiving his first pair of shoes, at the age of eight.  It just shows how there's so much we can do, and it doesn't take a lot, to make a difference in someone's life.
Kids' hearts gently remind me of their untainted desire to want to live fully; in a way that I think some of us forget or are not aware of.  Kids want to know that their lives matter.  Although they love the "stuff" we give them, when presented with the possibility of reaching out to someone else, they are almost always quick to give an unwavering yes; rarely are there ifs, ands, or buts...often like adults do.  Kids will give you more energy than you need to get a job done; just tell them what to do and why they're doing it!
Returning to the classroom mid year, I've explained that I took the time off to be with our little boy whom we adopted from Ethiopia.  Most of my students tell me that that is "so cool."  I also teach writing, and we use a lot of personal experiences as topics for writing and elaboration.  I sometimes discuss the impact Ethiopia has had on me and how my heart wants to go back, as soon as possible!  I would say the number one question my students have for me is this:  How do I do that?  
I am reminded that it is the adults who impose our desire for material things on kids.  Ultimately, they want to be inspired to do great things with their lives; they want to be useful.  When they see someone hurting, they want to know what they can do to help.  They just need to know that it is possible to do something and then be encouraged to see that action through.
Africa, to me, has opened my eyes to the possibilities that await us to be the hands and feet of Jesus.  It is people, every day people, who meet the needs of those who are hurting there, usually not government programs (which, in my opinion, we have turned into a farce here in the US due to "our" sometimes inappropriate dependence upon...).  It often is not someone with a doctoral degree or tons of wealth doing the serving; it is the every day person with a willing, courageous heart...every day heroes.
I believe our kids want to believe in heroes.  They want to be one.  They just want to know how and what they should do to accomplish this.  Intrinsically, they know that life is more than a big house, nice clothes, and popularity.  They just want to know that they can do it.
So, I'm so utterly thankful to be a part of a church who believes that our children can be someone's hero through the energy and love Christ has given them.  I'm thankful to be reminded that, even in the wealthy community I teach in, kids, deep down, want to help others; and that they sincerely aren't as interested in the material things we impose upon them.  It's refreshing to see this.
I ask for your prayers for our kiddos as they boldly step out into the world.  Inspire them through your actions to see that life is more than keeping up with the Jones'.  Show them the possibilities of how they can make a difference so their hearts ignite with a passion that extends beyond our shopping malls.  Walk with them to encourage them to navigate the "how do I do thats."
Thanks so much, my friends!