Wednesday, July 5, 2017

Year Gone By....

A year and 20 days ago..... 

We left. 

No words or amount of sympathy could make it better. 

The pain of leaving my people, my community, my children (because surely by now you know there's more than 7) was beyond me. 

I honestly didn't think I would have the strength to do it... or at least people on the plane would surely be convinced of my insanity. 

But He strengthened my every step. 

I believe I talked quite a bit about the pain of leaving the place where my heart beats freest... 

And if you haven't read this post, do that now.  

That stupid toenail.  
(I'd insert the photo I sent to Zambia to show them so we could laugh together but I'm thinking TMI)

What an unbelievably tangible way my Father has given to continue teaching me. 

 I know ya'll are gonna think I'm crazy (maybe its too late?) But... 

10 days after our 1 year of returning "home" .... 

my silly toenail fell off again!!

We were all a little shocked... and amused. 
(because of course the boys haven't let their dad live down the fact that he ripped it off in the first place)

But you know what I noticed?

This time... it didn't hurt as much.  

It had clearly worked hard this past year trying to look "normal."

 I even disguised it with nail polish thinking maybe this Summer it wouldn't be quite so noticeably...




But, despite our great effort

I just couldn't keep the nail on.  

It is never going to look like it did before.  

To many eyes, it is pretty ugly. And that's ok.  

I'm never going to have that perfectly pedicured foot any longer.... 


 I'm kinda embracing my imperfect toe. 

It is my alter stone. 

 The remembrance. 

Of what? 

Once, there was something really beautiful... but my identity wasn't attached to it as I once thought. 

When that something beautiful was ripped off of me... the pain was more than I could bare. 

But He spoke in it.  

Yes it  looked ugly, different, and imperfect.... 

But I can't be who I was before this beautiful thing.  

I can't hide it under fake.... 
empty and meaningless words... 
  "culture" norms
(Cause we all know Jesus was really good at that... ahem)

Because while the pain is nothing as it used to be,

 the reality that it's really never going to be like it was is ok.  

There's beauty in the hard... 
in the pain...  
in the imperfect.

No... I'd choose to look as if nothing had ever happened. 

 Its easier that way. 

Its more comfortable. 
(for others more than me)

Less risky. 
(because only calculated risk seems responsible  acceptable in the church)

But that's not my reality.  

My eyes can't unsee... 

My heart can't unfeel... 

My mind can't undo... 

He's shown me way too much of Himself for me to wallow in what used to be. 

So, the second year begins. 

There's really no promise that the result is going to be this beautifully, perfectly manicured life 
(or toenail)... 

But I will see God's moving. 

I will not ignore His voice. 

I will pray that His love that so generously flowed out in a land strange to so many around me, will continue to overflow to those He has placed me before now. 

He is the same... I am not. 

I don't have to be, because He is. 

So this year, I'm embracing the imperfect.  

The things that didn't quite turn out the way I'd hoped for. 

Trusting completely in the one who takes all our crazy brokenness 

and lets His light shine brightly through the cracks. 

 And in that... 
I sense the healing... 
the purpose... 

and choose to not fight against the pain anymore...
but to feel privileged to have experienced it. 

It's actually really beautiful. 

"I saw what I saw and I can't forget it.
I heard what I heard and I can't go back
I know what I know and I can't deny it

Something on the road, cut me to the soul

Your pain has changed me
your dreams inspire
your face a memory
your hope a fire
your courage asks me what I'm afraid of
and what I know of love."

                                                                  --- Sara Groves


Friday, May 12, 2017

That time I was the Commercialized Mother... (in my dreams)

As Mother's Day has been approaching, I've been tuning my ear to all of the advertisements... they are everywhere... TV, Radio, my mailbox. 

This is my first Mother's Day in the US in 5 years.  
(Maybe I hit one on furlough once, but that doesn't count because furlough is simply your brain fried.) 

Is it just me or are these advertisements really putting on the pressure?  

It could be the fact that when I think about my mothering (not to be confused with my MOTHER), I'm in a struggling phase right now.  

It's ok.  If you have only come across the sweet messages, let me help you with some of the ones I've come across. 

"Life doesn't come with a manual, It comes with a Mother." 
(So, I guess that means I should know what I'm doing or have answers to stuff???)

"A mother's arms are made of tenderness and children sleep soundly in them."
(Unless you are a teenager and then you fear her arms... )

"The loveliest masterpiece of the heart of God is the heart of a mother." 
(So, my heart is HIS greatest masterpiece. eish... I'm thinking it's pretty messy. Ok, yeah, maybe once upon a time.)

"Most mothers are instinctive Philosophers." 
(Great, now I have to be intelligent)

"Moms are like buttons- They hold everything together." 
(Well, that explains why everything is a mess)

"Mothers and their children are in a category all their own. There's no bond so strong in the entire world. No love so instantaneous and forgiving." 
(It's ok moms... who aren't having this blissful experience... )

"God could not be everywhere, and therefore he created mothers." 
(Oh Good, now I'm a substitute for God Himself.) 

Anyone else feeling the pressure?

That loving, kind, mother making that yummy favorite all the time and greeting you with goodness.  


I"m not that.  

Maybe instead of celebrating some falsehood, I'll simply celebrate the reality.... 

 that we actually MADE it through the year and we are all still TOGETHER.  

I dream of those fantastic commercials actually reflecting my reality. 

I want to be that... eventually. 

But for all of those mother's that don't fit into the commercial version of Mother's Day... You're not alone.  (Plus I keep telling myself that its only a facade. If people actually think they are that good, they need a dose of insight I'm sure. hahahahaha) 

Much love and Happy Mother's Day 
to the tired, worn out, 
can't find a dang thing, 
trying as hard as she can mother, 
or aunt, or grandmother, or foster mother... or whatever title you find yourself under. 
(because sometimes just that is a mystery, too)   

(And don't soak into the lies, the great thing is that for the children who love you as the mother... you really are like a dream to them)


Thursday, May 11, 2017

Oh deceiver...

Oh deceiver... you are good at what you do. 

You run thoughts & replay words through the mind ...






the second guess

the not enough

Yes, you are the author of all of these things.  

And Oh.. deceiver... how you use the ones we love the most to wreck havoc on the pieces of a broken heart. 

Yes, you are good at what you do. 

But you see.  I see you for what you are.  

You have always been the liar.

The doubt causer.

The one who isolates his prey in hopes for a kill

Just to capture one down trodden soul on their journey

Oh deceiver, I know your plan.  

You've been using it since the beginning.  

And yet, somehow, power is given over to your stupid little lies. 

But you see, deceiver, I know The Truth.  

And that... that is what will set me Free. 


Saturday, April 1, 2017

Growing roots....

Well, it looks like I didn't forget how to write after all.  Ya'll, there is SO.MUCH. to say and process, but the time simply isn't right to share with the world.  You know, sometimes you need to walk through things without the world watching.... or knowing... but just pondering them in your own heart and with a few close friends. 

But... That's not the point of this post... so blah blah blah on that.  (looks like someone hasn't lost her sassy).  

It's been 9 short and long months since leaving Zambia.  It feels like yesterday and it feels like forever.  As we went through the debriefing process, they spent a lot of time talking about viewing your transplant like an actual plant.  The uprooting process .... the transplanting... and then the security of making your roots strong in the dirt where God has placed you.  
Over the past 9 months, I've *tried* to put some roots down.... I'll give myself a C+.
During this time, some things have become more clear for the hubs and I.  

1. We aren't really subdivision people anymore. (I never was for the record)

2. We want more space to grow, not just our children, but stuff... like food and maybe a pig (and chickens) 

3. We see value in small town living, and hope to find community there. 

We realize that our life seems like a ball of chaos.  That's not our goal.  

But our goal is to never be so tied to what we have that we can't hear God's voice and have the courage to let go and follow. 

 I am so tempted to have this dream that this will be "it."  That this will be the home where our children come home to, and bring their children to, and where we grow old together.  

But then there's this other side.  

I never want my roots to grow deeper in a PLACE than they are IN HIM.  

I want my roots, and my children's roots to be in HIM.  

Everything else is an illusion. 
There is no security in a place. 
There is no guaranteed forever in a home.
Not in things. 

Not in neighbors. 

Not in a job. 

The only secure place we can put our roots down is in Him.  

I always want to remain willing to take my roots in Him and GO anywhere He leads.  
There is security in that.  
Our children can find security in that.  
We are TOGETHER in Him.  

So, as we look forward to what this next stage brings of building a home on a little farm, and taking our roots and placing them in a small town... we hold this verse in hand:

"Let your ROOTS grow down into HIM.  
And Let your Lives be built on HIM.  
Then your FAITH will grow STRONG in the TRUTH you were taught... 
and you will OVERFLOW with THANKFULNESS." Colossians 2:7