It's just after midnight on June 25th. This was suppose to be the day that I was headed back to the continent that has caused such growth and pull towards the Lord over the last five years. But instead of last minute packing, double checking for passport and info documents, and the exciting/anxious feelings to creep up... I am sitting in bed typing to try and have an outlet for the thoughts zooming through my head.
Since I wrote my last post I have had such sweet words of encouragement and prayers sent my way. Most people know how much I-- and my team-- love the people of Kenya and can somewhat understand what I must be feeling. However, I have got a few "Okay-- so now that this trip is over, where are you going to go now?" or "So-- why don't you use that money and just go to another part of the world this summer?" I know that people mean well-- but A) this wasn't just a trip that can be replaced by other orphans or people in need. These were relationships that have been cultivated and established over the past 5 years. Could I travel to help other orphans in another part of the world? Sure. Would it be beneficial? Yeah-- of course. The Lord can do great things with those who are willing. But going just because a time slot opened up, and to cover the pain of this trip being canceled, would just be like putting a band-aid over a deep cut. It may prevent some of the hurt-- but it still needs to be tended to. I KNOW the Lord is good and even though this doesn't make sense... I know He is God and in control... but I still have to work through the loss and disappointment of it all. Also, B) planning an international mission trip takes a little longer than 3 weeks. haha
So, what now? This has been a whirlwind... on one hand, I feel totally at ease. I have had so many different crazy things happen before or on trips that the Lord brought me through faithfully. So I truly believe, if He said "No." for the trip... there was a reason. He has comforted and gone before me in this and I am so grateful for that. However, on the other hand, I am not sure I have fully comprehended/dealt with the fact I am not going. I think I just kinda "mourned" a bit and got busy with life to avoid the hurt and pain of working through that. One of these days-- maybe tomorrow, maybe weeks from now-- it's going to hit. I just am speaking truth over my heart saying "The Lord isn't bringing this up to be mean or spiteful... but, rather, for sanctification and growth. Everything is not going to go our way. Our timelines are not matched up with the Lord's timeline/will for our lives (Can I get an Amen?)... but that does not mean He doesn't run to tend to the brokenhearted." He is the One who intricately wove the deep yearning towards Africa and specifically towards the children at Fiwagoh in my heart. Does this mean it's a forever thing? Who knows-- the end of this season of my life may be ending-- I don't know. All I can do is stand with hands unclenched, arms high, and heart abandoned and let Him write my story.
You may be saying... "haha Okay Steph-- but you didn't answer our question. Now what?" I will very humbly and boldly say "I have no idea. I don't know if the Lord will call me back to Fiwagoh... or Kenya... or Africa... or even over seas anymore. But I do know that I don't have to worry about it because I am loved and led (and so are those sweet babies I miss so much) by a really good Father."
**This morning I woke up to my Timehop telling me that five years ago in 2011, I was headed on my first trip to Africa. It was a sweet reminder of the promises, and gifts, the Lord has given me as His daughter. He has brought me so far. Molded me so carefully and intentionally. Just because I was willing and said, "Send Me!"**