Category Archives: Blog

Yellow Teacups on Sunny Nairobi Mornings

I bought myself a new teacup yesterday for my new house. It’s yellow. I also brought fabric to make curtains for my room. They are yellow too, just like the sunshine that beams through them. There isn’t much in my new place as I just moved in yesterday. Just me sitting in my empty house looking out of my window through my yellow curtains and drinking tea from my yellow teacup. This feeling, this energy, this Spirit I feel right now makes me happy. Happy, thats an emotion i’ve felt a lot of lately.

yellow teacup

I have come out of a really crazy season where happiness was something I  had to really fight for. “Getting to happy” was a daily choice and practice. Those seasons are awesome even thought they hurt because it reminds me that God is in everything, even the really hard stuff. They help me not buy into the illusion that as long as I love God everything will always go perfectly, my relationships will always succeed, all my dreams will instantly come true, and I will always just naturally feel happy. Im so grateful that I am in a relationship with a God who isn’t as shallow as that. He joins me in my struggles and in every emotion and circumstance  I journey through. He is with me when I’m rich and when I’m broke, when everything is going as I planned and when it all seems to be falling apart, when my date shows up and when he doesn’t. Those seasons remind me that He is there.

I spent the first three months of the year on a surprise adventure to New York City with Holy Spirit and lots of amazing people I met along the way, old friends and new. Holy Spirit, a part of the trinity I never really got to know as personally as Jesus and the Father, really encountered me during this time. Surprisingly, He manifested Himself/Herself as a woman,  as a nurturing mother. Haha that made me happy! For three months She held me in her arms and gently dug into the depths of my heart and mined for golden dreams that had been buried deep down inside and covered by the dirt of titles, expectations, religion, lack of understanding and lack of self love. Surprisingly, the digging wasn’t painful. It felt good to get both the dirt and the gold from the inside out. And once they were out I looked at both of them, and I looked into Holy Spirit’s eyes,  and hope rose within me, and then… something beautiful happened. I remembered the destiny God placed in my heart way before even the world was formed. I remembered what I used to dream about before life, adulthood, and trauma convinced me it was ridiculous. I grabbed hold to that golden dream and I ran with it. Thus, Art and Abolition was born.

While  I was in New York I was supernaturally connected to an amazing group of women who decided within minutes of meeting me, that they were going to give of their hearts, time, finances, and energy to make my golden dream come true. Together with these amazing heroes of mine we created a movement called Art and Abolition. It is a movement that uses the arts to bring freedom, healing, and empowerment to child survivors of sexual slavery  in East Africa, and eventually the world www.theartandabolitionmovement.org  The most beautiful thing about this group of women is that they are all so different. After working as a missionary for the past few years with ministries that were predominantly white and 100% Christian I gained this false image in my head of  what all “world changers” looked like. That picture of groups of white Christians (who are wonderful!) is always what came to mind. That image got demolished when I met these world changers. These women are passionate,  beautiful and radiant. And, almost none of them look like that. They are of different races, religions, professions and backgrounds. In the beginning I kept trying to push them away because I thought for sure “why would these women want to support me, a Christian missionary with little money and a big dream?” But this time I wasn’t the one who got to demonstrate what real love looks like. They were. They accepted me for  exactly who I am, created a circle of support around me, and launched me into my destiny. I love the beauty after the storm.

board pic

I am now back in Kenya. I have been for about a month now. I have moved to the city, Nairobi and I am working with our staff here and in the States to launch our work. Adjusting to a new city, especially a huge one like Nairobi, is always,well, an adjustment! This year we are rescuing 16 more girls from the sex trade and placing them (alongside four of my chick-a-doos from Mtwapa) into our program. For the next few months I will be continuing to work with our local partner organizations here in Nairobi to recruit our 16 new girls. In August the programming officially begins with our Relationship Building and Healing Orientation Weekend. I am so excited to have some of Kenya’s best trauma counselors and art therapists, an inner healing administrator flying in from Cameroon, and our Program Director from New York all coming together to make this weekend beautiful for our new girls. Following the orientation they will participate in  10 weeks of weekly gatherings which entail art training, counseling, and tutoring in preparation for December where they (alongside four of the chick-a-doos) will be the very first campers to ever attend the Art and Abolition Summer Camp! (December is summer for us) The camp will take place in Nairobi and  is a two week sleep-away arts camp for child survivors of sexual slavery. The purpose of the camp is to bring healing through the arts and equip survivors with tools for success in their new lives. The camp experience will entail music, dance, drama, and visual arts classes on a daily basis taught by experts in each field who have dedicated their lives to this work. The arts training is not just art for art’s sake, but using the healing modalities of art to bring the campers into deeper levels of freedom.

In addition to the arts training each girl will receive one on one trauma counseling, spiritual discipleship, and attend daily self-empowerment workshops which will address issues of self-esteem, body image, sexual health,and personal and physical boundaries. They will also receive tools for social interaction, survival, and self-preservation. The camp will culminate in a big performance where their hard work will be celebrated. The Art and Abolition camp provides the building blocks for success for these young girls. It is the first step in our long term vision for providing healing and education. In January we will begin to provide education for each girl all the way through grade 12. I couldn’t be more excited!

So as I sit here in my empty house, looking out my yellow curtains and drinking tea from my sunbeam colored tea cup i’m reminiscing on the golden dream my God dug out of me. The wonderful thing about it is, its actually not about the dream, its about my God, who was good enough to dig it out for me. Whether I succeed or not, whether I fall flat on my face or soar into success, my good good God is the kind of Lover who holds me gently and digs through the dirt of my heart for gold. And that, that, is what makes me happy. Happiness always brings  her friends Gratitude, Peace, and Surrender along with her. Im freely enjoying their company for as long as they choose to stay- immersing myself fully into this experience no matter what the outcome. I’m staying in the place of yellow.

 

*We are launching a Kickstarter campaign this Wednesday for $25,000 which will fully fund the Art and Abolition Summer Camp and would love your support. If you’d like to give you can do so here on my blog starting Wed, or on the Art and Abolition website or our Facebook page

Advertisements

What Mopping Floors Taught Me About Sexual Freedom

Happy New Year! I am so very excited for 2014 and all it has in store for us. 2014 is the year of “deeper”. May we all go deeper and deeper into our understanding of God’s heart for us, and may we go deeper into the places and projects and relationships that we cultivated in 2013 and before. May we go deep and find all the treasure buried deep deep down in the dark places.

I am in New York right now on furlough. I will be in America for about two more months. I flew in from Kenya two weeks ago after a crazy month of traveling, weddings, and spending time with my daughters in Kenya during the holidays. We had such a blast. Thank you to everyone who gave to make that possible for us. The weddings were also absolutely beautiful and I enjoyed seeing many old dear friends I hadn’t seen in a while.

I got back right in time for New Years Day and my time here so far has been nothing short of miraculous. I feel like I am smack dab in the center of His will right now and I am having such a great time. Many things I have been praying for over the past year are coming to pass in this season here in New York. I’m being really nourished artistically, socially, and spiritually. It’s so good for me. Also, this is New York, so every night there is something to do and somewhere to go where I meet amazing people and build new relationships. I am enjoying this season here very much.

One of the great things about furlough is coming to America and catching up on all the TV shows everyone has been flooding your facebook newsfeed about. One of those shows is the popular Netflix series called Orange is the New Black. It’s an amazing show. Great writing. Great acting. Amazing characters. I love it. Anyway, have you ever been watching a show or having a conversation or eavesdropping on someone else’s conversation and a phrase someone says jumps out at you and hits you right in the heart? Well, that happened to me as I was watching an episode of Orange is the New Black. There is a scene where one of the characters is teaching another how to mop the floor of the bathroom in the prison correctly and she says to her, “You gotta start from the inside or else you’ll step on the clean”. WHOP! That line jumped from the computer screen, looked me directly in the eye, and then gutted me right in the heart. It’ exactly what I’ve been talking to God about for 2014. She was explaining to her friend that when you mop a room you start from the inside of it and work your way out, that way when you finish you wont leave dirty footprints on the parts you’ve already cleaned. In all my 27 years of life where I’ve mopped floors hundreds of times I’ve never mopped floors that way. I ever knew the trick. I don’t think I’ve ever really understood the depth of truth in it in regards to my ministry either. This is integral for me in what 2014 will look like for me in Africa. Friends, we are changing our approach to what “rescue” looks like. We are going to “start from the inside so we don’t step on the clean”. If I have learned anything over the past year and half in working with rescued child prostitutes and a trafficking survivor it’s that “rescue” doesn’t work from the outside in. If you try to clean up their dirty situation from the outside in, when it looks all clean and you start walking out to put your cleaning supplies away, you will step on the clean and leave big muddy footprints that you have to go back and clean all over again… and again, and again, and again. You can’t clean up the issue of sexual slavery with external things alone. Food to eat, school to attend, a big pretty house to live in, these external things can cover up the problem and make the child feel happy in the moment, but the pain and trauma and suffering that comes from sexual abuse of any kind has to be dealt with from the inside, they are heart issues and mind issues and belief issues and identity issues that must be dealt with intentionally. And the only way to deal with them is to hold Jesus’ hand and step with Him all the way inside of the child’ heart and start cleaning from the inside out. That’s what we are doing this year. We are healing the wounds from sexual slavery and releasing sexual freedom into Kenya and Ethiopia starting from the inside of these girls’ hearts.

I was reading a book on the subway on my way into Manhattan this morning and choking back tears as I realized how many people in the world have been affected by sexual abuse of all kinds in this world. The effects are crippling. Whether you are a nine year old chained to a bed in Kenya and gang raped all night or a 13 year old girl in America whose stepdad snuck into her bedroom and put his hand down her pants. The pain that comes from being sexually violated as a child has no spectrum. There is no less or worse. That violation assaults the very core of who we are and splits it wide open and leaves it that way: exposed, bleeding, ashamed. And that core, the essence of who we believe that we are, our identity, needs to be nurtured and cared for and put back together again tenderly and with divine love. One of the lines from the book I was reading is

“Pain reveals to us the inadequacy of what we are beholding and unlocks our ache for a greater beauty to fulfill our need… the One to whom it can lead us.”

 When we experience the pain of being sexually abused as children we begin to experience an inescapable ache that nothing else can free us from, but the Beautiful One Himself. And I believe He wants to use us, my friends, as the ones who respond to the aching, the wailing, of a generation of young girls and boys all over the world who have been raped, enslaved, molested, violated and are crying out for freedom from the pain. How will we answer that cry and heal their broken hearts from the inside out?

I have an idea. What if we tried using the arts?? What if the arts could heal broken hearts??  In response to these childrens’ cry we are journeying into the land of bringing art therapy into the brothels this year.

Just Don’t Stay There

I can barely believe that I am getting on a plane tomorrow. How did this happen? Have I really been in Cameroon for a whole three months? I am so surprised and humbled and grateful for how my experience here turned out. It has been absolutely AMAZING! The beginning of this journey was hard. It was very very hard. For those of you who don’t know I had a very difficult experience before coming here and so I came here to get healed up. I came here feeling like the world’s worst missionary, the world’s worst mother, and the world’s worst person. When I woke up the first morning I felt as though depression was lying in bed next to me and we had just had a wild night together. I felt hungover from drinking too much sadness and my body was sore from giving it up to depression a few too many times last night. I opened my eyes and everything was quiet. No loud giggles coming from downstairs, no little voice yelling “Mamaaaaa!! Time for teaaaaa!!!” The silence was piercing and gave me a headache. I decided that maybe a nice cup of coffee would make me feel better but I tried to get up and make one and loneliness pinned me back down to the bed. Why is my face wet? Am I really still crying? My eyes hurt like hell. Maybe coffee’s not strong enough today. Is  8am too early for vodka?
I know what you are thinking because I was thinking the same thing. I am a Christian. I love Jesus! I am not supposed to get depressed! I am a missionary for crying out loud. I have to walk around smiling and telling everyone about how amazing God is. I’m supposed to tell them about the joy He gives and how beautiful He makes our lives when we surrender them to Him. How can I do that with swollen eyes, vodka breath, and my new friend Depression’s arm constantly wrapped around my neck? Maybe I should just go back to sleep….
For the first few days I really tried to deny what I was going through because it didn’t seem Christian-like. I prayed it away, repeated scripture to myself, worshipped through it- all the things we are taught to do in these situations. But after I finished doing those things the truth is: I was still depressed. Then one morning I was sitting with one of my friends and she asked me how I was doing and I answered all of the right religious answers. “The joy of the Lord is my strength, I am not sad I am full of the joy of the Lord, I choose joy today etc etc…” She then looked at me a bit strange and told me that I needed to allow myself to feel what I was really feeling, but just don’t stay there. She told me that I was like a soldier that had just gotten his arm blown off in a war but is standing and looking everyone in the face smiling and saying “no, no, no, I’m totally fine”, meanwhile blood is gushing everywhere and I’m missing a limb. I realized that she was right and made the dangerous decision to feel what I was feeling, but rest in Jesus, and trust that He would not allow me to stay there. A flood of feelings came and they hurt. I missed the girls a lot and I was grieving the loss of what our lives together used to be like. I felt disappointed by God and by people. I felt like all of my dreams had come crashing down and that I was a failure. I felt responsible for not being able to give the girls the kind of life I think they deserve. I felt ashamed, guilty, lonely, and sad….. but I didn’t stay there.
I am writing this blog in hopes that someone who is going through what I went through will read this and be encouraged. As the days and weeks passed God began to gently caress all the yuckynesss away- the darkness, the bad thoughts, the overwhelming emotions. His light began to overcome the darkness and I began to see things clearly again. Then when I decided to repeat scripture to myself or worship through the bad feelings it wasn’t out of aggression and force. It was like healing balm and came from a place of rest in Him. Before I knew it I was waking up with tears streaming down my face, but not because I was sad. It was because I couldn’t believe that I was so so happy again and it felt so good!
From there it only got better. As my heart and my mind began to be healed by His love and His truth He placed me in an amazing community of lovers here and I began to have such an amazing time. I have truly gained another family here in Cameroon that I love very much. A local church called Grace Chapel welcomed me and loved on me and honored me as if I had been here for years. It was so humbling. I have matured more spiritually here than I had since Harvest School. I feel so filled up and supported. I really do feel that all of heaven is backing me up, as well as people here and all over the world who pray for me, encourage me and support me in who I am and what I do. I feel so free from the pressure to be a perfect missionary or a perfect Christian or a perfect mother or a perfect anything. That is a standard that I just can’t measure up to. But what I can do is be only who God gives me grace to be. And I can’t even do that by myself. I need the body of Christ, people like you and people like the ones I’ve met here. We are one body and we cannot function independent of one another. I used to be a very independent person so this is a huge revelation for me and one I will carry with me as I enter into this new season of my life. “Christian girl rehab” aka my season of rest and healing alone is coming to an end tomorrow. However, I pray that even as I step back into working I do so from a place of rest and constantly pursue new levels of healing.
With that said, here is an update on where I will be and what I’ll be doing the next few months:
KENYA– In just two short days I will be reuniting with my daughters in Kenya! We have been apart for over three months and I could not be more excited!! THANK YOU VERY MUCH to everyone who has donated toward our Christmas this year. I am very excited for our time together, especially the holidays. I will be enjoying time with them until they head back to boarding school in early January.
SOUTH AFRICA– I will be spending about 9 days in South Africa next month because I am a bridesmaid in one of my really good friends’ weddings there J
 ETHIOPIA– I will be making a few trips to Ethiopia over the next few months (beginning tomorrow!) as I continue to work alongside and serve other missionaries and local organizations there who are working to rescue, rehabilitate, and reintegrate as many of the 150,00 women and child prostitutes in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia as God allows
AMERICA– I plan to take a short trip (will come back again for longer this summer) home in January! The tentative dates are Jan 9th-Feb 11th

Getting to Happy (and ministry update)

I just finished reading a novel last night by one of the best and most popular authors of our time. It was beautifully written, had me in tears. My spirit was doing summersaults as I gobbled down the language unashamedly like it was a giant piece of triple chocolate cake. The author played my emotions like a piano. So, my reaction when I finished surprised me. I threw the book down in frustration.

The book is called Getting to Happy. It’s a sequel to the infamous novel turned film Waiting to Exhale. This was one of my favorite movies growing up. Fav.or.ite. I have watched it at least a hundred times. So, I thought reading the sequel would be fun. I used to love that movie…
[insert 2 hour break from writing to re-watch Waiting to Exhale]

It’s just as good years later. I think I’ve got it now. I realize why I was so pissed off when I finished the book…well, am so pissed off. Disturbed actually. Maybe disturbed blanketed by pissed-off-ness. It’s not about the book or the movie. It’s about the fact that in life we don’t get to go back and change the story once it’s already written. When God makes a beautiful story through our lives we don’t get to go back and change it just because we get our feelings hurt. When the story is over, when the party around the campfire is finished, no matter what happens after that, the story was still beautiful. We still loved who we loved, even if they left us after. The moments inside the love were still beautiful. The laughter still happened. It still made us double over in joy, even if afterwards we were doubled over in pain. It still happened…and it was still beautiful. We don’t get to make edits after the final cut has been released.

That’s what is making me so pissed off about this damn book, and the reason it’s hitting so close to home for me. The author wrote a beautiful story in Waiting to Exhale (both the book and the screenplay). The moments were raw and lovely. The smiles those ladies had on their faces as they hugged and laughed and counted down to the New Year around that campfire have been imprinted in my memory since the first time I watched the movie. Now I know this is very presumptuous and I could be completely wrong, but I think something happened to her after Waiting to Exhale. Something happened that broke her heart, and it made it hard for her to look back at those moments and see them as beautiful… so she changed them. She wrote a new book where she changed the story. She went back and she erased the happy marriage and replaced it with divorce. She edited out abundant life and replaced it with death. She put out the fire because she didn’t believe in it anymore. Heartbreak stole her happy ending.

I refuse to allow it to steal mine.

The year I spent in Kenya with some nation shakers who became sisters raising our six beautiful girls was the happiest time in my life. I got to watch six hearts blossom because of His love. It was filled with surprises and laughter and cuddles and heads leaned against my shoulders. I also made friendships with the people I was working with. We parented together, made decisions together, shared secrets. But after we all “exhaled” things changed. And I’m tempted to want to go back and make edits to the story because how can such a beautiful story have ended in such heartache?
But, no. Love was still love. Laughter was still laughter. Friendship was still friendship. And we aren’t at the end yet.

In my pain I want to go back and taint that. But maybe that is what hope is for. Maybe that’s what it really means to “get to happy”. Maybe it’s not about taking a once beautiful experience, dunking it into a pool of pain, allowing all the hurt to be highlighted and the good to be blacked out, and then moving on and trying to find something else to make you feel happy again. Maybe “getting to happy” is about allowing the beautiful to be beautiful, and if pain comes after beautiful not allowing it to rob you of the beautiful… being able to tell the difference between the two. Knowing when one ended and the other began. Or when they were dancing with one another being aware of where each one was in the room at all times. Maybe “getting to happy” is being able to look back at a significant experience and remember both, but allow each to exist where it belongs. And after the beautiful, and after the pain, maybe “getting to happy” is being courageous enough to step right back into beautiful again. After all, life doesn’t stop after we exhale. It takes trust to exhale, but it takes brevity to choose to inhale again. Maybe we never really arrive at happy. Maybe it’s not about us striving to get there. Maybe, just maybe, God is good enough to bring happy to us.

Ministry Update:
Ethiopia– I spent 11 incredible days in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia last month with some crazy Jesus loving friends of mine named Nick and Jess Lowe. They were the most selfless Jesus-like hosts and friends ever! During that time God knit our hearts together and allowed us to dream for what the Kingdom coming to Addis looks like and what our roles are in it. He took me on a tour of the sex industry in Addis. There are about 150,000 prostitutes in Addis Ababa. 90,000 of them are children under the age of 14. That’s not okay. I was able to go out on the streets and meet some of the ladies and hear their stories and love on them. I was also able to make connections with people actually doing something about this. The most impactful being a lady named Aster who has a ministry called Love Holistic Center. She rescues women off of the streets and rehabilitates them by supplying in-depth counseling services and spiritual, emotional and financial support for six months. After that phase is completed she provides skill training and job placement. Her heart and what she does is absolutely beautiful. I will be returning to Ethiopia for three months to work alongside Nick and Jess and to serve Aster as her assistant director as we restructure her ministry and work together with the rest of our team to rescue as many of those 90,000 children trapped in sex slavery in that city as God allows us, as well as providing transitional housing, counseling, skill training, and job placement services for new women coming out of a lifestyle of prostitution.
I am looking to put together a very small team of people to come with me and serve as volunteers at Love Holistic Center during this time and simply be a part of a community of people who love justice and think Jesus is the answer to it all. If you want to come do life with us in Addis for three months email me at brittrich86@yahoo.com

Cameroon– I am currently in Beau, Cameroon and plan to be here until the beginning of December. I came to be with a friend of mine from Atlanta named Sherri who has a school of ministry here, but God surprised me and provided a whole family of people who have been listening ears, shoulders to cry on, and wells of laughter and support. I have been welcomed so warmly and loved so well already. It’s really a blessing! I am taking some classes at the school of ministry as well as receiving counseling and inner healing at the Transformation Center. The last few months were quite traumatic and I am using this time to heal and work through it all before continuing in ministry. I am enjoying having time to process through a lot of things in my heart with God and with my community here. It is a very sweet and intimate time for Jesus and I.

Kenya– I left Kenya about a month ago. I will be away from Kenya until mid-December. The girls are now in boarding school, but have a break in December/January. During that break we will be attending one of my best friends’ weddings and celebrating Christmas together in Nairobi. We are all very excited about it!

Goodbye to Kenya, Hello to His Heart

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 brittrich86@yahoo.com 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 😉

The Glory in Green Weave, Blue Flip Flops and Fish Heads

Glory.

I had set in my mind this afternoon that I would simply stop by my friends in the village houses for a quick visit and then come home and work on my computer in the afternoon. But, as we all know, nothing is “quick” in Africa. I walked down the narrow dirt pathway to my favorite little area in the village. Hanging laundry hit me in the face as  I walked there clumsily, tripping over rocks and speaking broken KiSwahili to the people I passed. We rescued three of our girls from this area. Their birth families have now become some of my closest friends.

About an hour later after sitting with some of my friends, kissing many snotty babies and speaking even more broken KiSwahili I found myself sitting in the home of a new friend, Mama ke Katzo. I sat there in the mud hut surrounded by the smell of local beer, men shooting heroin next to me, a gorgeous baby in my lap and I looked down at my lunch. I love how the poor always feed me even when they can’t feed themselves. Lunch was sima (a stable food in many countries, its white soft stuff you eat with your hands), a nice pile of salt, and a one small fish. Even in Mozambique this was one of my favorite meals… minus the pile of salt of course.

I started to eat. One of my small friends (she is three) was eagerly dipping her dirty hands into my plate and grabbing handfuls for herself. She was hungry and this was likely all she would eat all day. I was happy because they always serve me huge portions that I never want to finish, so I was glad to have some help. At one point she dipped those dirty hands into the fish bowl, yanked the poor fish’s head off and carried it across the tiny room to our friend Kelsey. Kelsey is a baby, not quite one years old. Kelsey happily grabbed the head and before stuffing it in her mouth she held it out and laughed with such joy! It was as if the head was a trophy or a gold medal she’d won! I couldn’t help but join in on her laughter which made Mwanajuma (the three yr old) start laughing and Kelsey’s mother was quick to follow suite. We all laughed joy filled laughs from our bellies. Light and joy filled the room.

Soon after we got up and my friend walked me to the road. I looked back at the dirt house, the heroin addicts completely toppled over by this point, the old mamas sitting outside and selling potatoes, and I thought about little Kelsey and the fish head. I smiled. I laughed. I walked away with a new pep in my step. What was so glorious about a dead fish’s head? Well, nothing really. But the simplicity of me and my friends, sitting and loving and laughing, and holding dead fishes heads-the simplicity of the gospel- well, that was absolutely glorious!

I smile as I think about the simplicity of the gospel, the simplicity of love, because our daughter, Serah, should be the poster child for it. She has definitely got it down. When out loving the poor I often just step back and watch the love and generosity of Jesus flow so purely from her little heart. Our family took a little vacation for the girls’ spring break last week. We went to visit a friend of ours who is starting a new ministry base in the bush. One afternoon Serah asked me, “Mama, can we go visit some houses”. I told her of course we could, and before we left the house she wrapped a leso ( traditional piece of clothing kind of like a wrap you wear at the beach) around her waist and slipped her light blue flip flops on her feet. We walked through the bush and found a few little mud houses we stopped at and greeted people. The last home we visited had many children. We sat and talked and played with them. As we were walking away we noticed we had a small crowd of sweet little ones with bare feet following us. We continued to walk along, the kids followed with shy smiles on their faces, Serah went on and on about how we must come back to this village and give all of our stuff away to the poor. I listened and smiled as this, our little princess in the dirt, poured out her heart for the poor. When we reached the house we were staying in we had to say goodbye to the kids. But before we did Serah took off her blue flip flops and gave them to one of the barefoot little precious ones following us. The girl smiled and said shyly “asante” which means thank you. Serah smiled and walked toward the house with a new pep in her newly barefoot step. Glory. There it was again. The gospel is simple. It looks like bare feet and blue flip flops.

Joy and I went to see our oldest daughter (the one who left Bella House) on Tuesday afternoon. For two hours. Not long enough. I guess some things are quick in Africa.

I was looking down at my phone while waiting for her to arrive at the bus stop when I heard that sweet voice say excitedly “Mom!”. I looked up to see her. My heart melted. The familiar feeling of home washed over me. She had braids. Green and black ones. It made me happy because green is her favorite color. Two hours later after hugs, kisses, and deep conversation about Jesus, life, and prostitution it was time to say goodbye. I held her as she laid her head on my right shoulder and wept. Her green braids were in my face and her cold tears fell onto my arm. I held her and I just prayed “Jesus, Jesus….”. As she walked away she looked different. I felt sad, yes. But I smiled because I felt happy at the same time. Because glory, His glory. It’s still there even when the story hasn’t quite reached its happy ending yet. And even when we are at the part of the story when our daughter who we rescued willingly went back to a horrific life, when its easy to focus on the night clubs and mini skirts and johns, I have to remember to look where the glory is. In this case, the green weave. She still has a favorite color. That hasn’t and never will be stolen from her.  Glory!

 

 

Christian Girl Rehab? I feel very Amy Winehouse about that

Can you believe I’ve been back home in Kenya for almost 3 months now? That’s so crazy to me. Time is flying!

Lots have happened since I’ve returned and lots have stayed the same. Jesus is still good. He’s still hangin out up there on the throne and down here with us at the same time. You know, the usual. My daughters are alive and well and just as crazy as ever. I’m sittin here like, “when is my next Honey Nut Cheerios shipment coming in?”. The prostitutes are prostituting. The preachers are preaching. The missionaries are…. missioning? So yeah, everything is pretty much the same here in Mtwapa. Except the fact that apparently, i’m crazy now.

I know what most of you are thinking, at least those of you who know me. “Brittanie, you were already crazy”. I know, I know. But I always thought that my craziness was kind of a secret. Like, before I thought that what I did would be big enough to cover my craziness. So I used my “identity” as an actress to cover up my crazy. “I’m not crazy, I’m an artist”, i’d say to myself. Hey, all good artists are crazy anyway right? Then I tried to use my age as a cover up for my crazy. Back then I thought, “Hey, I’m 21 years old. I’m not crazy. I just have more shots of tequila in me than brain cells”. Hey, all 21 year olds are crazy anyway right? But then both of those phases of my life past and so I tried to use my habitual hopping between two continents as an excuse. At that point it got more aggressive. “Shut up! You’d be crazy too if your life and your heart and your work were divided between two continents!!!” I shouted in defense to my own accusatory “you are crazy” thoughts. But then that phase of my life passed too. And then we reached the point of about 3 years ago when I fell in love with Jesus. “YES!!” I thought, “Jesus is DEFINITELY big enough to cover up my crazy!!!” Well friends, I’ve got some bad news. I love Jesus, but i’m still crazy. The only thing is that now, everyone knows it. (WARNING to all secretly crazy people who may potentially fall in love with Jesus in the near future: even if you love Jesus you can still be crazy)

No, but seriously. What i’m saying is, like most people in the world, I had some pretty messed up crap happen to me when I was a kid. Problems that I help girls here work through are anything but foreign to me. But the thing is, according to all the real Christians and all the real missionaries, those things have made me crazy. So crazy in fact that I need to go to rehab or what real Christians call “a season of inner healing” or “time alone with Jesus” or “a season to be poured into with out having to pour out” or any other really loving Christiany phrase that has the word “season” or “Jesus” in it. Christians are really good at loving and coming up with gorgeous sounding phrases. I really need to step my phrase game up.

Basically the thing is, my daughters are survivors of sexual abuse and they need me to help them walk through the process of healing and recovery from that trauma. The thing is, I never walked through a process of healing and recovery from my trauma, so that’s where it gets sticky. I need to do that first.

The other thing is that I kind of became a mom of 6 basically overnight. I wasn’t expecting that. So apparently that whole thing also kind of traumatized me. And, my own mother is amazing. But there are lots of things I just have never had the courage to bring up to her and work through with her and so those wounds are affecting the way I parent my own children. So, in order to be a better mother I need to work through those things with my own mother and in my own heart with my Jesus.

Speaking of my Jesus and my heart, I experienced a bit of heartbreak a few weeks ago. Our oldest girl decided to leave home and go back to her old life. It felt like having one of your limbs cut off. I couldn’t move. I couldn’t talk to anyone. It was so painful. I felt like such a failure. I felt like it was my fault. But I know all of those were just feelings. I can’t take responsibility for her actions. I did the best I could to lead her down a better path. The truth is that i’m not the savior. Jesus is. I can’t save these girls. Only He can. So I have just put her in His hands, where she belongs and i’m trusting Him to continue to pursue her and be her Perfect Mother.

All of these things I’ve been writing about are just reminders of how dependent on Him I really am. I don’t know how some people do it. This work that we do, to be honest, it’s so hard. I literally can not make it through five minutes of the day without asking for His help, without talking to him or leaning into His heart. It’s also complicated for me because I was working in Africa before I knew what a missionary was. I was just helping people because I knew it was the right thing to do. But now, you add on this “missionary” title and it just adds a whole new component to life like Christian girl rehab, and real Christians who you feel so inadequate around, and failure that involves life or death, and having to deal with all of your own junk in order to do a good job. It makes me crazy! And that’s the problem in the first place!

I feel very Amy Winehouse about it all. I dont want to go to Christian girl rehab. And i’m afraid to deal with my own crap and I’m freaked out  because my leadership has told me that they want to hire a married Kenyan couple to move into the house with us and help us take care of the girls. Big red button of insecurity! Then what will I be needed here for? Gahhhh thats ugly! And the more ugliness I see in myself the more convinced I am that they are right and I do need Christian girl rehab which really pisses me off and makes me want to lock myself in my room and eat cheerios but I can’t because I finished my last stash which causes me to lean into Jesus’ heart and bury my face in His neck and then all of a sudden everything is ok and if Christian girl rehab is really what I need then sign me up.

Like, I said I knew I was crazy the whole time anyway.

amy-winehouse-that-grape-juice

 

 

 

 

I Don’t Want to Change the World Anymore

My classroom is hot and the lessons are long. Who signed me up for this? I’ve never liked school, and every time my teacher turns her back I sneakily check my facebook on my fancy iphone a missionary here blessed me with. Why, Daddy God? Why am  I sitting in this hot classroom struggling to get the simplest Swahili sentence out? I’m so frustrated I could cry. I sound like a two year old. I’m embarrassed.  I don’t want to do this.  I can’t speak this language. It’s too hard. Do I have to? I’m supposed to be changing the world. I’m supposed to be rescuing sex slaves, feeding thousands, adopting abandoned children, being a world famous actress doing plays all over the world. Why, God? Why am I in this classroom?

“Daughter, you can get up right now and leave and I would still be proud of you. You can go and change the world, honey. You can go feed thousands. I’ll bless you. I’d be so pleased with you, still. You could even go do plays, make music. You could go into every bar, every dirty hotel in this village and find little girls to rescue. I’d be so pleased. It’s up to you my love, what do you want?”

 

“Daddy…. I want you. I want to be with you.”

 

“Brittanie, well, I am here. I am right here in this classroom.”

I got a huge shock when I arrived back from America. While I was away I made so many plans. I was going to start so many projects. I was going to reach so many people. I was going to do so many things when I got back. But after being home for about three days the Lord spoke to me. He spoke to me so simply and so sweetly. He just said, “stop”. He said, “stop and be with me”. This was so confusing because since I arrived in Kenya my most intimate times with Jesus have been as I was doing ministry. I encountered him in villages when I was feeding people or in night clubs when I was loving on prostitutes and strippers. I saw Him there. I experienced His love there. And it felt good. It felt really good. It felt so good in fact that I forgot the first lesson God ever taught me. I forgot about the simplicity of His love. I busied myself so much with trying to go out and love others that I never had anytime to just sit and let my Jesus love me. At some point I stopped thinking it was important….

 

But over the past few weeks God has reminded me. He basically told me to lay everything else, all the other projects and dreams of my heart, down before Him for a season and focus on two things. Being a daughter and being a mother. I ignored Him when He first said it. I had too many big plans. Too many amazing ideas. But, He said it again and again and again. So gently, so sweetly. Like a lover inviting me into intimacy with him. So, like I always do when He speaks to me like that, I said yes.What does “yes” look like right now? It looks like sitting in a classroom and learning to speak Swahili.

After returning from the States I realize that this whole motherhood thing is not just a cute little thing that i’m going to do for a few years. It’s not just some missionary project that I’ll do until I get over it. I have six children. I am a mother of six children. Six children here in Mtwapa believe deep down in their hearts that I am their mother. They crawl into my bed in the mornings when they wake up just to cuddle for a little bit before they start their day. They use my last name. They fight over who gets to sit next to me at dinner. They show me off to their friends. When they are hurting or in need they scream “Moooooooom!!”, and they expect for either me or Joy to come. They think i’m perfect, not because I do everything right, but because I am theirs. I didn’t fully understand how deeply they felt this until I left and came back. The director of our organization, my good friend Cassandra, called me while I was in the States and tried to explain this to me, but I didn’t see it. Well, now I do. And wow…..

It was honestly a huge shock and pretty scary. Why? Well, because I have no flipping idea how to be a mother. I have absolutely no idea. Even though i’ve had a lot of practice over the past 8 months, there is still so much that I don’t know. Thats where the whole focusing on two things comes in. In order to learn how to be a mother I first have to learn how to be a daughter, His daughter. He told me that if i just stop… If I just stop and be His, that He will teach me everything I need to know about being a mom in Mtwapa, Kenya. He will teach me to speak the language. He will teach me to ride a motorbike to get around. He will teach me how to discipline my kids. He will teach me how to cook Kenyan food, and do it well. But in order to do that He needs me to stop… just stop, and be His.

So this season looks a lot different than I thought it would. I now know that I’m not here to try to change the world and end sex slavery or shut down a brothel town through amazing projects and working really hard. I’m not even here for ministry. I am here for family. Daughters and mothers are not parts of ministry. They are members of a family. I’m not called to a children’s home or a rescue home. I’m called to mother my children by being mothered and fathered by my God. I’m called to being His daughter.

It’s funny because I look at Joy (our other mom) and I laugh because she does this with such ease. It’s like she was created for this. And then I look at myself and I am such a mess. I’m so desperate for Jesus to teach me how to do this…. But maybe that’s why He chose me… because He loves to choose the least likely, the biggest messes, and make them beautiful.

 

 

 

Confessions of a Booty Shaking Missionary

Thank God for Beyonce’! I sat down to write this blog with the intention of writing about the heart wrenching pain I experienced when I left my daughters last week in Kenya for my 2 month furlough. I was going to write about the tears and how my heart has been ripped to pieces since being away from them. I was going to detail the long  ride to the airport and the look in their eyes as they said “Goodbye Mama, promise us you’ll come back” and then I was going to go into some deep parallel about Jesus. I was then going to share with you about how my first few days here in South Africa were filled with flashbacks of horrific rape stories, paranoia, and just intense reactions from the severe trauma I’ve experienced in Kenya. It was going to be good. It was going to be deep. You might have cried… But then Beyonce’ happened… and I mean, sometimes it’s just not that deep is it? Sometimes its just not about the deep Jesus parallel, sometimes its just about Beyonce’. I mean, it’s both right?… Yes, I did just say its sometimes about Beyonce’ and not the Jesus parallel. Uh oh, I hope the real Christians don’t read this one :/

What I mean is over the past three years since Ive been a Christian whenever I come home from Africa I feel this pressure. It’s like, everyone is expecting me to be this deep Christian missionary lady. And oh God, I guess in some ways I am! But like, I’m still me. I’m actually afraid of the deep Christian missionary ladies. If they found out that im prancing about abusing their title I think they would be very sad, and pray for me for a really long time. Like today, I sat down to write this blog and I got out my ipod and realized oh no! I only have deep Christian missionary lady music! Ah! What is this?! I’m on vacation! I don’t wanna be deep. I wanna dance! So I went and got my friends ipad and turned on Beyonce. Not gunna lie, I felt a little ashamed. As if all the deep Christian missionary ladies in all the world knew that I skipped my worship time today to shake my booty to Beyonce. But as I was cooking my breakfast, Bible closed, deep Christian missionary lady music out of sight, shaking my booty and singing at the top of my lungs to Beyonce I felt happy. And I felt like my friend Jesus was happy too! So I put the spatula down for a minute and listened. And I felt God saying to me that He loves it when I let go of that false responsibility I feel to be like everyone else, like every other Christian, like every other missionary. Yes, I’ve laid down my entire life for Him because that’s what He asked for. I’m in love with Him and I want to give Him anything He asks. But the beautiful thing is when I gave Him my old life, He gave me a new one. And this new life is fun because He is fun! And yes, sometimes its deep and its about rescuing sex slaves and counseling rape victims, but sometimes its also about closing the Bible, putting the “Christian music” away and going into the kitchen and shaking my booty to Beyonce with Jesus while frying my eggs. It’s both!

That’s what this week has reminded me of. I think I got so caught up in my life and raising our girls at home in Kenya that I almost lost my uniqueness. I almost lost what made me uniquely Brittanie and I don’t think that pleases God. He didn’t save me and then make me a carbon copy of most people that live the kind of life that I do. And honestly, its hard because many times I try to be that carbon copy especially at home in Kenya because I feel like that’s what im supposed to do. Isnt that how it goes? The young single missionary goes to a foreign land somewhere, becomes a mother of many, starts wearing long dresses and reads the Bible all day? Maybe for most people, but not for me. I know Him, I know my Jesus and I know that He loves me for who I am because He created me this way. In fact, I know that He likes to dance in the kitchen to Beyonce with me because I saw Him. I see Him. I see Him in the being a mom of rescued child prostitutes and sex slaves, and I see Him in the booty shaking 🙂

This trip has been so restorative for me. My God is so good, and He brought me here to South Africa and totally spoiled me! Ive had so much fun! And its only going to get better as I leave for America today. I will be there for 6 weeks. I love how when you give your life away to Him He always rewards you even when you least expect it! I miss my girls very much of course and much of my time is spent on the phone and the computer chatting to them and emailing with them about school and swimming and what they ate for dinner. But that is my pleasure. Its what I love. I love my dinner dates being interrupted by my 13 year old yelling into my phone “Hi Mama, what are you doing? Guess what happened at school today”! I live for that. I actually enjoy having to sneak out of the movie theatre in the middle of the movie to read an email from my 9 year old because im just too excited to read it to wait for the movie to finish first. I love not buying that pair of shoes I see in the mall because I want so badly to put our girls in a better school. It actually just really brings me so much joy. And even in the missing them, in the longing for the ones the Lord has chosen to trust me with, my sweet girls who turned my whole world upside down, I am reminded of the both. I also really got joy out of the full body massage and facial that I was blessed with in Cape Town this weekend. I also got lots of joy from meeting up with old friends and laughing and sharing like old times. I enjoyed last night when I had dinner with my girlfriends and we ate dessert, drank cosmos, and talked about boys. I love that its both. I love that its not always that deep, because then when it is its an absolute joy!

“Mama, You’re Pregnant!”

Her name is Beauty. Well, not really, but we’ll call her that for now. She’s ten years old. She’s pocket-sized, cute as a button. Her waist is tiny and she dangles her skinny little legs in her blue jean skirt as she speaks to me. The moment we met she looked at me and whispered to my oldest daughter “She looks like my mom”. Her biological mother died when she was just days old. She only knows what she looks like because of pictures and because of something familiar that she saw in my eyes the moment our gazes met. I wanted her. I wanted her so bad. I said to God out loud, “Please God, give me this girl for Christmas”. My oldest daughter said to Beauty “Tell Mama what happened. You can trust her.” She looked up at me so bashfully and didn’t say anything. I reached my arms out to her and gestured for her to come sit on my lap. She came and at first she was as stiff as a board. But then she looked in my eyes again and her body melted. She leaned into my neck and she told me. She told me her story. She let me in just a little of what life as a 10 year old prostitute is like. First she lied and said it only happened twice, but the more time we spent together and the more she came to trust me the truth began to come out. Dingy hotel rooms, being smuggled into nightclubs, holding the 50KSH (less than $1) payment in your hand  after its all over. My heart absolutely broke. I looked at her tiny waist, her flat chest, her chubby cheeks and tried to imagine how anyone could ever be sexually attracted to her. She’s just a baby. She’s a kid. I couldn’t understand how a man could even lay on top of her without crushing her to pieces. Then there He was again- Hope himself. I intentionally stopped looking at the tragedy of the situation and switched my gaze back to Jesus. I told myself that I could cry about this later, but for now I had to figure out how to help this little girl, this precious little girl that started calling me Mama after just 2 meetings.

After a few meetings with Beauty my heart began to fill with intense joy. I was hoping and scheming to bring her home with me to live here at Bella House. I’d finally gotten permission from all the necessary people and I was ecstatic! I would lay in bed at night and imagine there being six  goodnight hugs instead of five, sixty goodnight kisses instead of fifty (they like 10 each). Which bed would she choose? What will her favorite color be? How many times a day would I get to tell her I loved her? What will her laugh sound like? What’s her favorite food? About two days before I was planning on bringing her home my joy was bubbling over everywhere and my kids noticed that something was different. They sat me down one day in the sitting room and asked very seriously “Mama, why are you so happy?!”. I told them that is was a surprise and I would tell them tomorrow. Then out of nowhere one of my 13 years olds blurted out in KiSwahili “Mama, u na mimba!” (Mama, you are pregnant). Then they all looked at me and it was like a light came on for all of them. “Yes! Yes! Yes, Mama! U na mimba! We are getting a new sister!! Ahhhhh!!!” Those words pierced my heart and I broke down and told them the truth, yes, in just 2 days I would be bringing a new girl home. I was in fact “pregnant”. They all rejoiced and were so excited.

Unfortunately this story doesn’t end the way I’d hoped it would. Beauty didn’t come home with me that Friday. I got the news that she wasn’t coming on Thursday after doing a final interview with her. I cant describe how that felt. Inside she was already my daughter. I loved her already. Each of my daughters is engraved into my heart forever, I felt the Lord etching Beauty’s name in right beside the other five names. I cant describe what that feels like. I guess many of you reading this will understand that because you are parents yourself. When I got the news that she wasnt coming I begged and I pleaded and I did all I could to stand up for my baby girl. But it didnt work. It felt as if someone had ripped my child right out of my arms. After the meeting I had to take her back home barely able to touch her or look into her eyes because the pain of loosing her was just too much. I managed one last glance into her eyes when she jumped out of the vehicle to go home. When I looked up I expected to see a face as sad as mine was. But instead I was met with a huge smile and an excited wave goodbye. I promised her that I would pay for her to go to school and help her grandmother start a business so they could have food everyday without her having to sell her 10 year old body. Then I did the only thing I could do: I left and kept loving. This time choosing to keep loving really hurt because it looked like letting go. It looked like walking into our huge, beautiful, safe, house where we eat three times a day and former child  prostitutes spend their time studying and worshiping Jesus, where we have three empty beds waiting to be filled, and knowing that my Beauty still lives in a small mud house, sleeps in a small bed with four other children, and chances are that she’ll still go out at night and sell her 10 year old body when the food runs out and she remembers what she can buy with that 50KSH (less than $1). I considered just trying to forget her. I considered just throwing some money at the situation and running away from the relationship because I didn’t think I could bear it because I love her so much.God has given me this crazy supernatural love for my girls that I just cant explain. But, as I was considering running away from love I felt Holy Spirit asking me that same question He’s been asking me since this all began. What does adoption look like? Family is forever. You can’t be un-adopted. As I was thinking about this I was shocked at my selfishness in wanting to run away from a child that I know God has given me as my own, weather she lives with me or not. I was shocked at how quickly I would choose abandonment over love. I’d rather abandon her to keep myself from hurting than give just a few extra hours per week to going to her home and loving her anyway. Loving her even though it hurts, loving her even when I see her hurting, loving her even when I already know the answer to the question “what did you do last night”. I don’t want to love with a wimpy love. I want a “love anyway” kind of love. The same love that saved me. The same love that loved me anyway. The same love that continues to love me anyway. I’m such a mess, but He loves me anyway. Sometimes I forget to buy food for breakfast and I burn lunch, but He loves me anyway. Sometimes I pretend to be checking my kids’ homework, but really im just staring at the paper and daydreaming about eating a brownie or drinking a momosa, but He loves me anyway. Sometimes i’m impatient and have to count to 10 quietly in my head before answering my 13 year old when she asks me for the millionth time “Mama, when you go to America are you coming back?” or else I will explode… but He loves me anyway. He even loved me before I came home into His heart. He loves me weather I live in His house or not. Little Beauty will not be coming to live with me in Bella House, but that doesn’t change the fact that she’s my daughter and just like I pour out my life for my other girls, I want to pour out hours and hours and days and years of my life loving her anyway….
For Love’s sake

To help me send Beauty to school and help her grandmother start a small business to feed the family please click the “donate” button.