img_0377.jpg

“Oh, for a closer walk with God, A calm heavenly frame, A light to shine upon the road that leads me to the Lamb.

Where is the blessedness I knew, When first I saw the Lord? Where is the soul-refreshing view of Jesus and His Word?

What peaceful hours I once enjoyed! How sweet their memory still! But they have left an aching void…

The world can never fill.”

-William Cowper

Advertisements

2013.

Joshua, my man and I are planning a wedding!! I have been so absent from writing because He has been writing for me, in my every day, a beautiful story of writing specifically to me. All the letters, prayers and tears I have poured out waiting for Josh, the Lord has spoken to me so many times…”I have heard every prayer”.  It truly is an incredible love story. One that only the author of marriage and relationships could write. Josh and I have quickly seen how He has brought us together to fulfill one of His main reasons for marriage, it is to display the Glory of God. What a crazy ride it has been thus far….

Let me start from the beginning. I was actually going through my photos on my iphone and amazed at how the new ios7 categorizes your pictures so well. My last few months of my life are told in this camera roll and it’s dates.

So I will recap the last year in pictures. To sit here and go back, to go back to my chaos and pain, my mountain tops, my magical moments, the first kiss, the first cry, the first time I held her and saw her smile, the first time we prayed over here, him down on one knee, celebrations, and the continued orange road….

13176_629905314067_1302704336_n February 2013– I traveled back to Uganda for my second year. I came with my church from home, Austin Christian Fellowship, who I began this journey with five years ago! Before they left to return back to the States, they circled around me and had one of the most incredible prayer times I can remember. This girl, Emily, her prayer rocked my world as she began praying over a very specific fear and area of my life that I had a lot of unbelief in. I hadn’t talked in-depth with Emily about this but she prayed as if she and I had hours and hours of conversation discussing the state of my heart. She prayed that God would bring my husband, one that would love ministry and this country as much as I did. One that would join me in the field. She prayed for my patience and a heart that would continue to wait on Him in a place where it seemed impossible. I remember the Lord stirring in my heart during that time of sweet prayer and lots of snot 🙂

IMG_0717

I also must remember the miracles. Agnes, who had suffered from many seizures had one of her worst at the beginning of March. She was unconscious for several hours and her little body was too weak. After many prayers lifted up around the world and around her bedside, the little sweetness came to life and since then…NO SEIZURES!! We have seen great improvement in her life from the physical to the emotional.

IMG_0742Then there was this guy…a friend that I had been hanging out with a little bit. The night before Easter I was preparing and matching flowers, headbands and dresses. This guy came an helped me and even modeled some for me. If he had the patience to sit through that junk, I knew he was going to handle girls well. I might have formed a little crush that night as he helped me make the perfect dresses for my girls that night.

DSC_0457 DSC_0472On a day that Joshua was extremely busy, he cleared his schedule to come to our home and capture the joy behind his camera. One of the many talents I would soon discover that he has. Jesus was so evident in this story in particular. Friends from home contacted me that their little girl instead of asking Santa Clause toys for her, she wanted Santa to bring 56 pairs of shoes so she could give them to our babies. How amazing is that? The love of Christ so pure and innocent in the lives of those we should look to more to as our examples. We had such a fun day telling the children that these dresses and shoes were package with love directly from Jesus.

IMG_0915The Lord was faithful in sweet friends that donated money for me to buy a car!! This car has been the biggest blessing in more ways than just getting me from Jinja to our babies home 45 minutes away-it also brought Josh and I together. When I first got the car we realized quickly that there were many problems that needed to be fixed. Yet again, Joshua stepped up to the plate and begin fixing my car 🙂 On our multiple trips to Kampala, the capital city, we had many conversations that showed our hearts were beginning to depend on each other for friendship. Jesus knew I needed a man who could fix things, living in this country where there is constant fixing to be had.

IMG_1036 P.S. I want this long hair back….and yes this is the Nile. Still seems crazy that I get to hang out on the Nile. Who wouldn’t fall in love here?

Amy came to our rescue. Amy and I still laugh about the way we were connected. It is again, one of God’s ways of showing us that He has the great big world in His massive hands and if he wants two people’s paths to cross, He can make it happen. Amy has adopted Favor, her little girl, from our home and does a beautiful job of always bringing her girls back to their original home. Amy came to help us as our nurse for our home and I honestly don’t know what I would have done without her during this time. The Lord used her to be a friend here to witness what Jesus was doing, help guide me and sit up late after my first date to hear all the details.

IMG_1168

Amy and I were out at the home in April when I was told a father was there with his child. We do not just accept children into our home with no paper work and proper steps with the government. I was greeted by a gentle man and a very quiet woman with a very small bundle in her lap. You would have thought that it was a baby doll wrapped in a sheet it was so small.

Meet Fatuma:

IMG_1134Forever my heart is changed. This child has brought life. Life was brought to her through our faithful Daddy who allowed her to brought to our home to put meat on her bones and a smile on her face. My heart felt what I have heard so many of my “momma” friends say but I have never been able to relate. The times spent at 2am in the morning feeding a baby creates a bond that you didn’t know your heart could form. This sweet girl, who we call Leah, has taught me so much and I know He is going to continue to use her life to teach me more.

IMG_1226She has taught me submission. Submission to my Father and to my soon to be my husband. I have been independent for quite some time and this little one without knowing it took my heart to a place of submission even with Josh that was the first of many. It has been beautiful to watch what has happened after I have given all control over to the Lord.

IMG_1469Unfairness: I have always struggled with the question, “why me, God?” but in the sense of why was I born in the western world where we don’t have to worry about losing a child due to just a common sickness. Why did I get to be born in a place where malaria wasn’t rampant and babies didn’t suffer from the sin and curse of this fallen world like I see every day here? Never more have I fought God on His sovereignty as I did when I was holding this little one with a fever so high she was going unconscious and they couldn’t get a line her in her little tiny dehydrated veins. As I prayed that God would hold this one and hold me as I hate moments of anger, moments of desperation, and moments of fear. He held us both and once again, I see Him. See and hear him saying, Trust me. Even in death, trust me. Even in life, trust me. When something is so far beyond your control, it pushes me to His arms.

DSC_0076

I have learned after being here for 2 years that there are many days when I would pick up the phone to talk to my parents, who I have always called when I needed wisdom, guidance and prayer, I would want to pour out my heart about my current world. But I couldn’t. It is hard for others to grasp it, hard to understand the multi-layers of everything here. I prayed and prayed that my parents could come together, to experience my life here with me, so when I needed to pick up the phone, they would understand more. It was a HUGE miracle to get the call that they were able to come because of our sweet family and friends that helped them to get here. To do ministry with my parents was incredible. I loved sharing with the two that have taught me what servanthood and ministry looks like and to see how it was their parenting that lead me here.

DSC_0305

DSC_0560Thankful for Dress a Girl Around the World who allowed us to go into the poorest area around, Masese, where we have a church and hand out hand-made dresses. Sweet Joy.

DSC_0546

Can’t leave out my first boda accident. For those that don’t know, it is a very common form of transportation here, a motorbike that can carry one person or a whole house. As you can see I had a choice of either falling off and eating concrete or losing my entire skirt in town.

IMG_0695Hallie, my Rock Star of a friend came to find more fair trade for her amazing store #halliebrockwall! It is my dream one day to do the same with her because I love fashion, helping women realize their beauty, and to help organizations like Arise Africa all at the same time.

IMG_1744

HOME! For the first time with my man to meet his family and see where we come from.
IMG_1856

The time finally came where I was able to sit with the girls that have walked every season with me and we have had countless conversations about when we will meet the guy that we have all so patiently been waiting on. I will never forget this one. Lots of shrieking, crying, and laughing with the friends that I hope I walk with for many more years to come.
IMG_1876

Ten years since I graduated High School with these lovelies. SO thankful for friendships that continue to last even after our adolescence.

IMG_2016And then my life changed with this scene.

IMG_2252

eng 73Thus begins “our story”. The one He has written for us to now get our feet dirty with orange dirt as we learn to do ministry together.

IMG_2254And how gracious is He to give me these girls to be there for every celebration.

IMG_2467We are excited to see where this leads. We pray that while He has us here, in Uganda, we give all we have and pour ourselves into this amazing ministry that we are so privileged to be a part of.

IMG_2935

Today.

I haven’t blogged in almost a year. I have tried. I will sit to write and I can’t finish a post. It has really bothered me because writing has always been my way of processing and reflecting back to what the Lord has done. Since May, nothing has come. It’s not because I have nothing to reflect on or that life has not brought me new experiences. In fact, my whole life has changed. Literally. In every sense of the word “change’, I have experienced it in the last 10 months.

He has wanted me to take it all in. To process alone. To take in the moments and not always share in the public eye that I so easily feel obligated to participate in. It’s been a journey of my Savior and I and those around me in those moments.

Tonight though, I am ready. Ready to try to put my thoughts back into words that will reflect an honest heart.

My days now are mostly administrative, which is never what I saw myself doing here in Uganda, but the Lord has taken me to a place where I am uncomfortable. Imagine that. Not only in a different country, different culture, but into a place where it is hard to balance between the call to serve those here and also administrate those He called me to serve. So instead of just going to the home and holding babies and playing with the children, I am now in the office pouring over budgets trying to keep our food budget from going too high, meetings, and planning. A lot of days I want to just leave that job to someone else and go and do what I want to do, be a momma. But then being a momma is taking care of your household. It is not glamorous.

Glamorous it is not. So often, for my heart’s selfish sake, I detach. I busy myself in the details of budgets, managing, and computer work. I have found that I can hide there and forget sometimes the stories and the eyes that captured my heart and the small hands the Lord used to release mine of everything I held dear to move across the ocean. Some days it’s too much. Just going to the market to pick 50 pounds of beans and 50 pounds of rice, pouring sweat, the stench of the garbage piles makes you nauseated, the countless times you are told the higher price because your skin resembles what they know as money, and needing to use your phone but not having any airtime to call anyone. It does me in. In one hour I am fighting my flesh and the words that come into my mind that I should never say out loud, the anger of how nothing is ever simple here. By the time I drive an hour to the home on roads that will, well, they will just leave you speechless, I am greeted by the children that I love with all my heart. Yet, I am detached somehow. Detached because my day has already been frustrating beyond belief and I don’t have it in me to remember their little hearts and that all I really need to do is stop and listen, stop and hug, stop and touch their hands, stop and be present.

AriseAfrica1435He reminds me. In His sovereignty, which I will never comprehend, He has carried me through today. After a day full of unexpected situations, attacks of the enemy, I found myself at the end of me. Literally. Most days when I get into bed, it’s not a moment too soon because I know His mercy and grace has been spent and I am waiting for the morning, where His new mercies rises with the sun. It is new every morning, and I drink deeply. But today, I found a place where I could just breathe and I cried out to the Lord, “there is nothing left here, Lord. I have exhausted my strength today and what I am facing, as one who needs to have answers, I am utterly helpless. A situation beyond my knowledge and experience. You have brought me here. Take us from here.”

To know this Man…that has been the desire of my heart and it is in the moments which I don’t want, I taste and know more of Him.

I walk into our home, where the children are supposed to be getting ready for bed and there is chaos all around me. I don’t mean just a handful of children a little rowdy before bedtime but 56 children running in every direction, 10 babies crying, darkness because the solar has gone out, children playing in the water they are supposed to be bathing in, clothes flying everywhere as they try to find pi’s. I want to just turn and walk out. It’s beyond. At that moment one of my 13-year-old girls brings me a 10 month old, who she is helping by giving her a bottle.

It hits me. I am in the middle of what I strive daily to make a home, to make the details of the home run smoothly, but ultimately to reveal the love of the Father. Reveal the love of the Father.

The scene around me is not normal. It is the repercussions of a fallen world. Children whose parents were taken from them due to sickness and disease. Parents that just left. Parents that discarded of them. No matter how they ended up there, it was due to an imperfect world, one awaiting the return of our Father. And I stand there and everything around me goes quiet as my heart aches. Aches to the point I feel it. As parents around the world are taking their children out of the bath, telling them to brush their teeth, climbing into bed, and telling them they love them as they kiss their heads and turn out the lights, I stand in the middle of 56 children who don’t know what that is like. The ten month old in my arms, I could rock her to sleep but then what do I do with the other 9 that need the same thing? Oh, my heart. Even writing this my emotions well up again.

Reveal the love of the Father. Father. Father….

He whispers to me, “I am near. Dark is light. Depths are heights, and far is near. I am near. I am their Father. In the chaos, I still hold them in their sleep. Sometimes I even reveal my fullness to them. My sovereignty. Dacia, it covers it all.” 

He is good to all, all who call on Him. He hears our cries and He saves us. A much-needed reminder in the midst of a place where suffering abounds. Here in Uganda, in America, in this broken world. A reminder to this heart that so easily gets caught up in the details and needs her heart to be awakened. He carries me. And when I believe I am doing well on my own, He loves me too much to not remind me and place me in the midst of His presence.

A reminder that He, only He, carries me. And He carries those crazy little ones running around. Carries them close. He is the one they need.