I have 4 kiddos with malaria and all 14 of us have an awful cold, tis the season in Uganda.
so I decided it was a perfect day to send Christine to her sister's (she is the only one of us that isn't sick and I would like to keep it that way), stay in our pj's, make some fresh squeezed orange juice, and pop in High School Musical for the kids while I cleaned my whole house top to bottom.
Funny, cleaning my whole house can actually make me feel BETTER. (yes, I inherited this from my own mother!) Its nap time now and I figured I better check in on you all and let you know what has been going on with us.
At first I wasn't really going to share a whole lot in this blog, but I decided that in order to be real, one must be vulnerable... so here goes. Tuesday, Ben left. Friday, my dad and my brother left. This morning, my best friends for the last 8 months, Joe and Melissa Terranova, moved back to America. This weekend, I thought my heart may literally break in half. It hurt physically.
Watching the man I love interact with my children and participate in my life was such a wonderful blessing. Watching him leave was much harder than I expected. I emailed a sweet friend this note a few days after he left:
"Ben left Tuesday. I am trying and trying and trying to praise the Father for the sweet time He allowed Ben to but honestly, my heart is just broken. In moments where I never before would have thought about him, driving to town, bandaging wounds, cooking dinner, reading at night, I now miss His presence. It hurts. I want for him to be happy. I want for him to use the talents God has given him! But selfishly I just want him to be here with me, to help me. I never before felt incomplete in my life here. His absence makes my life feel that way a little. I know that I need to cling to the promise that God is all I need to be complete but sometimes it is easier to talk the talk than to walk the walk. My dad and brother are leaving today, and Joe and Melissa, my best friends here are leaving Sunday. It feels incredibly lonely. I know though, that I wouldn't trade this lonely feeling for the days that Ben, Brad and Brad were able to spend here. It was undoubtedly more than I could have asked or imagined (look at their words on my blog!) and I know that their eyes were opened so much more to my work and my life and I am so thankful. SO thankful. He is GOOD."
It was a dark place there for a few days.
In some wonderful quiet time over the last few days, in praising while cleaning my beautiful, wonderful little Ugandan home, God has spoken an immense Peace to my heart. I am just so in love with Him, My Savior. He always has just the right words. Saturday He took me through my relationship with Ben, showing me how He has used Ben's awesome athletic talent to take Ben to the most perfect places, put him in the lives of the most perfect people, grow him in his patience and courage and strength, and ultimately create him as the Ben that I love. For the first time I didn't question how Ben would use his athletic talent for God's glory and saw how God had used that talent for His own glory in Ben's life. Why did that take me so long? He also spoke clearly to me that (of course) it IS His perfect plan that there is not a man in my life right now. I know in this stressful, sometimes just down-right hard life how easy it would be for me to quickly turn my dependence to a person, rely on him for my happiness and advice. Surely that is the last thing God desires for my heart! HE wants to be my lover, my happiness, my source of comfort and strength and wisdom. He has me right here without other adults who could ever take His place while He cements in me my full reliance on Him. Again, duh. So that's the Ben thing, for all those who were wondering ;) I will continue to support Him as much as I can from here and I know he will do the same for me. And we will just continue to trust in God's perfect plan.
Then there is the family. OH, how beautiful it is to see my American family and my Ugandan family under the same roof (come quick Mom!!). But there is always such a great sadness as they leave, that in my heart I know that my WHOLE family will never live on the same continent, will very seldom be TOGETHER in this life. I cannot begin to put into words the gratitude I have for my American family. I am not the only person who has laid down dreams for this ministry to be successful and for my baby girls to have a mother. As much as I have laid down dreams of living down the street from my parents, raising my children near their awesome grandparents, hanging out with my family, they have laid down their dreams for me and our live together. I saw the sacrifice in my dad's eyes as he kissed me good bye (tears flowing just thinking about his love for me!) My parents are the reason that I know what a Heavenly Father's love feels like. My family is the reason that I know how to love. I think of Abraham when God asked him to sacrifice Isaac. He must have had so many questions. Look what God gave him back though. Not just his son, but he continues to make him the father of so many nations. My parents and my brother did the ultimate. They loved me so much, they loved the Lord so much, that they let me go where His plan took me. I cannot imagine their great reward in eternity when they meet all the children, all the families, whose lives were touched because they listened.
It is undoubtedly the "thorn in my flesh" that I cannot be with my whole family at one time. It is my daily reminder that perfect happiness will come only from HIM and it will only come in Heaven. So I, we as a family, will continue to rejoice in His promises and the day that we all sit together at His feet.
Christine said to me Saturday, "Wow, they all loved you so much." It's true. Sometimes I wonder, "Why me?" Why did He chose me to be so abnormal? Why don't I just go to college and get married and you know... have a regular life? I could still love Jesus. Why this? And I am sure my parents and my brother and Ben wonder why, of all the 20 year old girls in the world, God would choose this one to move to the other side of the world. But I know why. I am probably the most well loved little girl in the whole entire world. That's why I am here. From those to whom much has been given, so much more will be expected. I am loved SO well. By Ben. By my parents. By my children. By my sweet friends. By all of you. It only makes sense that God would ask me to share that love across the globe, with children who don't know what that feels like, and I feel so incredibly blessed to do so.
The Peace that surpasses all understanding. Right here in my home, right here in my heart. No doubt it is pushed along because of your prayers. Thank you, thank you.
One more request: On Saturday on her way home from program, little Angela was in a bicycle accident. I happened to already be at the clinic with a few other sickies, when they carried her in covered in blood (she had cut her mouth. why is it that a mouth always seems to bleed so much more than necessary?) She has a few deep cuts on her face and lip, several broken teeth, and a very large wound on her leg. She is staying with us while we inject her with penicillin and pain killers (poor thing) and seems to be improving rapidly. Please continue to keep her little body in your prayers. Oh, and you can pray that we would get over our colds, although I really wouldn't mind one more day of cleaning... :)