Sunday, March 17, 2019

Taking the Next Step

Today was my first chance to go for a run since I have been back in Uganda. It was rejuvenating! I do some of my best thinking when I am able to exercise and pray and process. Life has been very busy since I returned from my brief time in the states. We have a lot going on with our school as we wrap up the third quarter and prepare for parent-teacher conferences. We have also been in communication with some prospective students with one family visiting our school last week. On the adoption front, there has been some progress, but every step toward adoption is also a step that includes grieving over the losses that put Evie in need of a family.

This afternoon I found myself with so many questions about the future swirling in my head. The kids were all doing well and David was home, so I decided to go for a run. As I was running and praying about all theses questions, I reached a hill. I decided I was going to try to run the whole way up, and then did what I usually do. I put my head down looking only at the next step and asked God to give me the strength to make it up the hill. In my years of running, I have found that if I look at the whole hill, I sometimes get overwhelmed and might not make it to the top. With the uneven terrain of our village, it can also be a bit precarious to not look down considering where to place my next step. I have injured my knee, my ankle and my toe at various times when I was distracted and not looking where I was going. All this to say, I just try to focus on one step at a time.

As I was running up the hill, I remembered how much this can be like life. Sometimes when I think of all the challenges to come and questions I have about the future, I can get overwhelmed. But I am going to choose to ask God to give me the strength for today and take the next step. I don’t need to worry about the whole hill. Or tomorrow. Instead I will look where God has called me to serve today. To love my family well. To take the next step in the adoption process. To teach my students. To persevere in the things God has called me to do today. 

“Therefore do not worry about tomorrow, for tomorrow will worry about itself. Each day has enough trouble of its own.”
‭‭Matthew‬ ‭6:34‬ ‭

May God give us the strength for the next step and the ability to trust Him with all our tomorrows. 

Saturday, March 9, 2019

Airplane Reflections on My Final Destination

At almost every check-in counter and several security check-points in the various airports we have visited over the past two weeks, they often ask this question, “What is your final destination?”  It always strikes me as a funny question. On this trip, we travelled to one city, spent a week near there, to another city for another four days, then had an overnight layover in another city and are now on our way back home to Uganda. I understand that these security officers and airport staff are asking where we are headed to make sure they do their jobs properly in assisting us in getting to our destination safely. But every time I hear this question, I am reminded that my final destination is not any city on this earth. My final destination is eternity with my Savior. 

“For here we have no lasting city, but we seek the city that is to come. Through him then let us continually offer up a sacrifice of praise to God, that is, the fruit of lips that acknowledge his name. Do not neglect to do good and to share what you have, for such sacrifices are pleasing to God.”
‭‭Hebrews‬ ‭13:14-16‬ ‭ESV‬‬

I may be more keenly aware of this truth since I live in a country where I don’t look like I belong due to the color of my skin. And when I travel to the US, I don’t always feel like I belong since I have lived in Uganda for over 5 years now. While that can lead to some challenges, it also reminds me where I do belong. 

During my brief trip to the US, I was reminded about how comfortable life can be there. The comforts of great water pressure in hot showers, comfortable beds in temperature regulated homes, seat warmers, smooth roads, recliners, and delicious food always available within a few minutes can lull  us into thinking that life is all about us and our comfort. It can even give us a false sense that this world is my “final destination.” We can forget that God has so much better and more in store for us. We have a final destination, a heavenly city to come. I want to live today acknowledging that Jesus Christ has given me the gift of an eternal city. I can offer sacrifices of praise in this life whether I am comfortable or not, because of the hope I have through Jesus. And as I remember that I am looking forward to the city that is to come, I can share with those in need in my city, town or village, because God has already provided me with the thing I need most, a home with Him. 

Friday, March 1, 2019

Overwhelmed by Generosity!

I have been in the US for almost a week now and every time I have gone into a restaurant or store, someone else has paid for me. The only exception is when I have taken Elijah out, without anyone else I know being around. I had plans to take him on a lunch date on my own dime, but first a friend offered us her gift certificate and then the owner of the store gave us a free meal! Another friend told me she had sold some eggs from her chickens and wanted to give us a gift to help us build our chicken coop in Uganda. David has been talking about this for years, but we haven’t yet set apart the time and money to make it happen. This one friend has given enough “egg money” to cover the expense. Another friend gave an extremely generous gift to Elijah. Our church family has taken care of all of our needs including help with computer problems and more. Our amazingly generous friends have let us drive their car, stay in their house, and eat their food. Friends have given us books and clothes and asked if there is anything else we want or need. It has been overwhelming!

As Elijah and I were talking about being recipients of such lavish generosity, he made a commitment that really struck me. He said, “Sometimes it is hard to receive all of this generosity, but these are just small examples of what we have been given every day.” I asked if he meant that because we live on the support, all of our life is a gift. He explained that what he meant was that everything is a gift from God, no matter how it comes to us. Whether it is through generous friends or a job that God has provided and given us the skills to do, all good gifts come from our Heavenly Father. Elijah also meant that God’s grace to us through Jesus, bringing us into His family and giving us eternal life, is also a daily gift. 

Our struggle with receiving so many gifts is that we feel like we need to do something to earn or deserve these things. But what could have I ever done to deserve forgiveness of all my sins, and God’s perfect love for me? Obviously, nothing. And what have I done to deserve these amazingly generous gifts? Nothing. God has chosen to show us a small tangible expression of his grace through these generous friends. And I want to receive all His good gifts with joy and a thankful heart. 

“Every good gift and every perfect gift is from above, coming down from the Father of lights, with whom there is no variation or shadow due to change.”
‭‭James‬ ‭1:17‬ ‭ESV‬‬