Let’s try this again . . .

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Nearly a year ago, we announced our plans to move to Ethiopia and work with Lifesong for Orphans, but pretty soon after that announcement our missionary journey got rather bumpy, and, at one point, completely dissolved.  It’s been a long and very challenging year, to say the least.

We’ve been praying a lot that God would direct our steps.  We don’t want to do anything that is only our own agenda and not His.  When encountering obstacles, it’s hard to know when they are challenges to be overcome and when they are indications that you are on the wrong path.  Sometimes they look strikingly similar.  We pray for God’s protection and leadership, but we also know that following His Will is no guarantee of a smooth path; in fact it promises to be challenging.

So we spent a year wrestling and waiting.  Sometimes pushing, sometimes letting go.   Keep Reading…

Thoughts on unity . . .

About four years ago, Casey and I embarked on the incredible adventure of orphan advocacy.  We joined a team of believers from across the US to raise funds and advocate for the Lifesong schools in Ethiopia.  Being a part of this group has been one of the greatest blessings of my life.  I LOVE these people.  But, yeah, it’s a little weird.  Like I said, we live all over the country . . . Arkansas, California, Indiana, Oregon, Illinois, Missouri . . . and we usually only see each other once or twice a year.  But I would fly anywhere in the world to meet up with these people (and I just about have), and I would pour my heart out to them on any issue (and I probably have).  These folks are MY people because we have the same heart.

I didn’t even think about it until we had been working with this group for a year or two, but we’re a pretty diverse group of Christians.  We span a couple generations, our home churches look very different from one another, Keep Reading…

Motherhood

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I wake up with his face coming into focus.  Big brown eyes blinking into mine.  “Mommy-a?” he whispers loudly.

I’m not a morning person.  I fumble around, bang on the nightstand for my glasses, and squint at the clock:  6:15 AM.   Keep Reading…

Decoding

I didn’t watch the Grammys last night.  It’s not really my thing.  I don’t watch the Super Bowl either; however, I will watch the State of the Union on Tuesday.  I know:  nerd alert.

But some of my friends were talking about one of the performances Keep Reading…

Favored One

“Greetings, O favored one . . .”

When I was young, I used to wonder a lot about Mary.  What about her made God favor her?  Why did he choose her?  I assumed she was probably meek and mild-mannered, obedient, ridiculously kind, and self-sacrificing – somewhat akin to Melanie from Gone with the Wind – all the things that I’m not.  I always wanted to be God’s “favored one.”

But I was thinking today, as I scanned through Luke 1 that Gabriel’s greeting to Mary doesn’t actually portend the type of blessings one would expect for a “favored one.” Keep Reading…

Pressing Pause

When I published the last blog post nearly four months ago, Casey and I really believed that things were tied up and we were ready to move forward with our plans to move to Africa.  Pretty quickly after that, we became aware of some hiccups in the process, and so we’ve spent the last four months sifting through a lot of those issues.  All of this came to head over the last couple weeks, and we have both come to realize that we need to take some time to think and pray and wait for God to move.

I’m not a wait-er; I’m a mover.  I get stuff done, I move on to the next plan, I check items off my list.  I climb over obstacles, disprove the doubts, and fight through the barriers.  But, honestly, for the first time in my life I feel comfortable just waiting.  We’ve prayed and prayed for direction and understanding, and I think God has really given us peace about our decision to step back for a moment.

We don’t know what the future holds.  We still believe that God is calling us to serve in Ethiopia, but it may look a lot differently than we initially envisioned, or it might look only slightly differently than we originally envisioned.  We could end up moving to Ethiopia sometime in the next year, or it could be a 2-3 years from now.

But the number one priority for us is to follow God’s leading, and right now He’s saying, “Wait.”

The other day I ran across Exodus 14:14, “The Lord will fight for you; you need only to be still.”  I think that’s God’s word for us right now:  be still . . . and maybe blog a bit more.

We’re Moving

Casey and I are really excited and terrified and thrilled and nervous to announce our plans to move to ETHIOPIA.  If you know us at all, then this probably isn’t a surprise to you.  God has been leading us down this path for the last several years, and, though there have been many times when He has pulled us kicking and screaming out of our comfort zone, we are trying to be faithful to the things He calls us to. Keep Reading…

The time I left a coffee ceremony crying . . .

This is for me to remember, when I’m old and gray, when all the hard parts of parenting have faded out of memory, and I’m tempted to belittle the struggles of young mommies around me with platitudes about time passing quickly.  This is for me to remember when I’m too critical of myself, when I think maybe I could have, should have, would have been a better mommy if . . .   This is to remind myself that sometimes it’s just hard.  And there’s no parenting magic that will make it easy.  And sometimes you just can’t hold it together anymore.

. . .

On our last week in Ziway, the kitchen manager at the Primary School, Hiwot, invited me to come to her house for a coffee ceremony.  Hiwot doesn’t speak much English, so she asked me through our friend Hawi.  I quickly agreed.  What an honor!  And asked Hawi if she would accompany Kally and me so that we would have a translator.  Looking back, I’m not sure why I thought this, but something about the way Hawi told me made me think that Hiwot was only inviting me and Kally, not the kids.

So on the appointed Saturday, Keep Reading…

Broken-hearted

Kally and I walked through the gate and behind the kitchen, into the employees’ quarters of our hotel.  Even though I had stayed in this same hotel on four separate occasions, I had never been back in this part.  I quickly took in as much as I could:  the rooms where the waitresses slept during their shift, the corner where the housekeepers washed our laundry, the doorway into the back alley.

Banchi was waiting for us.  She had changed from her waitress uniform and looked smart and stylish in her street clothes.  She gave us a weak smile and greeted us.  “Are you ready?” she asked.  We nodded.  How could we really be ready for this?  Honestly, I knew that six weeks in Ethiopia would take me to places I’d never been, but I hadn’t considered that I could be making this visit. Keep Reading…

Jet Lag

It’s 4:45 on Sunday morning, and Josiah and I are up.  For some reason, the jet lag seems to have hit the two of us the hardest.  And so we’ve begun a ritual of creeping out of bed in the wee hours and trying desperately to be quiet.  It’s hard when you’re four; it’s harder when you’re the mommy of a four-year-old.

We’ve been “home” for four days now.  I use “home” with quotation marks because my soul feels a little confused about where home is right now.  I think a part of me is clinging to the jet lag because it’s the last bit of Ethiopia that I have.  I’m thinking of my Ethiopia friends this morning.  They probably just finished their church services.  Maybe they’re walking home now, or greeting friends.  Maybe they’re meeting at someone’s home for coffee.  They’ve gathered for worship, and now they’re released to do kingdom work.  We’ll be doing the same in a few hours.  I miss them.
Keep Reading…