Sunday, January 25, 2009

I dont sleep. Last night I laid 7 beautiful sick little people in my bed and it hit me like a brick. THEY NEED A MOM. My initial response was, of course: OK. I can do that.

And then I thought about it. Whoa. Uh oh. Oh, God, please don’t ask me to be their mom. I mean, really? If having 11 children is crazy, what is having 18? Nope, I can’t do it. Really. I even don’t think I have the energy to bathe and feed them all every day God. I won’t be able to put them through college, not even in Uganda. God, now I’m seriously never going to convince anyone to marry me. Ah, yes, I would like to sit here and proclaim to you that I ALWAYS trust in God’s perfect plan for my life and I always turn everything over to God knowing that His peace surpasses all understanding, but here is the truth of it: I FREAKED OUT. I said “God, if you ask me to be their mom, I won’t do it. No.” And then that didn’t feel very appreciative of someone who died for me, so I said “Ok God, if you want me to be their mom, I want a dishwasher. Oh, AND a bus.” After about an hour of this conversation (Yes, it was happening out loud as I lay on the floor next to my bed) I came to my senses and decided to get in the Word (duh.) And please just let me share with you what God said to me…

“It’s ok to be human. I created you, I understand. Do not be afraid; do not be terrified. I am the Lord your God and I will go with you wherever you go. I will never leave or forsake you (Deuteronomy 31:6). Remember that I said you would be hard pressed on every side, but never crushed; perplexed but not in despair, persecuted but never abandoned, discouraged but never destroyed. (2 Corinthians 4:8-9). When you try to save your own life, your own desires, you will lose. But when you decide to put aside your desires, to lose your life for me, you will find it. (Matthew 16:25). Rest in my perfect peace. Trust me with ALL YOUR HEART and I will direct your path (Proverbs 3:5-6). Sometimes I test your faith daughter, because it develops perseverance in you, which you need to be mature and complete, not lacking in anything (James 1:2-4). I know how much you hurt for these children; I hurt for them more. In the world you will have trouble, but take heart! I HAVE OVERCOME THE WORLD (John 16:33). Never be lacking in zeal but keep your spiritual fervor serving me, your Father. Be joyful in hope, patient in affliction, and faithful in prayer. Continue to offer my hospitality to people in need and let me take care of the rest (Romans 12:11-13)

Of course. According to Suzanne who called after a few very frantic text messages (THANK THE LORD FOR SISTERS!), it’s ok to freak out every now and then, but this is all a little funny. (Hm. Tell me that when seven strangers are sleeping in your bed). But she reminded me that really, I am sure that God was laughing too. “I will not leave you as orphans (REMEMBER!) I am coming to you!” And you know what I remembered? I trust in God’s perfect plan and my heart so desires to turn everything over to God knowing that His peace surpasses all understanding. Imagine that.

Today the freaking out is over and though I still have no idea exactly what is going to happen, I do know what I am going to do. I am going to live day by day because today, this moment, is all I am promised. So I am going to bathe and feed and love these children, nurse them back to health and wait in hope as I watch God's perfect plan for their lives unfold. I am going to PRAY over them each night and I am going to pray for a mother, an auntie, someone to love on the children. Pray with me? Their names are Maria, Sharon, Sarah, Joy, Joanne, Jonah, Jane. And God will not leave them as orphans.

Saturday, January 24, 2009

Oh my, I had forgotten how much I DO NOT like internet here! I have been too enthralled with my children to tear myself away and go to town to find internet access, so please excuse the delay. The following are several journals of the last few days strung together..

Oh, if I could paint you a picture of my home… Beautiful just doesn’t suffice.
I guess I should start at the beginning.

Tuesday night my taxi from the airport was driving down the road to my house. About a block away from home the car was jumped on from all sides. Don’t worry, it was my children> I could hardly get out of the car in all the excitement and once I did, it was impossible to keep my balance because I was being squeezed and kissed from all sides. I wish you could have heard their shrieks and laughter as we ran and skipped and jumped all the way home, the bewildered taxi driver following.

You know the feeling when you have been away from home visiting people and finally come home to sleep in your own bed? Yea. It’s like that, only after 5 months. No one wanted to sleep of course but it was well after midnight so finally all 12 of us (oh, I have 11 little girls now... but that is another story for another time) piled into my bed and drifted to sleep. As I was laying there under my mosquito net and several children, I smiled just to think of their excitement upon seeing me. “Mommy, Mommy! Mommy! Welcome home!” they shouted. I think that must be a glimpse of Heaven: the angels shouting your name, Jesus saying, “Welcome home!”
I spent Wednesday playing. Making 28 pieces of cinnamon toast, nothing 11 little girls and rubbing their beautiful brown skin with lotion (Aveno with menthol ladies!), changing sheets, doing laundry, mopping the floor, dancing, jumping rope, singing, coloring and laughing. At dinner we were all still in pjs and ended the day by watching Charlotte’s Web on my laptop (thanks May family!). My kids thought the idea of a talking pig was the most hysterical thing they had ever heard of; I think we fell asleep laughing.

Thursday I walked around the 6 villages our program serves visiting our children and even adding some. We have now grown from 156 to 202, and counting! I was once again devastated and blown away by the extreme poverty, the horrible circumstances in which beautiful children are living. I returned home with a renewed sense of purpose and energy. To see the state of destitution these children come from and then compare them to the children who have been in our program for a year, who not only look healthier but so much happier, is incredibly encouraging. Their eyes have a new light. They are stronger, cleaner, and most of the KNOW JESUS. Beautiful. As I finished registering new children last night, my children watched Charlotte’s Web AGAIN, and I marveled at how awesomely blessed we are. Most people I know would look at my house and my lifestyle and say that we are poor with our leaking ceiling and a sink that shocks you whenever you turn it on and rice and beans for lunch and dinner every single day. But we are so rich! We have beds and even pillows to lay our heads on. We have shoes and are rarely ever hungry. We have each other and we know how to LOVE. We usually have bat poop in the shower, but we have laughter; we are rich.

Friday was my favorite day so far, I think. Maybe it is because I had finally slept through the night, haha. When I woke up yesterday morning (next to sweet Sumini, my favorite sleeping buddy) Margaret, Prossy and Agnes, my three oldest daughters marched into my room. “Mommy, there are children we need to help please.” “Ok,” I said groggily, “where?” They took me to the abandoned house down the road. In the back room were seven children lying in a pile on the dirt floor. They were completely starving and filthy. The oldest is 11 and the youngest 2. I have never seen children so sick, and I have seen some very sick children. They all have severe ringworm, malaria and scabies (my favorite…) among other things. 2 of them, who I am guessing are HIV positive, are the skinniest things I have ever seen; I’m guessing 4’6” 35 pounds. So of course, we brought them home. I have never been so proud of my family as I was when I watched their reaction. Prossy, Margaret and Agnes went straight to the tub to give them baths. Mary combed their hair while Helen and Sumini rubbed lotion on them. Nabayego boiled eggs and made toast. Scovia made tea. Sarah, Joyce and Emily went to their room, sifted through their clothes and picked each of the children a new outfit. In less than an hour, they were a new bunch of children. All bathed, dressed, fed and running around my house. Margaret looked at me with a twinkle in her eye and said, “Mommy, I love these children.” Me too, Margaret. Me too.

This is what it looks like, I thought. We sit in church and TALK about compassion, unimaginable love, revival. And then an hour later, we are still sitting there talking about it. REVIVAL is happening. NOW. Compassion is working; unimaginable, selfless love is real. It is right here. I can stand and watch the children I have loved and cared for compassionately love and care for others. My five year old knows how to be Jesus. My heart is so full.

And I know that God fills my heart up in those moments to prepare me for the next one. As I help the littlest girl, “Jane”, my heart broke. My thoughts wandered. She doesn’t belong to anyone. No one will claim her. But God does. She is a child of the King. She belongs to a Wonderful Maker, and yesterday and today, as I lay her in my bed, she belongs to me. "Mommy, I love these children." Today, my family will claim the unwanted and unloved for He who loves all.

*shout out to Gwen as she and her family claim Lola Belle for Jesus :)

finally. THANK YOU. thank all of you who make this possible. thank you for praying for us, thank you for helping us reach that "unreachable" goal of 75,000 to operate for this year. without your support, I may not be here. I feel a Peace today that I have felt pretty infrequently over the last several months, and I am so incredibly grateful. Home sweet home.