It's Mother's Day, and for the first time I am on both sides of the celebration. This May, I am a mother. My last post was right before I got married, and now six months later, I'm not only happily married but also now, joyfully pregnant. Life is constantly bringing surprises and our Father is constantly bringing blessings.
It's crazy because I'm really beginning to bond with my little one growing inside my womb. It has taken me months to not only believe I'm pregnant but to feel the reality of being a carrier of life. First trimester was a hard three months for me. I felt sick almost every day, couldn't feel the baby move, and barely had something worthy to call a baby bump. Once I started feeling better (around 14 weeks) and getting bigger, I was able to get excited about this growing life. I'm now half way through my pregnancy and am feeling my little boy or girl move like crazy. It really is unlike anything else I've ever experienced. It's not so much the physical feeling that is amazing (although it is!), but the emotions that come with each movement are unexplainable.
Each night when I go to bed, I feel like I'm "hanging out" with my baby. It's such a sweet time to talk to him/her and to pray for him/her. Each time he/she moves, I get giddy--like I'm falling in love. It's been especially sweet since my husband has been away for work. Although I know I'm never alone because God is with me, I really am now carrying with me another person, another soul, another being. There are two beating hearts within me. Two sets of hands and feet. Four eyes and four ears, detecting light and dark and listening to surrounding noises. My child is experiencing life with me, in the secret of his/her hiding place, tucked safely within me. Never in my life have I had someone this close to me, literally united in everything I do. The closest relationship to this thus far has been the one with my beloved husband. And although that is close, it's so different from what I'm experiencing right now.
I can't wrap my mind around the miracle of life, but I know this for sure; it is a miracle. I am grateful to get to experience the blessing of carrying and stewarding a child of the Creator. He could have chosen any other way to bring into existence people, but He chose this. For goodness sake, He created Adam from the dust and Eve from Adam's rib! And right now, He chose me to carry this precious cargo. He chose me to be a mother and He didn't have to. This Mother's Day, I feel privileged. And even though our little one isn't out of the womb yet, I still am a mother. I can't even imagine what is to come when this one comes out of his/her hiding place. I may just come undone.
Happy Mother's Day to all the mothers and mother's to be!
I better make this good. This is my last post as a single person. I figured I'd better blog tonight because a) it's my only "free" time until the wedding, and b) I will wish I would have blogged right before my wedding so I can remember everything later.
Where do I start? I can't possibly go over every detail of my life since I got back from Uganda. There is just entirely too much and God is just entirely too good for me to recount it all. I would have to say the last several months of my life have probably been the craziest months ever. Really, from May 2011 to now, life has felt like lightning flashing through the sky--if you blink too long you miss it.
I was just writing my wedding vows and I went through a few journals. One of my journals had a mention of Andrew at the beginning with a prayer of "God if this is not it, let me know quickly". That was before we ever hung out...before our first date. I was praying for discernment for even going to coffee with him ;) The next several pages were seeking wisdom and discernment with the "Andrew situation" continually. And then several pages later, there was "I think You (God) are preparing us for marriage." And the journal literally ends with wedding plans. In a 50 page journal, that is NOT much time!
I laughed as I looked at the timeline of this all. But after I laughed, I almost cried because the grace of God was suddenly so evident to me. He heard my prayer and answered quickly. How does a perfect God always hear our imperfect prayers? It must be because we have a perfect High priest interceding for us. Thank you, Jesus, that you are the reason God hears me. I have Jesus to thank for bringing me a husband.
To any blog followers I may have had, I am sorry it has been so long, but yes, I am getting married and all my time has suddenly disappeared. Between getting back from Uganda, moving into a new place, working, getting engaged and wedding planning, I have felt a little disheveled. It is amazing how being busy can quickly get in the way of time with the Lord. With the million and one things to do running through my head constantly, I have been distracted from my One True Love. As I prepare to get married, I am already feeling the gravity of Paul's truth in 1 Corinthians 7:34-35;
"And the unmarried or betrothed woman is anxious about the things of the Lord, how to be holy in body and spirit. But the married woman is anxious about worldly things, how to please her husband. I say this for your own benefit, not to lay any restraint upon you, but to promote good order and to secure your undivided devotion to the Lord."
It is amazing how true this is, as I am sure many of you know. I am so very thankful for my future husband and am so excited for our marriage, but I miss my undivided time with the Lord already. My most recent prayer has been that I would have an undivided heart for Jesus. I truly want to yearn for Him. I know God alone can satisfy, so as I am "busy" with all of this new stuff I must fight to have sweet fellowship with the lover of my soul. Prayers are welcomed :)
In my last post I talked about a place called Mama Mary's where we met a bunch of kids filled with faith. It was there that I met a seven year old girl named Jen. She wore ratted shorts and a see-through vest-type shirt that tied in the front and showed her whole belly. As I looked around at the kids, I realized she had the least amount of clothes on. It bothered me.
As we went through out the day, Jen clung to my side. There was a sweet connection between us and we loved on each other all day. When we were preparing to leave I had a conversation with one of my teammates about the need these kids had. Earlier we had separated donations for the kids into categories of younger and older kids. I only had a few things for kids older than baby/toddler age--actually I had three dresses from the Jones girls I live with back home. As I talked to my teammate, I realized I had the dresses in my bag, which was with me. Jen walked over to me and I pulled the dresses out of my bag and handed them to her. She smiled from ear to ear and bent down low to say thank you. I hugged her and said goodbye since we were leaving. She wouldn't let go of my hand and ended up walking me all the way to the gate. She kept saying thank you and hugging me.
As I turned to walk to the bus alone, the realization of God's providence hit me. Of course the 'naked' girl would be the girl who attached to me all day...and of course I was the only one who had donations with me--three dresses just her size! Of course. That is our God. Our God is a God of individuals--One who provides for each of our needs. He does not forget about one of His children. No, not one. Truly, He is a Father to the fatherless. I left that day having confidence that no matter what happens, those kids have a Father in heaven who cares for them and meets their needs in Christ.
Tomorrow will be my one week mark of being back from Uganda. I haven't had any major revelations this week, but I have been able to see God's continued grace from my trip and His faithfulness in all the small things...even now that I'm home.
Today I am sitting on my porch, drinking coffee and truly missing Uganda. It is weird how a place and a people can steal your heart so quickly. I miss the red dirt and the smiling faces. I miss the opportunity to learn from those who are poor in wealth, but rich in faith. I will share a testimony of those whom I miss now.
While we were serving last week, we had the opportunity to visit a woman called Mama Mary who had taken 39 kids into her home and raised them as her own. The kids ranged from age three to twenty. The second we walked in the door, these precious children bombarded us with love, and not just any love, but truly the love of Christ. We had the opportunity to do VBS with these children and one of the first questions I was able to ask them was, "Can anyone tell me about Jesus?" Immediately I knew the Spirit was there. Answers like, "He died for our sins," "He rose from the grave," and "He is King of Kings, Lord of Lords, and my Master," rolled off the tongues of these heralds of God.
I wanted to sit down and let the kids teach me, but God called me to bring a message so I continued on. I had been anxious about this VBS before the trip even began, but as soon as I stood before those kids and started speaking of Jesus all my anxiety fled and the Spirit spoke. I don't even know what I said. After VBS the kids wanted to sing us some songs and worship. So we all marched over to a garage-turned-sanctuary and lined up by the wall as the kids stood before us prepared to sing. They started in, singing beautifully with words that touched our hearts.
They sang and worshiped like I have never seen before. These children were on their knees, hands in the air, tears streaming down their cheeks pouring themselves out before the Lord. They were completely undone as they worshiped in Spirit and in truth. It was evident that their faith was genuine and that Jesus is truly all they have and all they need. It didn't take but a second for our team to come undone as well. How incredible it was to watch these precious orphans worship their Father in heaven unashamedly! I began to weep uncontrollably. The song ended and instead of silence, all we could hear were cries and whimpers of everyone in the room. One of our team members stepped forth from the wall and grabbed two small girls as they cried. We all followed suit. Pretty soon every team member in the room was holding one or two kids and crying with them or praying over them. I grabbed a little boy and just held onto him tight, then I prayed God's promises over him and assured him that he was loved more than he could know.
I was (and still am) blown away by the faith of these children. They are filled with joy because they have so much confidence that they have a Father and are loved by Him. They just get it. Oh, how I want to just get it.
I have returned from Uganda and am pleased to report the Lord has been gracious in all things involved in the trip. He answered so many prayers and I can't even begin to tell you how faithful He is. The trip was filled with moments marked by His fingerprints and in the next several blogs I will share some of those moments. Here is the first.
We arrived on a Sunday and spent the next three days serving at the baby's home and getting to know one another and the children. We spent a lot of time with the kids, just loving on them and learning their stories and praying for their futures.
One of the other team members and I were chosen to paint a mural in the backyard of the baby's home. We were told to paint a few panels on the wall and what was supposed to be a simple mural ended up filling up the whole backyard. We painted for two days and to be honest, I was feeling a little discouraged that I wasn't able to spend more time with the kids those two days. Then one afternoon one of the little guys with whom I had really connected walked out into the backyard and grabbed on to my leg. I had a paint brush in one hand and a can of paint in the other. I acknowledged he was there by patting his head and smiling at him and then I turned back to the wall to paint before I realized, "What am I doing? I am choosing to paint over this child." So I put down the brush and wiped my hands off and picked him up. He hugged me tight and we walked over to the stairs to sit down. He sat hugging me for the next hour on those stairs.
You see, this child is not adoptable like some of the others are. He and his sister were dropped off at the baby's home by his father and he told them he might come back later to pick them up. This little boy is 3 and doesn't speak much and is kind of withdrawn. He seems to have a lot of emotional paint, even at age three. It took him quite some time to smile and laugh with some of us. So the fact that he was letting me love on him for so long was a miracle. I sat there with him and just prayed over him, claiming God's promises for his life.
The Lord really spoke to me during this time as well. He was reminding me that too often we have a paint brush in one hand and something else in the other and we are working hard to get things done. We don't just throw the paint brush down and embrace Him when He comes to us, but instead we try to spend time with Him while multi-tasking. I was so convicted. Here I was doing the "work of God" by painting and serving and I almost missed this opportunity to love on this child because I was so busy working. But Jesus says, "This is the work of God, that you believe in him whom he has sent." (John 6:29) So I sat and believed...believed that Jesus is enough for me and for this child. Believed that Jesus has come to seek and save the lost. Believed that this child has a chance. He has a future. And nothing is impossible with God.
And so today, sitting in my room back in the States, I still believe that Jesus is enough for this child and that he has a chance. So I will pray for him and ask for God to move mountains for him. Please pray with me. And please fully embrace the Spirit when He comes.
I am a child of God, a servant of Jesus, an alien on this earth, and a nomad by nature. I don't know what tomorrow brings, but by the grace of God I am seeking first His kingdom and His righteousness as I wait for what's to come. I'm all over the place. My only constancy is Christ Himself, who is my life. I am being sanctified and refined in this life...always in process, never perfect, but complete in Christ.