“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…
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.
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…
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…
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…
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.
I’ve tried to write this post several times over the last week, and every time my words dry up and my heart pounds. I fear that putting our experience in words will take away the sacredness of what has happened, but at the same time I want to remember, I need to remember this next time I question where God is leading us.
It’s funny to think that at one time we weren’t sure if we should do this or not. It seemed questionable to put our lives on hold for six weeks and take our children away from everything they know. It seemed like such a great risk, but now I can’t remember what the risk was. Why are we so easily afraid?
I didn’t think I could love Ethiopia more Keep Reading…
One of my greatest fears when planning for this trip was that one of my kids would get sick. Since my dad is a pediatrician in our small town, we always have expert medical care right at our fingertips. My brothers and I have abused this privilege for most of our lives, especially since we have had our own children. I won’t even tell you about all of the weird questions we’ve asked my dad, or the pictures of rashes or injuries we’ve texted him. We call him with every medical question imaginable, from the mundane to the serious. In times of emergency, we depend upon his advice. And, if we’re seeking medical care somewhere else, we’re not too proud to name-drop if we think it may make a difference. My dad has always been very patient with us in all of this.
I was nervous about leaving behind his medical expertise and assistance and going to a place where it might be difficult to find the kind of care that we needed. Well, God has been so gracious to me in addressing my fear in the gentlest way possible. Let me tell you the story: Keep Reading…
If we could step away from the translators, and hurdle the chasms of socio-economic status, education, and culture that separate us. If we could sit in a quiet moment, as two women – two mothers – and open our hearts to each other, this is what I would say:
I’m sorry. I love you. Thank you.
I’m sorry because you have suffered unimaginable pain and hardship. And sometimes I feel almost responsible for it. Not that I caused your pain, but that I have benefited from it. I hate that. I hate the brokenness that destroys some and benefits others. It isn’t right.
If I could Keep Reading…
So, I think it’s time for some details. No heart-warming stories. Just some thoughts on what’s keeping us going, and what’s wearing us down.
I’ll do it backwards, just so we can end on good news.
- Our kids have no inhibitions, even in Ethiopia.
- We are living in a hotel. Keep Reading…