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.

Real Confessions

I hate fundraising. HATE IT! I would much rather sell my kidney if I knew that we wouldn’t have to do this part again. It’s so stinking humbling to ask people to join you financially in what you feel called to do and every year I doubt. But as I look back over the last six years, I don’t think I have seen His hand so faithfully as I have when it comes to His people joining me and blessing me to the point where I cry. Truly, I have seen the goodness of the Lord through friends and even people I don’t know join me in this crazy journey He has had me on.

So this year, I cringe thinking about it but He once again reminds me that it should be something I look forward to with great expectation to see how the  Father is going to write yet another chapter to His creation that He is writing. This year seems more significant to me for so many reasons. One, we are praying to become parents! That alone is life changing and we are so thrilled He has chosen us! She has been a part of our story since our first date and as we are allowed, we will share more of our story. Two, I have been an Auntie to 57 lives over the last 3 years. The days where I want to pack up and go home (there are a lot of them) I see their faces and I know I can’t leave yet…we are not finished. This year we will be opening up our Primary Boarding School so most of our children will be moving out of the Babies Home and into the boarding section, just like other children here in Uganda that are able to go to school. We also have been visiting every child’s home to find out if their family situations have changed over the years. We BELIEVE that children belong in families and we desire to see them there. That is my goal this year, to help these children that have become a part of me know their extended families and guardians. Oh, I could write a book here. The weight of this is more than I can bear at times and I will lay awake all night begging the Lord to give us wisdom and direction as these are lives that I love with my whole heart.

We are excited about where He is leading us this year, the ministry is HUGE! We are always humbled and blown away by people that make this happen, we do not do this on our own. I am trusting that our family will grow and we can share in the sorrow, the joy, and the redemption of His people, together.

Josh and I serve with Arise Africa “free of charge”, which requires us to depend on others to support us living here. But finances really isn’t our biggest need. Living and working in a developing country is emotionally, physically, and spiritually taxing. More than anything, we need your prayers, your communication, and your support.

If you would like to know more about partnering with us, you can contact us using the Contact page. If you’re ready to commit, or would like to give a one-time gift, the details are below. Your donations are tax-deductible.

Donations by mail may be sent to: CMC Missions P.O. Box 219228 Houston, TX 77218 *Please include a note denoting “Josh and Dacia Hamby”

Online donations may be made at http://www.cmcmissions.org/donate.

Feet

This is my Joy...

I know a lot of people who have the same struggle as myself, feet. I am just not a big fan of feet for many reasons. They are not the cleanest part of our bodies, you have to work hard to have manicured and pretty feet. I don?t mind feet as long as they are cleaned and well taken care of otherwise I really have a hard time concentrating on anything else but keeping the look of nausea from showing on my face. 

I love though how God will speak to us in our own ways?our own pettiness. Only He would reveal this to me? in a very real picture He revealed my heart. 

Here in Africa feet are the means which these people travel from home to work. Feet allow them to climb these dirty, dusty roads to fetch water and food. The water though can?t be used to…

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Girlfranssss

I just recently read a blog about “10 things missionaries won’t tell you” and I found myself saying, “yep” on each one because the man spoke truth.  One that really resonated with me was the point: We will never tell you our worst days. I never tell people my worst days here for so many reasons. Mostly because no one realizes how complicated things are here and usually has so many layers to it that just to tell you about my day there would be at least an hour conversation just trying to explain, or it’s hard to really grasp the weight of it all and how even the smallest task during a day can drain all the energy out of you. Or you would question my salvation or sanity. Or as he said in the blog, tell me to throw in the towel and come home.  Many times I just don’t want to be a Debbie Downer so I just give the “well we are just walking through a difficult season” and leave it at that because I don’t want to pour out what I see and feel on a daily basis to everyone that ask.

Thursday was one of those worst days. If someone would have handed me a ticket to leave I wouldn’t have even stopped by my house to get a bag. I will spare all the details. I came home before lunch and sat down at my computer just wanting to shut my brain down for a minute. I remembered that my husband sent me a link called “why women need their girlfriends” and I opened it and tears began to pour. It spoke about how a group of girls now in their late 40’s had been taking a beach trip together every year for over 20 years. The reason why they did it was because those girls had walked from the carefree, simple young life to the season of life where cancer began, difficulties in marriage, losing jobs, moving, where they needed those who had walked every season to still get together and laugh. As I read the words that my heart knew to be so true, I just wanted more than anything for my girls to be sitting at the table with me. Some of my girls would have been crying alongside of me, others would have been trying to fix all that went wrong by taking immediate action and some would have been making us laugh because they don’t do well with the emotional type. I wanted all of them there in that moment.

So, all I could do was email them. I let it all out. Told them about how we were struggling financially in our ministry at the moment and I was in the midst of a day where I just needed God to remind me, “Hey Dacia, you are not alone.” I wanted Him to break through and help us with some great needs we had at the babies home. I felt so much better after emailing the girls and getting a good cry in.

So, I went back out to face the world.

By the afternoon I had received 3 emails in response from my girlfriends telling me that they were going to cover the cost of one the main things I needed at the time. I laughed.

You see, Jesus knew that I needed more than just a “hey, I got this…”. Anyone could have donated for that need but Jesus was so sweet to me in that it was my closet girlfriends, once again, walking through a season with me from a thousand miles away. It was more than my heart needed that day to have a financial need met but through the ones who have been helping me face big and small mountains for over 10 years now.

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When you get slapped in the face

I am currently going through Jen Hatmaker’s bible study “Interrupted”. It’s written to the American church and she ask probing questions about how we as the church have neglected the poor, the suffering, and the “Judas” of our time. At first I thought this would not be a practical study for me to do, because well my pride…my pride telling me “Dacia, obviously your life has already been ‘interrupted’ and you are half-way across the world with the poorest of the poor and you see the neglected every day. You don’t need to do this.” Then I get slapped in the face with daily frustrations and a heart that is struggling to love the poor that I came to serve. I struggle with being asked for money day in and day out and begin putting up a very large wall. Daily saying words in my head that I know shouldn’t come out due to cultural differences and the slowness of the culture I live in. Instead of treating everyone in front of me with the same treatment of grace, mercy and love, I pick and choose based on what I think of them and if they will be thankful, not demanding, and will put to good use the resources we provide them.

So, actually, this study was for me, sitting here in Uganda and not on my couch in America.

1 Corinthians 12:27 “Now I am the body of Christ.”

“Doesn’t this concept of being broken for others ring true? It’s a spiritual dynamic manifested physically. Why is it so exhausting to uphold someone’s heavy, inconvenient burden? Why are you spent from shouldering someone’s grief or being an armor-bearer? Why is that lifting someone out of his or her rubble leaves you breathless? Because I am the body of Christ, broken and poured out, just like He was.”

Mercy has a cost: Someone must be broken for someone else to be fed.- Jen Hatmaker

When I read these questions, I felt like she had spent the week with me.

The burden I am carrying: 57 children who are wondering why they have been left behind? Why don’t they have family? Having to look at those who work for me and say their salary hasn’t come yet. I don’t know how they will feed their children until it comes. I have NO idea what it’s like to have absolutely no money or resources to survive on, yet I have to look into the faces of those who do, and it falls on me to provide. Who’s grief am I shouldering? A little baby who has no idea what hate is and is full of ignorant bliss and happiness to know one day the hurt of knowing that no one in her family wanted her. That her aunts believed she deserved to die because she killed their sister in childbirth. My heart is overcome with grief that this little girl will not know her birth mom because of a simple complication in birth that took her, but could so have easily been fixed if the healthcare was decent. Why am I breathless? Because last week I felt like I couldn’t do enough, daily I had people look me in the eye and desperately ask for help and I had nothing to give- emotionally and physically.

I honestly didn’t want to be the broken for someone else. I just wanted to put up my walls and hide. I wanted to look at everyone who asked for money and scream, “Just because I am white, doesn’t mean I am an endless supply of money”. I wanted to look at those who I know have had opportunities to rise out of their situation yet have not and say “you don’t deserve more help”. I wanted to look at that father and instead of me being slapped in the face, I wanted to slap him. I wanted to pick and choose who I wanted to bestow my brokeness upon, ones that I knew it wouldn’t be wasted on. That is the brutal ugliness of my heart.

But what about Judas? Did Jesus not know that there would be countless Judases that would take for granted His brokeness? Did Jesus pick and choose; only died for those who would appreciate and live out their lives for His glory?

So He tore me up. I could easily sit here in Uganda and think, “I have sacrificed enough…I have left my home, my friends, my culture. I have sacrificed what is familiar for the dirty and frustrating day-to-day here. Please don’t expect more from me. I depend on others for my financial support, which is humbling. I work 7 days a week. I bear the burden of leading so many without family. I don’t get to go on vacation without feeling guilty. So, I think I have done enough God. I am in such a better place than people who haven’t tasted suffering in a third world country, who haven’t put themselves in a place to even let their eyes see, who feel good about their church programs. But He is not comparing me to others, He is comparing me to Himself. And I have a LONG way to go and just like my theme, He has called me deeper. It’s time to go deeper. I have not arrived.

So as I am processing this and remember I have to be broken for someone else to be fed this week He has sent me opportunity after opportunity.

Here was my week:

Found two of our babies with temperatures with 107 and above…one was one that I am partial to the other is our newest and I haven’t created the same bond with, but both needed a mother’s love and care. Did I pour myself out for both or just the one I had a bond with and was easier to nurture?

Went out with our medical team who was doing medical clinics. After people are treated, if they aren’t Christians they have the opportunity to sit and listen to the Gospel in a one on one setting. This is not something I like doing. I am more a relationship builder and sharing over time after knowing they trust me and knowing for sure they understand the decision they are making. But He stretched me and told me to sit down and share the Gospel. There were two ladies that grabbed my heart and sharing the Gospel was easy with them and my compassion spilled out. The other was a man who immediately asked for money and my instinct was to go back to how I had previously responded…but He said, extend Grace.

After a long and exhausting day, I finally laid down and my eyes were shutting when my phone rang. One of our sweet staff was having a seizure and was needing immediate care by a doctor. Ashley (our nurse) and I rushed over to find her not in a good state. So, we rushed her to the closet thing we have as a hospital here and prayed she would be ok. The frustration of the health care here is beyond words. I have NO background in medicine but sometimes I think I could treat better than what they get. In the middle of our sweet friend suffering we found out that she had just lost her mom and her aunt, had been so sick and was having to work so much because of the season we are in. She had received a phone call that her dad was also sick and she was scared. Scared she would also lose the only parent she had left. So, we could take care of just the one that was ours and guarantee she got the best treatment, no matter the cost or we could also take care of her father, who we did not know.

You see what God was doing this week….I did. And I would have proudly told you, I think I did well in all of those situations and I kept what He was doing at the forefront of my heart and mind as I wrestled through this life that is brutal here some days.

And then there was another slap.

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Josh and I went on Saturday to speak to our Secondary School leaders at a workshop. When we walked in this young lady was sitting in the front and I was confused as to why she was there. I didn’t understand why no one had kindly asked her to leave? As we sat there she just contented to stare at us and would inch a little closer every time I looked down. Here was my heart rearing its ugly head again…I could only see her dirty feet and skin that hadn’t been washed and it was very clear that she had a mental disability. So, I hear Jesus saying to my heart…here is another opportunity Dacia to go deeper into what I am teaching you. She is the least, the lowly and definitely the outcast extend Me to her. But I couldn’t. I was paralyzed by my own pride and just wanting to have one day where I can imagine things like this don’t exists and I can turn a blind eye. But here she was, looking up at me smiling, and all I could do was just smile back. It wasn’t a few minutes later one of our students came and grabbed her kindly by the hand and took her outside. I thought she was just kindly excusing her from the front of the room until I looked back and she had given her new clothes and was leading her back into the room. She didn’t sit her on the floor, she sat her down with her on the chair next to her and the rests of our girls.

OUCH! It has been a long time since I felt a punch deep in my gut of conviction and guilt. It was like Jesus knew I was wrestling in my spirit to not turn my eye to this girl who clearly needed acceptance and love and I refused so He showed me His love for her in one our students that I am supposed to be leading. They sat her at their table during lunch and gave her the largest amount of food. Now that is what it is supposed to look like, Church. I was humbled by those I am supposed to be leading, they lead me.

I will never arrive. How dare I sit here in Uganda on the “mission field” and think I have accomplished and have this down? How dare I look at others and think I am doing it better! He has me on a journey to go even deeper. To take me further out of my comfort zone and to love even those that I don’t think I can love.

Doing nothing is a blatant sin of omission. Jesus joined these at the bottom, the outcasts, and undesirables. And He has invited everyone into a journey of downward mobility to become the least.-Shane Claiborne.

Are you on the journey to become the least?

 

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“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