You know, it seems that every time I think I have it all figured out; He reminds me that I don’t. Every time that I think I have landed, He buckles me up for take-off again. Home is in His heart. Home is in His heart…
I have been here in Kenya for a year now. Just a matter of days ago I was resuming my normal routine- living at Bella House and caring for the girls every day. I was happy with that. That was enough for me. But things have changed. The girls have transitioned, and so have I. Completely of their own will, all but one of our girls have been reintegrated into their home villages. My day to day interactions with them now look drastically different. As a mother it is difficult for me to be away from them, but as a daughter, His daughter, I know that it is His job to take care of them anyway. I am waving my white flag. They are His children. He let us borrow them, but they were never ours, they were always His and its Him who is their rescuer. He is their savior. He is their Father and their Mother and their help in time of trouble. It’s Him. It’s always been Him and it always will be Him. I am so glad that I was able to be used by Him in this season when love looked like the everyday things like homework help and buying school supplies. But, I am also excited for what love may look like in this present season. So far it has looked like giggle-filled phone calls, dinner dates, and the occasional sleepover which always ends in taking them back to their homes- and as I walk away I close my eyes and place them back in His hands in my Spirit and remember that they are His… He is good, and they are His. The doors to Bella House are always open to them if they ever decide they want to come back and we have an amazing team all set up and ready to love and receive new girls when the time comes and of course our present girls should they decide to return someday (which we hope they do). Either way, we know that He is going to continue to lavish His great love on them and be everything that have ever needed.
As I said, I am also in transition. I remember when God told me to leave South Africa. I actually remember the exact moment. I was in Baxter church standing next to Joshua, and God told us both at the same time. I was so sad, but that’s because I didn’t know then what I know now. If I knew back then that God was only asking me to leave to prepare me for something even higher, even greater, even more beautiful like what God has done in my life over the past 2 years then I would have leaped with joy. This time I know. I know to leap for joy because I am going to even greater glory. South Africa will always be a home for me. It’s where I fell in love with Jesus and there are so many people that I love there. It is so special to me which is why I always go back. Kenya is home on a whole other level. I fell in love with Jesus in South Africa, but in Kenya I learned how to be His wife. My amazing daughters who I will always love and come back to are here in Kenya. I laid it all down for this village. I made life long relationships, I learned the language, I immersed myself in the culture. I thought Kenya was it. It was enough for me. But Jesus is saying there is more. I will always come back here. This is home. But really, my home is in His heart. I am learning that.
I went to Pemba, Mozambique a few weeks ago and got these radical words from God through amazing people I look up to so much that I thought were for like years from now. Words like
“One nation is good, but many nations are better.”
“It’s not just Mtwapa. It’s all over the world. God has given you Africa. Do you want it? It’s not just one nation, it’s many. It’s not just a few girls, it’s thousands. God wants to use you to rescue thousands of girls and place them in families. Don’t resist.”
… and many more. I thought He would do this after the girls grew up and were on their own, but maybe I was wrong. Maybe He knew the girls would transition sooner than we had planned and He was preparing me so that He could turn what looks to me like a bad situation into something beautiful. He has the tendency to do that. I cannot say that it was Him who caused them to shift so early, but I can say that I have accepted their decision and so I now have to continue to pursue Gods heart whatever that looks like and wherever that leads me. Should they decide to come back they will be so loved and cared for by the team that is in place, and our amazing director is here to facilitate that if it were to happen. So as I said, I am waving my white flag and chasing and after His heart.
That being said, in this season His heart is exactly what I am pursuing. Over the past year I have completely emptied myself out for the girls and for Mtwapa. I have loved with all of me, and especially this last month has completely depleted me. Although I trust Dad with the girls, I am still human so I am grieving. I am grieving and I am processing all that has happened. I need some “me” time to do that. I don’t really have anything left to give right now. I need to sit at my Father’s feet and let Him lavish His love on me for a while and fill me back up. I need to talk to Him about all of this and get His perspective. I need to get back to who I am and what I like without the girls. It feels weird writing that, but it’s the truth. The way I process and meet with God is different than many of my friends, so I was getting frustrated when listening to their suggestions and feeling like I was being put in a box. And then I remembered. I remembered how Jesus and I fell in love in the first place, before all the Christian-ese, before all the conferences, before we started calling it “ministry”, even before church. I fell in love with Jesus because of the simplicity. I fell in love with Him through flowers, hikes up mountains, India Arie cds, good wine and desserts, friendship, laughter, adventures in unknown places. It was His simple love without limitations and the way He came down and met me where I was instead of me trying to come up to Him that stole my heart forever. I need to get back to that. There was a time not so long ago when meeting Jesus looked as simple and non-conventional as skipping work with my roomates and hoping in the car and driving through the mountains and laughing and talking about boys or girls. There was a time when it looked like driving across South Africa in an old school Mercedes just for the hell of it. It used to look like staying in my pajamas all day and watching movies with someone I loved. It used to be that simple. I liked the simple… I like the simple. So before I can even think about “ministering” to anyone else again I’m going to let my Jesus heal my heart through the simple again. I’m going to spend the next few months indulging in the simplicity of His love for ME. What does that look like? Well, it looks like going to some beautiful places on this continent and doing life with some beautiful people. It looks like getting back to writing and acting and singing and dancing. It looks like stopping and remembering His love. It looks like novels, and plays, and dinners at nice restaurants, and weddings, and being mentored, and music, and worship, and movies, and sleep, and tears, and laughter. My itinerary looks like this:
Kenya until Sunday
Ethiopia Aug 19th-29th
Cameroon Aug 29th– Dec 9th
South Africa Dec 9th-18th
Then back to Kenya. I will be a bridesmaid in one of my best friends’ weddings here and the girls are supposed to attend the wedding with me. It will be a sweet reunion for us. Soon after that I will take furlough to the States. I am working on turning what I have experienced here into a musical with some friends. I hope to finish the script while I’m still here in Africa and start rehearsing it and getting it on its feet while I am in America. Please let me know if you want to partner or be involved in this project!
After some time in the States I hope to be completely refilled and ready to go rescue some more girls with Him wherever He leads and place them into families, continue to love my daughters and be in their lives in whatever capacity He allows me to, and to go on whatever other adventures with Him He invites me into!
Your support in this journey is so appreciated financially and in intercession. I have gathered a team of people who I have asked to be praying for me in this time. If you are not on that team, but would like to be please email me at firstname.lastname@example.org and I will add you to the email list. If you don’t pray and you don’t have money (which is a huge majority of my friends who read this) then feel free to eat a bowl of Honey Nut Cheerios in my honor or pour a little bit out for me the next time you are drinking a 40 😉