Wednesday, June 15, 2016

When God closes an Africa shaped door...

I've sat here staring at this blank page, trying to figure out what to say, for days. I began writing this a week ago, and left it in edit form, until I finally went back and finished it this weekend. Trying to break through the many questions I had... some being, where do I begin? How do I express the heartbreak I feel inside? If you know me, then you know I have a heart for Africa and the people groups that make up that beautiful continent. Also, you probably know how every summer I go to stay at an orphanage in Kenya to live life with 230 of the most precious children I have ever encountered. Along with loving on the kids, I get to work hand in hand with the teachers that teach these kiddos at the school on the compound. The relationships that have formed and the racial reconciliation that has so beautifully unraveled (only through Jesus) has been so humbling to be apart of. Every summer I have known where I will go-- without question-- KENYA!

Unfortunately, do to certain restrictions that prevent our leaders from going, our trip was cancelled. Reading the email I felt like I had the air kicked out of me. For the last 5 years, I have spent weeks with these babies that not only showed me a clearer picture of Jesus, but also allowed me to be filled up while I was pouring out. The Lord ALWAYS taught me something while in Africa. One year He taught me about my fears... and how staying in my fears will cripple and diminish truths I have learned in my walk with Him. One year, I learned how to trust when things were scary. I left to go when things seemed uncertain. I walked away from my parents at the airport who looked at me as if I was never coming back. And, I was going into a country that didn't share in the same religious freedoms I was born into. It shook me-- HARD. But it also allowed brokenness and caused reliance on a Father who knows more and goes before me. Most importantly, every year the Lord has softened a different part of my heart for adoption. He not only showed me what adoption means to my life... I was chosen, brought into His family; but He also showed me what the importance of adoption is (because of my vertical adoption I am being called to horizontally adopt here on Earth). He cultivated a love for the Fatherless that will filter into my own family in the future.

This same God that went before me and calmed all those fears and worries all those years ago, showed up immediately after I read the email. A peace that was so calming washed over me and I knew that even though this hurt terribly.... this was for my good! Whether it was for my protection or those kiddos... He whispered truths of His will to my heart. Familiar promises like "I am the Alpha and Omega... Beginning and the End.", "I have plans to help you and not to harm you... to give you hope and a future.', "Trust in the Lord with all your heart, and lean not on your own understanding...", "Though the mountains be shaken and the hills be removed, yet my unfailing love for you will not be shaken nor my covenant of peace be removed, says the LORD, who has compassion on you.", and lastly "I am leaving you with a gift-- peace of mind and heart. And the peace I give is a gift the world cannot give. So don't be troubled or afraid." All of these truths that were straight out of the Word came flooding into my heart and mind. I was still upset. I was still sobbing. But I was sobbing with hands opened, on the floor of my bedroom singing "You give and take away... blessed be Your name!" I was crying out "You're a GOOD GOOD Father... it's who You are! And I'm LOVED BY YOU.... it's who I am!"

The future for us is unknown. Will I ever see these children again? I'm not sure. Will I ever get to whisper "Nakupenda Sana" into their ears as I hug and squeeze them? Maybe not. But I have to remember something... these kids will be okay. Not because I visited them all those years. Not because I sponsored them. Not because I took time out of my life to go see and love on them. No... these children will be okay because they have a Father who loves them deeply, dearly, and fully. He knows the hurt they've felt. He was with them through the abuse and neglect. He sent His Son to be crucified as a replacement for their precious lives. These kids are not going to be okay because some Mzungu showed up back in 2011 and fell in love with them.... they're going to be okay because they are loved by our Beloved. The Lord didn't NEED me to accomplish anything at this orphanage or in these kiddos lives... but I sure am thankful He allowed me to be apart of it!

**Thank you for all the love and support you have given me this year (and all the years before that). If you helped me this year financially I will be in contact with you to let you know how a refund can occur or (as some have asked already) how I can use your gift to still bless these precious children! Love you all so much!*

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