My mother has been bothering me for years to write a blog. Every year I have the same answer… “What would I have to say that people would want to read?” I tell her when I have an answer for that question, I will write a blog. I seriously don’t know how people have time to write them. I don’t even have time to take a shower. Literally. It’s a problem. I don’t know how all these women out there write blogs. Not only are they writing blogs, they are writing blogs about all the crafts and food they make. How are they finding time for that? And most of them have more than one child. I only have one, and I need a shower, badly.
Now, I have something to write about. It’s been a long time coming and I stay up at nights thinking about it. I have been waiting for the perfect time, and I realized, there is no perfect time. I have to stop wasting time and do it …now. Four years ago, I went to Africa. Four years ago I made promises to people there that I would not forget them, that I would tell their stories. Four years ago. What have I done in four years?
My mom thought of the title “Before and Africa” and I actually love it. There are a lot of things my mom and I agree on, but usually when she has an idea “for” me, I politely turn her down. But this title struck a chord in me. I thought about all the blogs out there about style and fashion and craftiness and I thought about how my blog would probably be the antithesis of that. Maybe I do always buy the same long sleeved shirts at the GAP every three years when the old ones get holes in them. Maybe I do still have the same tennis shoes I bought for 30 bucks 6 years ago. Maybe I do only get my hair cut once a year. Maybe I am in desperate need of a style makeover, but I think this blog is more of a before and after of my soul. My soul before and now my soul (after) Africa…
So thanks mom, for the title and for recognizing there has been a change in me and that even though I have a hard time finding the words, it’s time to start trying.

Thursday, August 28, 2014

Missing You

 “We’re not necessarily doubting that God will do the best for us; we are wondering how painful the best will turn out to be.” C.S. Lewis

I realized right before we left for Africa that the devil was attacking me.  He was filling me with fear and anxiety.  Someone told me that the devil attacks when something big is happening.  I had so many questions; Why did God call us to this?  Do I have it in me to do this? I never anticipated how hard this would be.  I thought by now our baby would be home.  But when they handed him to us, all those questions melted away.  He is our son, and we would do anything for him.  After a strenuous two days and two nights of horrendous travel nightmares we were finally home, and I didn’t know how to be here….without him.  It was like heaven kissing and holding Max after 11 days of absence, but it was hell walking into our house and realizing it felt wrong with just the three of us now.  I feel like I am in a fog.  I feel like nothing can make it better.  Something big happened, to our family.  Some big GREAT thing.  We met the most beautiful baby, held and prayed over him for 10 glorious days,  and then someone put him in a van and drove away with him screaming and reaching for us.  And nothing has ever hurt like that.  We have no idea when we will see him again.  

I feel like he (Moses) is everywhere and nowhere, like anything can trigger this deep aching sadness.  The cry of a baby on the plane, the smell of his little clothes as I unpacked the suitcases, washing the bottles, a little guy I saw at the grocery store this morning...these things all make me sob. Because I still feel like he is so close to me, but he is so far away.  Everywhere but nowhere.  When people ask about him… of course I love to tell them about this little funny man…but it also reminds me how I am missing everyday with him.  The lump jumps into my throat so fast, I can barely talk.   My mom told me that I should go to the “wailing wall”  when it hurts, and just wail.  That I can cry out to God, that I can ask him for his love to cover my pain.  “Call to me and I will answer you and tell you great and mighty things which you do not know.”  Jeremiah 33:3 I caught a glimpse of something great. God gave me a taste of this big GREAT thing, and now I must trust that He will fulfill His promise, but for now I am going to wail, because my heart hurts in a way that it has never hurt before. 

Getting back into our routine here,  I am having a hard time getting out of bed in the mornings, but this little man named Max is reminding me the joys of motherhood, even in the midst of the pain.  The other day he was sitting in the carseat and I was crying.  He asked if he could come sit by me.  I told him he had to stay in his seat.  He said “But mom if I sit by ya, I can protect you from being sad.”  He is this little haven for me when I want to get away from the reality of my son being on the other side of the world, on a little mattress on a dirty floor wondering where his mama and dada went. 

Lord, thank you for the time you gave us with Moses.  Thank you for the blessing of two beautiful healthy boys, thank you for the joy we felt holding our sweet boy, thank you for sustaining us in this time.  Thank you for safe travels, thank you for bringing us on this journey, even when our faith waivers.   I don’t want to do everyday without him, but that is what you are asking of us right now, so we will do it. 

Soon I will tell you all about sweet Moses…but for now,  I am just missing him too much to relive our time with him....give me a week.   

You call me out upon the waters
the great unknown where feet may fail
And there I find you in the mystery
in oceans deep, my faith will stand

And I will call upon your name,
and keep my eyes above the waves,
when oceans rise, my soul will rest in your embrace,
for I am yours and you are mine.

Your grace abounds in deepest waters,
 your sovereign hand will be my guide,
my feet may fail when fear surrounds me
you’ve never failed and you won’t start now

Spirit lead me where my trust is without borders,
let me walk upon the waters wherever you would call me
Take me deeper than my feet could ever wander,
and my faith could be made stronger in the presence of my Savior…

Wednesday, August 6, 2014

Before and Africa

I have had so many emotions running through my body the last month.  Anxiety being number one.  I don’t particularly like to fly.  I loathe take off.  Knowing you will soon be 30,000 feet in the air and if even one thing goes wrong, you have to think about your death the whole way down.  Worst way to go.  But I have always felt if it’s my time, it’s my time and I am not afraid to die, I guess I am just afraid of dying in that way.  But usually I don’t get this anxious…maybe it’s because we are both getting on a plane and leaving our three year old behind.   Maybe it’s because on the other side of this long plane ride we will meet a baby that may or may not feel connected to us right away.   Maybe it’s because when we get on that plane to come home, I know it’s gonna hurt …but maybe I don’t really know how much.  My heart will be living in two places; split between my two sons.  I don’t know what it feels like to live on the other side of the world from my child after holding and bonding with him.  I will know what that feels like after this trip.  I will know how his eyes light up when he laughs, I will know what his little chest looks like as it rises and falls while he drifts off, I will know what it’s like to hold his little hand in mine,.  I will know what makes him mad, what makes him giggle.  Then we will leave him there, for an undetermined amount of time. 

But what gives me peace is knowing that after a year and a half of waiting, we will walk into a room in a foreign country, after 20+ hours of travel, and someone will hand us our baby.  And that gives me peace.  All the anxiety melts away when I think about that feeling.  This trip was a necessity, even if it makes the  upcoming months that much harder…he will be worth it.   

Please pray for safe travels. Pray that God would give us the same peace he has been dolling out little by little to us as we have traveled this road.    Pray that Moses will feel loved for the ten days we are there and that God will let him hold onto the memory of us so he will know us when we go to bring him home.   Pray for Max…he’s been really sad that he can’t go with us.  The tears break me and I hope he understands why we are going.  He just so sensitive.  So sweet. 

Thanks for your prayers.  We can’t wait to brag about him.  We have to make up for a year’s worth of missed pictures and videos….so prepare to be bombarded. 

The last time I went to Africa, it changed me forever.  I don’t think this time will be any different.  There is before Africa…and there is after Africa….  

See you after….