Today I was driving to the airport to drop off a car for a friend who has been out of town for the holidays. I woke up, ready to go because I was excited to see her as well as excited to hang out with another special friend today. As I drove into the airport my chest got tight and I started having cold sweats and before I even got into the parking ramp hit it me...
In 2 weeks I will be getting on a plane and heading back to Lesotho. That fact, is very overwhelming to me. You see in two weeks I go to my other "home." I feel comfortable in Lesotho. Just like many families I know have a cottage or a summer place they always go to, I head to Africa. I know what I need to bring with me, because it is not there and what I do not need to bring, because I can buy it there. I have people who have become family there waiting for me and a whole lot of beautiful children to wrap my arms around and laugh with. I know all of this, so why did my chest get tight and why did my heart race today?
You see in 2 weeks, even though I know where I am going, I never know what to expect. Every year, or even every day in Lesotho is different and even though it feels like home, I also feel like an emergency room nurse running from one triage to another. For the six months that I am in the United States, I get the opportunity to tell people a lot of stories, but when I am in Lesotho, everyday I experience those stories. Instead of telling people about the darkness and fear in a child's eye when they come to BG, I look into those eyes and hold them and try to comfort them. Instead of talking about the ins and outs of BG, I become a part of the ins and outs of it. Each day the suns comes up and you pray that God will give you everything you need for that day. Not just the strength to get through the tough stuff, but more importantly the clarity and peace to let the millions of joy filled moments overtake your heart. It is a humbling thing.
This year, my time in the United States was different and if I am honest, it felt a lot like Lesotho. There were moments when I felt like I was doing spiritual triage, but then there were millions of moments of pure uninhabited joy, like today sitting in a movie theatre with my arms around two very special boys, just soaking up the love, or belly laughing my way through Target with very close friend. It is days like today that I am so grateful of the opportunity to spend part of my year in Michigan. To simply do life with people and be blessed more abundantly than I think I could ever bless someone else. What I have learned this year, is that every moment of every day, God is writing our stories and if we are lucky enough He will take our story and interweave it with someone else's story. I can only imagine the joy God has when He sees His children's stories come together and simply be. You see friends, a "world changer" doesn't have to travel the world to invoke change, they just need to be willing to be the change for someone else. That person may be right next door, or even in their own house. A world changer is simply someone who is willing to let their story be apart of someone else's story and when stories come together, the world is just plain better.
This year I have had the opportunity to be a part of other people's stories both in Lesotho and in the US and I have to say no story is the same and yet no story is more important than another. Each individual story is a part of God's big eternal redemptive story that started in a garden with a man and a women and seamlessly was woven with billions of other people. If you are willing and bold enough, you too can be a part of this huge eternal story that brings peace in the midst of life's hardest moments. You see when you become a part of someone else's story, they also become a part of yours. So when you are in a car and your chest is tight and your heart is racing, they know exactly what to do to make you feel like everything is going to be okay.
Tuesday, December 1, 2015
Today I woke up to this photo. I cannot explain the heart break that I am feeling as I stare at it. I wish I was at Beautiful Gate.
These two children came to us over 3 years ago. I remember how the older brother would care for his sister every second. He wouldn't eat until she ate. On the play yard, he would always check to make sure she was safe. She was always looking for him and a lot more reserved. It took her a while to warm up to us, but once she did her silliness came out and her laugh was contagious. Once this happen the older brother became more of a child than a parent. He molded in very well children who were older, younger or his same age. The past two years, he has been one of my assistants. He loved coming to the office and "working" on anything for me. He loved serving. Most of the time when children come to the office with me, they color, snuggle and just hang out. he was different. He wanted to deliver notes or anything to other staff members. He wanted to take the trash out. I loved our trips into town, just him and I. He would help get groceries and then about every third trip, I would get him a little treat, a simple bag of crisps (chips) and a juice box. He treated those treats like someone treats their very first pay check. We would load up the groceries or supplies and then we would sit outside somewhere and enjoy the snack. I loved that time together just him and I. He was a different child when you got him alone. Because he was getting older, at BG he would get bored and then act out a little, but when he was alone, he was great. He would always pray before our snack, thanking Jesus for the day and the treat. I learned so much from him about being truly grateful for the simplest things like crisps or a sweet (sucker). On my last day this year I picked up both of them and gave them a huge hug, knowing that it was most likely going to be my last. A few days before I left I grabbed his hand and we went for a walk together in the community. On our walk we laughed, talked and just enjoyed the one on one time. He is such a special young man!
Today, these two were reunited with family. There will be no more joking with the little girl on the play yard and hearing her laugh. There will be no more walks or trips to town with a special little boy. I knew this day was coming, but I did not realize how hard it was going to be.
Father God, please watch over your children today. Wrap your arms of love around them and all them to know they are so incredibly special. May they continue to grow into the people you created them to be. Please do not them your truths leave their precious hearts. Protect them from the ways of the evil one. Father give your love and comfort to the staff at Beautiful Gate. To the BoMe who loved them as their own and the office/maintenance staff and many volunteers who also fell in love with them. May we embrace your peace today.
Abuti and Ausi, I wish I could have just one more day with each of you. May the Lord bless you and keep you. May he shine his face upon you and give you peace, both now and forever more. May you know that you were created fearfully and wonderfully. May you continue to seek out the only One who will never leave you or forsake you.