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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This time of year our society loves to look back and reflect on the year..the best moments, people we lost, defining moments, Facebook will even sum your year up for you in pictures, we pause for just a fleeting moment to take a look back. As I was putting together a video of my past year, I began to reflect. Did I truly live most of this past year in Uganda? Did I really learn to live and submersed myself in a different culture? Have I become too syndical after three years? Have I truly seen and witnessed miracles that I would have said “never would I ever” while living here in the States? Have I seen the most heartbreaking scenes play out in front of me? Has my heart been broken over a child?  Have I tasted of Jesus in a way that has completely ruined me and keeps me coming back for more?

Yes.

Who am I that He would call me worthy? I am still pondering that question daily. Then He reminded me during this season that Mary, the one who felt him move within her, was younger than I when she said “yes”. I freaked out when Jesus spoke to me and told me to began preparing to live a different life and move to another country, I can’t begin to imagine if an angel showed up in my room and told me I was pregnant how that scene would play out for me. Mary just straight up said, “I am your servant, may it be unto me what you have said.” She brought into the World my Savior. She could have said no. She could have been devastated that the plan she had for her life was now being altered and the man she loved might leave her. Instead, “My soul glorifies the Lord, and my spirit rejoices in God my Savior….for the Mighty One has done great things for me.”

I don’t want to miss it. I don’t want to miss the feast. Even during the times in Uganda where I wanted to pack my bags and come home, even those moments of me fighting out my flesh, I need them. When as a 30-year-old, who has been independent for most of my life, is no longer independent but learning to walk in submission, I learn that even He came to serve and not to be served. I don’t want to miss the joy of being called “mama” and seeing their faces light up when I walk into the home. I don’t want to miss out on the friendships that have changed me but only made possible because of Uganda. I feel so incredibly blessed that my perspective has changed. While worshipping I can see the faces of people all over the world and know that this is not all there is. If words could describe how sweet it is to fall in love with Him and truly walk where He has called us to walk then I would write them everywhere. No words can describe.IMG_3042

No matter what, He is good. A statement that is becoming more of my weary heart crying out in prayer. To believe it, to know it and to walk in it. No matter if we get to bring our daughter home, He is good. No matter if I miserably fail at resettling 56 children back to their biological families, He is good. No matter if Uganda never comes out of the dark history of sexual abuse, polygamy, abuse and broken families, He is good. No matter if I only make a difference in 10 lives while I have given many years here, He is good.

It is time to allow Him to remove the veil that we have put over our eyes. Suffering is what we must beg for. It is suffering that will bring upon His presence and revival. We must not think that because we live in America we should not taste of days like the rest of the world lives daily. Where poverty and hunger are their daily bread. Suffering is their way of life. But oh their joy. But oh their hope.

Hope.

My hope lies in Him. This is not all there is. Until that beautiful day where He comes to take me, I want to be found living right where He has called me. I never want to be set back by fear of the unknown. Fear of losing my life. For to lose my life, I gain. I gain Him…face to face. I want to be found drinking deeply of what His covenant came for. He has planted me here and here I will live. If He calls us into the fire, He will not withdraw His hand. I will gaze into the flames and look for You.

This next year my word is, Joy. I will find it. Some days I have to seek hard when my hard grows calloused to the desperation I see daily, everywhere. “Consider it pure joy.” The fight for joy is mainly the fight to see. I have to fight to see how everything I do here daily is a chance to display His glory. And when we see His glory there is this taste that happens, “taste and see that the Lord is good”.  Satan’s main job is to get my frustrated with this culture, with me always giving and it never being enough, to feeling inadequate…to keep me from seeing His glory. The battle for joy is the battle to keep ON seeing glory. In all of this…I want to see God. I don’t want it to just become routine, which is so easy to do. Preach to myself the glory of the Gospel every day so that I can continue to pour out.

I want this for you. I want my journey, my stories to quicken your heart to live beyond yourself. I want you to trade these earthly desires for something more. I do not know the way, I am still learning daily and I still take my own road sometimes but I will say..”Let’s try this together.” You have a story. Go find it. In the coming years and days, we will either have to run hard or we will be defeated. Let us start now. The world will be looking to us. IMG_6226-3

All glory and honor to Him who has invited me to be a part of what He is doing. My words are inadequate, we cannot say thank you enough to those who have encouraged us, financially supported us, and prayed for us. I am beyond humbled that anyone would read my words on a blog and take the time to stop and pray or send a quick note. How beautiful is the Body. Thank you for allowing us to go. Thank you. Thank you.

We will continue to walk these Orange Road together in 2015. I am confident it will be even more beautiful.