Thursday, March 20, 2014

words like water...

3 years ago... we met a boy.  He was/is tenacious, funny, and rough around the edges.  I used to call him my African Tarzan.  
  This wild and crazy little boy has become a wild at heart young man right before our eyes. He has gone from a shy, unable to express himself boy to a more mature, expressive and emotionally insightful young man. God has used him, along with my other 4, to love and encourage me.  Many days, it's their words mixed with Gods that sustain me.  
The other day, I received this letter.  I have to share it, because it is evidence of God's goodness... His continued working in what He has started... His redemptive glory in adoption...  and I hope it can encourage moms out there... 
Keep going when you think you can't...
Keep teaching when you think they aren't listening...
Keep following God's word when you think no one is looking...
Because... You are making a difference.  Your words stick... and so do theirs! What a gift!
"Dear Mom!!! Happy Birthday!!! You don't look like you are over 35 years the day before your birthday and you looked even more beautiful with each passing year. 
I am so thankful that God created you as my second mom.  You are truly the most loving, thoughtful, selfless, compassionate, caring, giving, amazing woman most people have ever seen. 
You make me want to be a better man and a better father when grow up.  You constantly amaze me in the ways that you care for others before yourself. 
Thank you for always thinking of ways how to make me happy, for everything you do for me, I love and respect you.  I am so grateful that you are my mom.  I love you!!!" 
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Saturday, October 19, 2013

What Morningside taught me


Well, I have to say that while I’m beyond thrilled to be leaving the hospital tomorrow and going home the following day… I sit here in the silence feeling a bit nostalgic. 

Yes, this week started super scary and chaotic… but I found myself in a place abnormal from my usual life: quiet… alone… with my biggest decision being “what should I eat for dinner?”  I have to admit, it’s been kinda nice.  Despite the emotional baggage I’ve been working through with Jesus about this stay… there are so many things I don’t want to forget. 
For the first time in a LONG time, I spent 6 days alone with my firstborn.  The first 4 days internet and phone was scarce, so we were forced to find things to do.  Some of my favorite things have been:

*bringing the paper dot game back to life

*watching zack watch TV, because we only had one set of earphones most of the week.

*eating chocolate muffins with him. J (yeah, that wasn’t on my diet)

*reading together snuggled up in bed

*working together on ipad games to make it through the levels of “jellies” and “water something or another”

*talking quietly about the day as we turned out the lights and just lay in the quietness.

*laughing uncontrollably at ourselves, and how bad we really stink at some of these games.

*reflecting together on how Jesus is indeed with us.

*the big stuffed dog (I’m gonna regret that when we get to the airport)

*washing our clothes in the bathtub with body soap (it can work peeps)

*our great nursing staff: Lucia, Esther, and Candace.  Personality galore.

*oh… and of course… the daily selfies…


Usually I am running around with so many things on my mind, but I was able to be truly and fully present, and for that I’m so thankful.  So many times we moms are carrying way too much… and it robs us of our joy of motherhood.  Guilty as charged.  But I'm
 thankful for the time to reflect and take note that there must be a different way… not all the time, but sometimes… the crazy ball must stop rolling and you gotta just enjoy and love on each other well… without anything else pressing in.
So… I’m grateful for sickness this week.  Grateful for the hidden blessings in something that doesn’t make sense to us sometimes. 
Tomorrow… guaranteed I’ll be soaking it in… because on Monday, the noise begins.  

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Saturday, October 5, 2013

Some people never learn...

Yes, I'm one of those... one of those kids who "had to be told 100 times"... one who always went the way I was told not to... I'm just not made to color in the lines. :) 

There are some good things to that... If I didn't think a bit outside of the norm... I wouldn't be able to see God for how BIG He is... and how there's so much more to Him than I can ever even fathom! He's OUTSIDE the box, too... 

But the downfall of this is that "i never learn."  I just came across this post written in 2010... the title of it grabbed me because well, that pretty much wraps it up right now... "the limits of poor, weak, dust"

So, in honor of myself for never learning... and the possibility that I'm not alone in that... enjoy reading from 2010... maybe you've come further than I have! ;)  



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Thursday, October 3, 2013

"Where are you?"



"Oh, God, Where are you?"  ... Those were the words that were ringing (and still are) in my ears as I attempted to drive home M, a mother whose baby had just died.  The wailing and mourning can't even be recognized by anyone unless they have walked that path before. The crying out to God in desperation and question...even now... continues.

*Rewind*

One month ago, the grandchild to one of our staff members... niece to 2 of our students... was badly burned.  Sadly, this is a common accident since cooking is done on an open fire, and there are so many boiling pots at a baby's eye level.  Shane took them to our clinic, one of the best in town.  She was there for some time... and we were able to visit... take food... a little toy... and pray for them.  

Things seemed to be going along well, and she was discharged. 

2 Weeks ago, I took the mother and baby (2 years) for review.  The feedback was positive, from the best I could get. 

Last week, I received a call that the baby was very sick and needed to be rushed to the clinic.  I dropped everything, and was accompanied by one of our students.  Hospitalization seemed to be a certainty... so I left them as the nurse was taking them back to the ward... so I could get food for the family and baby for the night and next day. When I returned, they said they were not being admitted.  Ultimately, they were not able to identify any problems.  There I sat... with a Doctor... making a decision I will always wonder "Why didn't God give me superior wisdom in that moment to just push for hospitalization?"  

"My ways are not your ways, and my thoughts are not your thoughts" 

The next morning I took them back in because she wasn't better.  2 days later, the baby died.  Sepsis and severe anemia.  

"But WHY didn't they see that before, WHY didn't I know?" 

"in your book were written, every one of them, the days that were formed for me"

I found myself pulling up to the empty hospital.  Empty... except for a mother and grandmother broken for their little B... they lost their "GIFT." 

As I was helping sweet Grace carry her daughter to the car... the weight of M. fell on me... the sadness, the confusion, the brokenness. 

"The LORD is near to the brokenhearted...."

The raw and expressed emotions in the van almost drove me to the breaking point.  I sat there driving, feeling like the grand canyon separated me from her... I don't know suffering as she has known it.  And yet, God could allow me to know it all too quickly.  

We came to the house... and difficult doesn't begin to describe it.  Just 2 years ago, I sat in this same room... meeting one of our students brother who was paralyzed.  1 year ago, I sat in the exact same room, as he had died.  And this day... I am here again... in the VERY same room, with the same family... grieving together once again.  Surely, Lord, this is enough.  

"Where, God, Where are you?"  

"Where can I go from your Spirit? Where can I flee from your presence?  
If I go... YOU ARE THERE
If I go....YOU ARE THERE
Surely the darkness shall cover me, and the light about me be night. EVEN THE DARKNESS IS NOT DARK TO YOU; THE NIGHT IS BRIGHT AS THE DAY, FOR DARKNESS IS AS LIGHT TO YOU." Ps. 139

The next day, I found myself in church, surrounded by people who know suffering beyond what I know... and we sang "Oh, my God is good... yeah-yeah... my God is good. Everything is double double...." 
I could barely get the words out.  The truth is that HE IS GOOD.  This is the deepest element of faith.  No, it's not logical... but God is bigger than logic.  No, it seems unfair.  But we can't know the future... nor can we see things the way He sees them.  I can hurt.  I can question.  But I will not doubt... for I know, My God is Good.  He is sovereign. He is all-knowing.  And... He is holding little B right now... fully healed.    
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Sunday, September 1, 2013

Do I want the broken?

Life has once again hit in full force... not that it ever stops for a moment.  Currently, I'm back to teaching my 3 little ones full time, teaching a Grade 5 English Class starting next week, and my usual duties of caring for the school, staff, and the children.  Needless to say, we take time for family when we can get it.  I'm thankful for that.  During this holiday break, we have taken a lot of time and it's been pretty awesome.  

Today, we snuck away for a few hours and went to one of our favorite places nearby.  At the Dam, there are many things to do: fish, swing, swim, soccer, etc.  KG and her daddy usual go "hunting for pinecones"... but today I was the lucky one with the invite from little miss. 
As we were hunting, KG noticed that I overlooked or threw down some that were broken.  She looked at me and said, "Mom, why did you throw that one away?"  I simply said "because it looks smooshed and broken."(Yes, i said smooshed) She said "but I want it, don't you?"  So... with much conviction... I proceeded to go back and pick up the broken ones.  In that moment, God whispered to me... 
Do you want the broken ones? 
Do you embrace brokenness I bring to your life? 
Do you just want the things that look good, feel good, or that's perfect in your eyes?
Can't I... Don't I use the broken ones?  The brokenness? 

I just sat and reflected on the many things in my life that God has taken... broken to pieces... and redeemed.... and made completely beautiful.  One of the biggest things that God brought to my thankful heart is my 2nd oldest son.  He was broken.  To the point some even said "I would never bring a child like that in my home."  But now... if you could see him now... It's something only JESUS can do.... And it's only by God's power that we were able to walk through the broken pieces together. But now, it's beautiful. 

He wants to take the broken things... and make them beautiful.  He wants us to embrace the brokenness... the yucky... the hard... and allow Jesus to make it beautiful.... He really does make beautiful things out of the dust.
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Tuesday, August 6, 2013

Dogs and Grades...

So, we have officially hosted 10 teams since May!  Whew!  BUT WHAT A BLESSING!  It is one of the busiest, but best times of the year.  We have received so much love, gifts, things for the school, advice and help... THANK YOU!!  

One of the best lessons personally, was from a team from our dear home church: FBC McKinney.  Each day, at the end, they would debrief.  Dr. Waite would have his team share 2 things.  1. The best part of the day AND 2. The worst part of the day (not really in that order).  I found it super helpful in reflecting on our days that blur into weeks that have now blurred into years... So: My goal is to do this through the blog.  

I have to be honest... I haven't blogged because there are so many things I can't even put on "paper"... I'm afraid people won't get it, or it won't make sense, or it's just too painful. 

BUT, this way... I can share a little or a lot... and at least, my days will be documented for my own memory jogging.  :)  So... Here it goes:

WORST PART OF THE DAY:

When our 3 dogs escaped out of the first fence, to taunt hunting dogs across the second fence... I'm scrambling to close the 2nd gate in time to keep them contained.  Our 3 dogs are fiercely barking at the 4 dogs nose to nose with the electric fence.... and it's all funny until... Roscoe: the mean one... decides "I can't take this anymore... i'm going in... " and under the electric fence he goes to get a piece of African hunting dogs... then... 2 African hunters go sprinting after their dogs... 1 white man goes sprinting after his dogs... and 1 white woman chases her dog into the fence and chases off the other dogs.... all while a van of 5 McB children and other various Lifesong children watch in amazement.... this was 7:00am. :/ 

BEST PART OF THE DAY:

Seeing the results for one of the kids I have been tutoring this term.. his end of term scores improved by 20%... YAY for B! 

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Wednesday, July 10, 2013

Real Sacrifice...


Rare are the days, if ever, have I really felt like we are making a true sacrifice by living in Zambia. 

 We are truly blessed.  
We are blessed by wealth beyond understanding. 
We are blessed by relationships that are so sweet and true.  
We are blessed by the gift of children, and many of them! 
We eat very well, and have some to share.  We have access to basic medical care. 
We are blessed! 

Today, though, I feel the realness of sacrifice.  The past 3 weeks have been shared with my parents and 2 teenage cousins.  It's always a blessing to be with family.  I'm pretty horrible at communicating (as you've noticed with the terribly neglected blog) with many from home.  However, when they are here, it is sweet. It is nice to have someone come and live in "our" world, and have a better understanding of the way things are here in Zambia: both the beautiful and the difficult. 
I've just walked them to the van, where Shane will drive them to Lusaka (6 hours away) to go back to the USA.  I try to keep myself together.  I try not to cry as the big hole left by them is so apparent.  It is difficult to see my kids miss their family.  I try not to think about how life would be if I lived on the piece of land designated for us. I try not to think about how much "life" I've missed, and how much they've missed of mine. I try not to think about how, as much as you try, when you live in 2 completely opposite worlds, it creates a gap... unintentionally of course... in mindset and relationships. 

Watching family drive away through the dust... is sacrifice.  

While I want to lay down and cry for a few hours, the life we know awaits.  
The to do lists continue. 
The noise is there. 
And so is Jesus... and the wonderful life HE has called us to. 
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