Foreigner at Home

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It has almost been a year since we stepped off the plane in America with our five crates of all of our belongings, an 7 month preggo stomach, a four-year old who has only known Uganda, and two adults who have lived overseas for over 5 years.

I remember feeling like I had been living in a whirlwind of every emotion possible for a while and it didn’t stop once my feet landed in Texas, my home, the place I longed for so often while living in Uganda. I was thankful to be coming to a familiar place, blessed with the most incredible medical services to bring our second born into the World. I was thankful to see my family, I was thankful that I was able to get in a car and not have my body beaten up by the roads, I was thankful for Chick-fil-a, I was thankful for doctor’s offices that were air-conditioned and organized. But where we really staying? Is this now my every day? What is my every day? What will I do? Who will I connect with? Who will get me? I am not the same Dacia that left 6 years ago.

I left as a single 27-year-old who thought I would be gone a year and come back to continue my career and marry a Texan and live in a cul-de-sac and my kids would go to the best schools and we would have that picket fenced life, my best Pinterest life. Here I am today, married a Tennessee boy that I met overseas, living in a small town, not much of a hot social life, adopted our girl after the longest year fight of my life, all in our first year of marriage, held dying babies, held miracles, walked into the darkest places, seen the light break through, every day could bring all the emotions possible, experienced injustice, been racially profiled, I am so changed. I don’t even have words to describe all that I have had the privilege to experience.

Everyone thought since we were coming “home” to our culture, to our families, our roots, this would be the easy part. I wanted to believe that. But deep inside me I was scared to death. And those fears have slowly creeped in as reality.

I feel as if I am here yet hovering above my self, not able to truly engage. Why? One reason was because within months of getting home, we were hit with confirmation of something that we feared for a while concerning our daughter, was indeed true. It derailed me. It was something I couldn’t talk about without feeling like I would be misunderstood. The devastation was wide-spread, it effected everyone I loved. It made me question all we had done. So, although we were home I was fighting one of the biggest battles we had faced and I felt so defeated being thousands of miles away.

Another reason was after years of experiencing so much suffering and hard things, you quickly learn that you cannot truly process every thing that you encounter or else you would emotionally collapse. You deal with it the best that you can while not truly letting the weight of it all sink in and you keep going. Keep going out there every day and trying to do the best you can without really letting the reality of the sin and ugliness of it all sink in. Now that I am far removed and see the life around me here, I am beginning to finally grieve and process. Process years of things that have messed me up. But on the other hand, thankful to have experienced it.

When I would go out and asked, “Hey how are you? How is it being back?” I didn’t feel like I could just unload without the sweet person asking slowly backing away, wide-eyed, overwhelmed and taken aback by my brutally honest answer.

While battling the news we received, we also quickly realized that we have had a very unique experience to see the world differently. Our experiences have opened our eyes to something that the majority have not been able to see. Everything about our lives in Uganda, even the day-to-day – going to the store, driving, social events, made us have to change the way we make even the smallest decisions. My day to day decisions here are still being filtered through what I have known for the last six years. Some times that works and other times, it doesn’t.

But here is what I know and believe with every fiber of my being, there is nothing like seeing more of Him in the eyes of those that are so very different from you, there is nothing more humbling that being a guest in another culture, nothing more beautiful than having to ask the Lord to change your heart to love deeper and bigger, to be able to experience what He says, “You will receive the power of the Holy Spirit and you will be my witness here, near, and far” (paraphrased). To see death and suffering but still see the light overwhelm the darkness. To understand how a momma could leave a child in a pit latrine to die, but then to experience the grace that can only come from Him to extend to a momma who is wounded and scared herself. To see His heart in all of it.

“For our citizenship is in Heaven, and from it we await our Savior..Phil 3:20”. 

I was sitting in church a few weeks ago and the Pastor was talking about what Jesus said to His disciples before his death and resurrection and this one line hit me and I just kept hearing it over and over for the rest of the sermon…

“You are to live as foreigners in the land…” 

And it was then that the Lord said, “Dacia, instead of fighting this feeling of being a foreigner, instead of trying to make wherever you are…here in America, or in Uganda feel like home, maybe just maybe this is EXACTLY how I desire for you to live. To know and actually feel the weight of not belonging anywhere but with Me, wherever I have you. To be able to taste the longing of going Home, to wrestle in the in between, to be uncomfortable wherever I have you, because it is when you are uncomfortable that you see Me. Live as a foreigner, don’t try to get comfortable. Love where you live, become all things to all people, so that they may see Me. Let the stretching, loneliness, the being misunderstood, draw you closer so that I can send your farther out. This is not all there is, my Kingdom and my Glory is your forever, and when that is in perspective, you are bound to feel like you do not belong here.”

So, if you too are feeling like you don’t have a place to call home. If you are feeling like you are a foreigner in your own land, or you find yourself truly in a country that is not your own; embrace it. And if you have an opportunity to be in a place where you feel like you don’t belong but you know He has called you, go.

I will be trying to embrace being a foreigner and loving the others around me who might not feel they belong either. I need a lot of grace and a lot of mercy because it’s beyond what I can do on my own.

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I have forgotten the Story.

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{Written and inspired after listening to Matt Chandler’s Sermon : God the Protector and Defender}

We have lost sight of the bigger story. I have lost sight of the Story. The only Story that is playing out today and has been playing since the beginning of time.

It’s the story of the Gospel.

My heart has been heavy, broken, and saddened by where we have found ourselves as the Church. We seem to not know what to do when our morals and our beliefs are now the ones being ridiculed and questioned. When we do speak and we are met with the label intolerance and hateful, we then become quiet and keep our beliefs to ourselves and the places where we feel safe.

Over the last year I have wrestled with MY response. Where is my part to play in this? Do I speak or do I remain quiet to ensure my name won’t be thrown out there as intolerant or self righteous. Only He knows my heart and He knows that on days I can be both of those things indeed. I am quick to judge, I am quick to be passionate about truths and can come across as unloving, and I have for SURE made my mistakes here in a different culture. I am guilty. Guilty of all of those things.

But the great thing about the Story is that when Adam and Eve joined the enemy’s team our God did not respond in anger and throw up His hands to say, “I’m done. Have it your way.” They ran in shame and hid in guilt and he came after them. He not only came to find them but He clothed them. Clothed them. The ones who just damaged the most harmonious relationship, He came and covered them so they would not be ashamed of their naked bodies.

Many days and moments here bring about such paralyzation due to the enormous amount of needs, suffering, hurt, hopelessness and poverty. It all is too much. Some days I find myself just wanting to find myself in a place where an extended stomach is not every other child, a place where children have incredible free education, where women are not seen as objects, darkness is not as evident, and hospitals that treat the sick and I just become numb. When a need is in front of me I find myself becoming angry that they are presenting it to me. I can become cynical and jaded.

In America it looked more like boredom and a life with no meaning. I just went about my days worried about things we worry about in a privileged country….what was the next thing exciting on my calendar to look forward to? Who was I going to hang out with over the weekend? Do I have enough? How can I be better? Can I build my platform with more beautifully perfected squares on social media?

I forget what C.S. Lewis stated…”There are no ordinary people. You have never talked to a mere mortal.” 

These people in front of me – they are not just another face of someone who needs something – not another face of a neighbor – not another face of a waiter – not another co-worker, they are eternal beings. ETERNAL. Either eternal in life or eternal in death.

We are here to push back the darkness, right where you are, so that we can tell the Story. He has placed us in these places to be a Harold of this Good News.

The reason we have lost the grace and compassion to push back the darkness is because we have lost sight of this.

We can forget that He did not come to condemn the world but to redeem and save us. To destroy the Enemy in order that we could be saved. He has come to rescue us from condemnation, not to condemn us.

I need to be reminded that it is my part to push back the darkness where He has placed me. To not be silent because I fear condemnation, not to be paralized because I am overwhelmed, not to see the people standing in front of me as my project, not to shy away from those that have different beliefs, those who preach a false doctrine, but as an eternal being that I have the opportunity to change their eternity.

How does this look?

“It means our dinner tables are open and inviting people that don’t believe what we believe to do life with us deeply. It means we love well and we have compassion, we seek to understand and we put before people what is good, right, and beautiful about Jesus. It means we don’t do drive by guiltings or say really foolish things online that can isolate or spark up anger for the sake of controversy. This was not the way of Jesus Christ.”

“We can say, ‘He rebuked the Pharisees.’ We are the Pharisees, that is us. The woman caught in adultery?  How did he treat her? Compassion. The woman at the well? Compassion. Zachius? He went to his house for dinner. It is with compassion, empathy, grace, patience, genuine friendship that darkness is pushed back.” -Matt Chandler

I pray that my table is open to all. That it won’t be just a one time dinner to say I did it but it would be an on going relationship that is deepened with those that are not like me, those that make me uncomfortable, those I disagree with. I want to see them not as mere mortals. I want to see them as the glorious beings they will one day be when we get our new bodies.

I pray that when we make mistakes in how we love people, how we respond to those mistakes, and when we represent Him not as the God who came to save and rescue us from condemnation but we condemn on behalf of Him…oh that He would continue to have patience for us and change our hearts. Change my heart.

May we speak with conviction that is laced with the truth of the Bible, the truth of the Greater Story which is from a heart of love, mercy, grace, compassion and a fierce warrior who is fighting on our behalf.

 

And He will act….

I have waited for this day long before I even met Leya. I have waited to walk into a room with the judge. In my head it was more picture perfect : Walk in hand in hand with the man that God has given me to lead and with a child that He has given us to love and we stand before this judge confident in the grace that only He has given us to be what I have desired to be, a mom and a dad. I have always wanted to adopt but oh how much I have learned and all of it has been drastically different than what I thought of adoption.

“In love He predestined us for adoption as sons and daughters through Jesus Christ, according to the purpose of His will….”

Leya was placed in my arms when she was just about 3 weeks. Through a series of events, she made her way to the children’s home that I was currently overseeing, and that day she was just another innocent baby that broke my heart to see how great our sin is and would be brought to live with among 56 other children who were there due to such depth of the human sin of others. I remember driving back to town with her and thanking Jesus for His glorious grace.  So often I have made these stories about the rescue of the child and that it is for sure but it is ALL of us in this story. He predestined me. He chose me, in His love and according to His will, He chose me. He chose Josh. He chose Leya. I can begin to forget that I have also been rescued and this is NOT a story of me rescuing. Before time, He rescued all of us.

“To the praise of His glorious grace, with which He has blessed us in the Beloved.”

When we started this process to foster Leya we believed it would be just a few days of paperwork and we would bring her into our home after this momma’s heart had been waiting for over a year. We were hopeful, we were excited, we were nervous to step over that threshold to be her parents but days kept turning into weeks and then months and we still had not moved forward and couldn’t bring her home. During that year I questioned Him, I yelled at Him, I fell before Him in desperation, I was still, I was restless, and it was one of the most beautiful seasons I have had with the Lord. My God, He didn’t change in that season and I have never clung to His glorious grace like I did in those months as I waited to know if I could bring this little girl home.

I learned in the depths of my heart that this story that He is writing for the Hamby family was not one that we were trying to rescue but we needed to be rescued. This story is more about my heart and my relationship with my Father as much as it is about Leya having a forever family.

I am reminded of Hannah, who the Lord closed her womb for a time. She went to the temple and begged, wept, and pleaded so much that the priest thought she was drunk.

“I have been pouring out my soul before the Lord.” 

I know that posture. I found myself there many nights on my knees in Leya’s finished room as I wept thinking that she may or may not come and it was all out of my hands. She promised the Lord that if He would grant her a child she would give him over to the service of the Lord all the days of the child’s life.

The Lord gave her Samuel, “I have asked him from the Lord” and she weaned her most prized relationship and gave him over to the Temple to serve the Lord.

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Throughout this journey we are constantly are faced with the reality that Leya is not ours and that any moment she could be taken away. I have had many nights where I find myself holding her and asking the Lord to show me how to pray over her, and I hear Him whisper to me to pray more for my heart to be like Hannah’s. My hearts and hands will ever be open with her now and for however long she has been given to us. When I have biological children this fear will not be so real, as we don’t have to keep placing the fate of our child into the hands of others but still the reality is the same, children are given to us by Him. I want to hold her close, I want to control, I want to protect, I think that what I can give her is better. Then He reminds me that even if she is not with me, she still has His love to boast in. She has a reason to sing and have hope. With our without us as her parents because He predestined her before the beginning of time. With all of my children I pray I cling to this truth and the heart of Hannah.

We were ready for Monday. We had asked for Him to be made known. We were going to the high courts to appeal to be Leya’s legal guardians. After obtaining legal guardianship we would stay with her three years and then go back to file for final adoption here in Uganda.

We prayed for our hands and hearts to be open. We asked for favor before a devout Muslim judge to see Jesus and that He would be seen as the God and all would know He is good. We asked to have grace and compassion upon her biological family, to have an outpouring of His Spirit as they would see her first time. We asked that the judge would not be harsh with me as it was told to us. We asked for His will to be done.

We walked into the courtroom and the judge looked upon us all with a stoic face and my hands couldn’t help but shake. Leya was in rare form as she wanted to sing and dance in the most tense place I have been in awhile. As the room fell quiet, Leya looked at me and started singing very loudly and innocently, ” I love mommy, I love mommy..mommy is so good to me, I love mommy.” It was then I felt Him come rushing over me and into that room.

“Commit your way to the Lord, and He will act. He will bring forth your righteousness in the light, and your justice as the noonday.” Psalm 34:5-6

He could have made our case just like every other case but instead He literally moved the heart of a judge to show us favor. The judge was actually KIND to us. My hands and heart were steadied as we walked into a room full of biological faces and our little girl danced and sang still. Through it all, IT IS WELL. We walked out of the courtroom in laughter.

We await our ruling but with hands open and hearts full of His goodness towards us.

This story, the story of our adoption and pursuit of a little girl for almost three years now, it is not about us. It’s about His relentless pursuit of our hearts and in that process a pursuit of a little girl named Leya.

For we know that you are God and that you are good.

What happened to me?

I remember his eyes that had so much suffering in them but squatting down to talk to him this smile peeked out and then you could see the hope that was tucked away. His name is Doug and he was 9 years old. I met him my second year in Uganda. I quickly found myself loving this boy who was suffering from cancer. We were hopeful after he had a successful surgery and he came to me rejoicing with those hopeful eyes now bright that he was going to be ok. I cried, I praised. It was a month later that we received the shocking news that Doug met Jesus face to face.1jjzpIt was one of my first real losses in Uganda, one that my heart loved and one I allowed myself to love and go into the trenches with. It was the first taste of the suffering here. I had seen it, experienced it in other’s stories, looked from a distance, but this little boy I went with him into his suffering. Suffering that leaded to His glory, His presence and Doug’s forever healing.

I have realized something about myself within the last year. I have always had the gift to go deep with people. It’s what I lived for. My friendships and people who were around me were where I found my passion come alive. Walking with people in the hard was where I always found myself and it wasn’t always on purpose. To move to Uganda, where everyone knows whether you have set foot here or not that suffering and hard is daily bread of these beautiful people, it was all I could do not to want to know everyone and their stories as I begin meeting people. So many. So much injustice. So much dying. So much I didn’t understand but as I walked with those few I saw joy and Him like I never had. I remember coming back to the States and when I found myself in worship, I would rejoice over the deaths of those I knew, rejoice of the sufferings of the stories of those on the other side of the world, because it is where He was found. It is the strangest place. For us to live, is Christ. And in His death and suffering. And I was alive. Alive in a way I had never been before standing among the tombstones and the wounded.

Today, I am still surrounded. Everywhere I look. Even more so now. The longer you live here the more you understand and you see past the surface. But I am not alive like I used to be, rejoicing in this place with Him when everyone around you would look at you like you were crazy considering your circumstances. What happened to me?

I stopped loving deeply from the heart. I stopped going deep. I began protecting myself. Protecting myself from the lies, the hopelessness, the stories that I hear and know the endings, the injustice, the evil, the pain. Surface level loving is what I have perfected. I have never been one to do surface level friendships. So of course I don’t feel like myself, because it’s not me.

I have 57 littles that I love deeply and would do anything for and want the world for them, to all know and be fiercely in love with our Savior, to not have to return to the lives that they came from, to have Godly parents who provide for them like I want them to be provided for. But the reality is, they are growing up in front of my eyes and I can’t control their destiny. They are hurting and they have begun lashing out as any child would who has endured what they have. The reality is beginning to surface that no matter how much we have poured in, cried, and prayed…He has given us the choice and they might not choose what we would desire for them and ultimately what He desires. So I have slowly retreated. I have slowly begun to detach because my heart can’t handle seeing them hurt or on a different path than what we would choose for them.

I loved being in the villages and walking among those found deep inside  where most people have never been. There is where you see things you don’t understand. I would love to hear the needs and the stories of those there and pray with them and try my hardest to find a way to meet their need. I would not grow annoyed or cynical. But after a while you realize it is never-ending. You begin to cringe when you see them coming. You grow angry when they say “impa” (you give).

“Now you have purified yourselves by obeying the Truth so that you have sincere love for your brothers, love one another deeply, from the heart. Like newborn babies, crave spiritual milk, so by it you may grow up in your salvation, now that you have tasted that the Lord is good.” 1 Peter 1:22, 2:2

What happened is I stopped loving deeply. I stopped craving the Spirit that would give me grace and wisdom to walk in the hard with those that are so different from me. While living in America, many of my mentors told me “Dacia, you were called to be in the trenches with people, it’s one of the things He put in you.” And it is true, I found myself there often. I found so much of Him there with others in the hard and when you are face down in  the dirt, with the weight of life pressing you down, you find Him. I have not been myself lately because I can’t seem to bring myself to love so extravagantly and hard here.

The truth is people are hard to love. People are easier dealt with by a simple pat on the shoulder, a text, or a “I’ll be praying for you.” Especially when nothing about the people are familiar to you and the lives they live are foreign to you and a place you will never truly understand. But He did it. He made us His people. “But you are a chosen people, a royal priesthood, a holy nation, a people belonging to God”. These people, they are my people because He called us out of darkness into His light.

Are we living with the intention of getting in the trenches with our people? The church? Those we just encounter for just a season? Are we craving our Father so we can grow in our salvation?

Stones

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Joshua 4.

The Israelites had been in the desert for 40 years and now the time had come time to leave the desert and go to the promise. A land that had been promised to them, promised to their parents or grandparents whose lack of belief caused them to die in the desert but these, they were about to cross over.

The Jordan River separated them from their new home. Where they could finally reach the place they had dreamed about and what seemed to be the finish line. As I try to place myself this morning, I imagine my husband being Joshua…(wink) and he is telling me to prepare our family to cross the river, but also knowing that the land promised to us was currently being inhabited by others, I would be so tired and weary. I would have been a little frustrated with God…”really, after all this time here we can’t just cross over and settle my family? My husband has to go to war over the land that is ours? Haven’t we endured enough? Why must we fight for what you said was ours?”

But what choice would I have but to trust this God who had kept us and follow the leading of my husband, who I know has heard from Him.

As I read this with my Joshua this morning this particular part of the story spoke to both of us very differently but so beautifully together.

Forty thousand! Forty thousand people (families) were to cross over. So I can imagine the chaos of what was going on in the moment. They had heard the stories of their ancestors crossing dry land on the Red Sea but I would be hiding my fear, because that does seem a little crazy. Packing up my belongings and my children to cross with another 40,000 people…I mean crazy. So when the Lord commanded of Joshua to pick up 12 stones from the middle of the Jordan, I would have thought…Lord that is so trivial. My husband needs to help me carry our children across, or carry my loads, but then he has to stop and pick up a large stone?

I am always focusing on the battle and what we need to do to conquer the battle. As in I see our adoption as a battle, I see our time here in Uganda working in ministry, there are battles in fighting for your marriage, there are battles within our immediate family. Battles doesn’t necessarily mean that things are going wrong but it means that because Jesus is trying to move Satan is attacking and you have to go in and face it as a battle. I don’t take the time to stop in my day and pick up a stone to mark the faithfulness of God even in the midst of the battle or the preparing.

What is your battle you are fighting or see in the near future and you are busy preparing for it? In the midst of it all are you picking up stones of remembrance for every act of faithfulness of Him? Are you sharing it with your children and can they see that we are looking each day for His faithfulness and we make it a priority to look for stones rather than fighting the battle.

The Lord also gave instructions after the obedience of the people. He didn’t give all the instructions at once. He didn’t say you are going to cross the river, pick 12 stones, place them on the altar where you sleep, go to the city of Jericho and then march around it. No. He gave the instructions one at a time. One step in front of the other.

Once He saw the obedience, He gave the next instruction. In the middle of it I want scream because I want to get all the instructions at once and then I can go fast and try to hurry to the result. But Jesus knew. He knew that His people including myself needed one instruction at a time. In this moment, I want all of my instructions but as my husband was so faithful to point out this morning, He has given us one right now. After that He will give another, until the walls of Jericho fall down and we live in the place He has called us to.

What battles are you facing today that you are wanting to know how to strategically fight? Is it addiction, your marriage, your business, an adoption? We want to get to the end but as we see in Joshua, His people took one instruction at a time and He instructed them to pick up stones to declare His faithfulness. I need to stop and look around to see if there is someone in my path that He wants me to minister to, give myself to, or serve to move to the next instruction? And lay a stone.

Then when the battle is won we have a stone for each way He provided for the victory and what brought the white flag. We sit and tell our children of each stone and we raise a generation that knows going into battle to look for stones.

“So the Israelites did as Joshua commanded them. They took twelve stones from the middle of the Jordan according to the tribes of the Israelites, as the Lord had told Joshua; and they carried them over with them to the camp, where they put them down. And they are there even to this day.”      

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What would we say?

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA          Processed with VSCOcam with t1 presetWeekends are the hardest. During the week we keep ourselves busy with work and when I go to work, I see her but come the weekend, I fight the sadness. When our living room is unusually quiet, when I trip over little shoes, and when I walk up the stairs to see an empty bed the deep sadness sets in.

This morning I sit with the Lord and I have Bethel’s new album playing in the background and I find myself putting one song on repeat. They lyrics seem to be coming from deep inside of me.

     “I have to this place in my life

I’m full but not satisfied, this longing to have more of You

I can feel my heart is convinced, I’m thirsty my soul can’t be quenched

You already know this but come do whatever it is you want to.

I’m standing knee-deep but out in a place I’ve never been

I feel you coming and hear your voice on the wind”

As I wrote my last blog, I wrote that this process is not about Leah…it’s about me. I didn’t really know then what He was specifically He was trying to do but He is beginning to reveal.

I have known Jesus since I was 6 years old. I have always desired to have a real relationship with Him, not one of my family’s, not one that worked for me when I needed it, but He has been so gracious to me by planting a desire in me to want to really know this Man. I have seen so much. Since a little girl, I have walked with my family through the grossness of the church, I have seen death, I have seen miracles, I have walked deep in depression, I have walked in spiritual highs, I have moved across the world because that is where He led me and I tend to think I have arrived.  But here where my heart is so confused and hurting, I see that I haven’t and that is what He is doing.

When the question was asked of Josh and I, “What do you want to say to Leah if she can’t come to your home?” The question stung. We both just sat there not really wanting to let that reality to set in. It is like when you know you are dying and you have the task of trying to leave words behind for those you love so much. As we both answered, the tears flowed and my hands shook. But in that moment, He reminded me of His purpose.

“Leah, above all else you have two people who love you more than we could ever show you. You are worth every fight we have and will put forward, because you, Leah, you are worth fighting for. You are treasured. Know you are loved. Loved fiercely. But above all else we want you to know that your hope does not lie in having a mommy and a daddy in us. Your hope doesn’t lie in having this family, but your hope is in Jesus Christ. We will fail you, this world will fail you, but your Father, He will never fail you. He wants you to know along with us, that this is not all there is and this is not your home. He will come for you and we want you to know Him. He is your hope. He is your Father.”

That question makes me look at my hands. Are they clenched tightly around what I want? What I think will make everything better for her and for us? Or are my hands still open?

I have sang songs, written it in my journal, declared to other…”Nothing compares to you. You are my one desire. I desire nothing besides you. You are better.”

But here in this mess- do I really believe? Do I really want Him more than I want a daughter? 

He is better. I believe this. But have I known? I like to go to His table and feast but I think I have been taking my paper plate to His table. I have been drinking the boxed wine. I want fast food. I want Him, I desire Him, but when it comes to forsaking the desire to have Leah as my daughter, do I want Him more?

If there is one thing that I want more than anything is to know that He is better than all of this. Better than marriage. Better than children. Better than life.

Because He is. 

I have acknowledged that this process might not be over until He has accomplished what He wants to in me. I have tried to hurry it. I have tried to manipulate my relationship with Him in order to get. But here is this moment my heart is definitely knee-deep out in a place I have never been before. And I can’t help but be lured because I have never felt Him like this. So, if I have to linger here, I am daring to say…Lord keep me here.

If fighting for a daughter leads us to the table, where I throw away my paper plates, where I drink of the finest wine, and I feast on the finest china then let me not clench my hands tightly around what I want.

I want to know that nothing compares to you and that you truly are my one desire.

Let this cup not pass until I have drank deeply of what you have for me, for our marriage, for our girl, and our ministry.

If this is deeper, let me sink willingly.

“Then You crash over me and I’ve lost control but I am free

Whether I sink or rather I swim

it makes no difference when I am beautifully in over my head

I’m beautifully in over my head”

 

I thought I could do this better..

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I remember when she came. I remember my heart stopping seeing the condition she was in. Three weeks old and barely hanging on. She was too weak and fragile to stay out in our Babies Home, which is an hour away from town, so our nurse and I brought her back to Jinja where we could watch her around the clock and make sure she was getting the best treatment. On the way back to town we knew she needed a new little name. We all threw out ideas. Here in Uganda when someone from the Muslim faith becomes a believer they take on a Biblical name.  Everyone in the car liked the name Leah. Here though they pronounce it like “leia” from Star Wars. I thought it fit this little tiny body. So, we called her Leah.

I remember sleepless nights as her stomach was getting used to formula and a regular schedule and of course the rounds of meds. I remember crying at night out of a deep pain of not understanding, out of not sleeping, and out of this momma’s heart that was beginning to explode out of my chest.

There was this moment when she became more than just a baby in our home that I was responsible for. I love all of our children, every single one of them, and there have been many that I have cried with, sat in the hospital with and taken under my own care for time periods. And my love for them runs deep and thick. But there was this moment with her when I knew this love was different. We quickly saw life come into Leah and from the very beginning her eyes were full of joy. Unless she was hungry, sleepy, or in pain she didn’t cry. Her huge eyes would just be trying to take it all in. We were taking another child to the hospital and Leah had been warm that day but not fussy or crying so I wasn’t too concerned but since we were already at the hospital, I just had her checked for malaria. She tested positive. And not just a little malaria but there was too much in her little already weak body.  They had to admit her into the hospital. There was this moment when the fever has spiked and her little eyes rolled in the back of her head. They couldn’t find a vein to get the iv going and in that moment, I knew. She was mine. I was the one that was called to fight for her.

IMG_1469During this time Josh and I were just beginning to date. We had only been on two dates and here I was being a full-time momma to this little sick child. Oh how gracious was Josh. He had a bunch of people here visiting and I’ll never forget him bringing all of them to the hospital to check on us. I’ll spare all the little stories in between but this little girl was one of the main stories that God used to reveal to each of our hearts separately that the other was the one that we were to spend the rest of our lives with.

When she was about 3 months old and had become healthy enough to go stay full-time at the home it was up to me to have to take her back. My heart was in a million pieces as I drove that long hour to take her to the babies home. Just writing this now takes me back to that day and I can even still the same pain come back.  And that is what started this very long journey.

After Josh and I knew that we were to going to say yes to doing our lives together, she was one of the very first topics we covered. We both knew the Lord had not brought her into our lives when He did if it wasn’t for a purpose. We made the decision to do what Jesus has asked and commanded of us to put our marriage first and build a strong foundation. So we poured ourselves into each other, into enjoying our engagement, planning our wedding and frankly getting to know each other. But we would have these amazing days, moments, and treasured time with the little girl who had stolen our heart. We were thankful that she was in our Babies Home where we could see her and know that she was being loved on. We did our best to take it one season at a time but this momma…I was so ready to be a family.

 

Today is January 12, 2015 and in three months, Leah will be two years old. We have been fighting to bring her into our homIMG_1299e to foster her for the last four months. Josh and I knew when we began this process it wouldn’t be easy. I have seen many adoptions and I knew that you are always asking to see characteristics of your Father that you would not see if you didn’t walk through adoption.  I always thought that when it came time for our “hard” that I could do it with praise on my lips constantly. That I would cry yes, but I would wake up every morning asking for more of Him and that I would be this picture of someone who could walk through the rains but not fearing the storm and would walk confidently through it. That is what I truly desired my journey to look like.

But oh how my lips have not always praised Him. Especially this morning. We have been so close many times now to bring her home for good  and then as my heart gets excited and anxious, we find out we have yet another hurdle to jump through. Josh and I know from living here in Uganda the path to adoption can be very hard in many ways.  We knew that God had asked us to, no matter what, we would do the process correctly and abide by the laws of the land and put His name forth first.  If that meant we wait years, that isnot what we would do.

But if I am honest, because we made the decision to walk uprightly before Him and the system here, deep down I had a sense of entitlement. If we do this the right way then for sure He will come through for us. Come through for us in the way that yes, we will have hard times but we will get our girl. I believed this. For He says, “He withholds no good thing from those who walk uprightly.”

This morning my heart knows that I was so prideful in secretly believing that. My heart was so entitled to my God who owes me nothing. He owes me nothing. Just because we have walked uprightly, as best as we know how, He does not have to give me Leah. And He would still be good and He would still not be withholding from me. We are not owed. We owe Him.

The process my Savior went through to find me, bring me from the pit I was in, and give me life eternal….He sent His own son to die. Not just to die a peaceful death but one where He would have spit in His face, flesh torn, stomped on and nailed to a tree. I try to put myself there and I can’t. So if He went through that to get me…

So I confess. I am angry. Angry that for almost two years I have been fighting for my daughter. We have waited and waited. Today I wait still. And I sit back and watch the inconsistent ways of this country where not one rule applies to everyone and I want justice. There is this little girl who knows us as momma and daddy, yet we only come and go. I have her room ready, her closet is hung with clothes, there is an empty car seat in my car.  When our child is not suffering or in harm’s way but sitting in a babies home being fed that no one is in a hurry to bring her into our home.  I’m angry because it seems no one is fighting for us. It seems He is not doing anything.

But this I know…He is doing something. He is revealing my heart to me. He is exposing places in my heart that need great redemption and grace…and forgiveness. Do I even know contentment? If I should suffer, go unclothed and have nothing would my heart still prize His love, know it, and be constrained by it, though I be denied all blessings?

It is His mercy to allow me to walk through afflictions and try me with wants, deep wants of a daughter, one who calls me momma…for it is by this trial I see my sins. I do desire severance from them.

Our prayer is that we will willingly accept whatever He decides to give us. Leah in our home or Leah that we love from a distance. If we can feel sin as the greatest evil and be delivered from it with gratitude, that is the highest testimony to His love. I have so far to go. And a part of me is fearful to even admit that because then I think…will she not come home until He has accomplished this in me?

I say this asking to believe it in my deepest soul. “yes, Lord accomplish in me”.

Though now I have His grace, I know shortly we will all have it perfectly and we will all be fully reconciled, and alone sufficient, efficient, loving me completely with sin abolished.

O Lord, hasten that day.

May we wait on You as we wait to see where you take our family.

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