Thursday, August 30, 2018

Slowing to See

I breeze by my son's classroom on the way back to my office- and am stopped in my tracks... fiery crimson petals act like a stoplight to my soul... I must pause and take it in. Appreciate the way the raindrops catch the morning light. The contrast of colors.

I've said it before, but living in Uganda is like living in technicolor. Everything is vibrant and intense- the colors, the scents, the cultural differences, the people (so very friendly, welcoming, and enthusiastic), even the weather (though pretty much perfect year round) is an intense contrast of just two seasons: rainy or dry. And I have a choice. I can allow the harsh contrasts to assault my vision- or I can stop and just appreciate it for what it is. No judgement.

This flower is audacious in it's beauty. And that's just what I love about it. I am not a fan of the color red- and I could have just kept walking... because its not my own personal concept of beautiful... but I slowed to see it for what it is. A canvas for the wild, audacious glory of God.

And I was challenged in that moment- how often do I rush by another person without slowing to see the fingerprints of God on their souls?? Do I just see the things that make them different from me? Do I simply dismiss them as "other"? Or do I see "child of God"... my sister or brother?

It just takes one moment of a day for your world to get rocked. One second to pause and really see.

I want to be a woman who truly sees. Someone who's gaze isn't always on my phone, who's agenda isn't the next item on my to do list, who's got enough margin in her day to stop and actually ask how you're doing, and listen for the answer- to really see you.

Wednesday, August 08, 2018

up to my neck...

dirt. pounding hammers. mess. the hum of a saw. a construction site is a hive of activity. the organized chaos overwhelms my senses.  especially when school starts in less than two weeks. this is the Early Years building that will house our youngest students this year!

this summer has been a slow simmer. we've had a few friends to play with. some activities planned, but no travel. lots of downtime. and the countless days of life on life- humanity scraping against humanity- have worn me down.

I am excited about the new school year- we've already fed some new teachers and we are going to be hosting one for the first month of school. I've got talks to plan, devotions to prepare, Sabbath stations to set up for retreat, dinners to cook, and very little margin left to work with- because I've spent so much time and energy meeting my kids' social needs this summer.

that sneaking feeling of overwhelm begins to rise in my chest. as I look at my to do list and compare it to the hours available in a given day... the columns don't balance. I'm up to my neck. and I take a deep breath.

O N E. This is my year of one. I can only love one person at a time. I can truly do only one thing at a time. Just the next right thing. It takes some pressure off. And then I realize He can show me which next thing- it is deeper relief still.

I haven't really been abiding well lately. I haven't strayed- I've just been depriving myself of all the power I have access to on the daily. "One thing is necessary, Mary has chosen that good part..." I've been walking in my own strength, missing that one thing. and it's catching up with me. so instead of writing a talk on Spiritual Health tonight- I'm gonna do my own diagnosis- take my own medicine and pray He uses me tomorrow.

How are you feeling at the start of a fresh school year?

Wednesday, May 02, 2018

Essential Rewards

So, you've got your Premium Starter Kit- and you're ready to for your monthly wellness box to start arriving on your doorstep (on whatever date you choose)... here's how you can spend your $50/month wisely and build your natural wellness toolbox! 

Month 2:
 (after your Premium Starter Kit)

 Month 3:

Month 4:

Month 5: 

Month 6: 

 Month 7: 

Month 8: 

Month 9: 

Month 10:

Month 11:

Month 12:

Monday, February 26, 2018

Life Impacted: Dawama James

Special Posts: Through your prayers and support, our family has had the distinct privilege of investing in the lives of amazing people here in Uganda.  This post is about our good friend Dawama James.  Thank you for standing with us so that we can stand with people like this.  We hope you enjoy!

Friends of ours who were serving as missionaries in Arua, Uganda met a young man named James.  A friendship started that, unbeknownst to us, would impact the life of my family in deep ways.  James did not have much going on in life that would cause any normal person to celebrate.  His father died when he was very young and his mother has been living in South Sudan just trying to survive.  James came to Uganda in hopes of getting an education but had nothing to his name to make that a reality.  That is where God stepped in.  Through his relationship with these friends of ours, and others, James was able to get his primary and secondary education.  James was also able to start university here in Kampala.  And that is when Jesus allowed my family to be blessed by this young man.

When my family returned to Uganda in 2014 we learned that James had to drop out of university due to a lack of finances.  He was living in the Democratic Republic of Congo just trying to survive and make a little money.  Something deep inside me told me that this was not “OK”.  After prayer and discussions with those same friends of ours, we decided that it was very important for James to get his university education.  So James came back to Kampala.  I remember that day he stepped into my house after the long arduous journey back to Uganda.  James was rather sick and it showed despite his constant smile.  We sat together and discussed a plan to get his university education back on track.  It was also at this point that I introduced James to good coffee.  He now knows there will always be a good cup of coffee waiting for him whenever he comes to my house.

Through the provision of Jesus, James restarted his university education.  Praise God that he was able   What a joy to stand with him that day as his name was called and he walked onto that platform to receive his diploma.  As I looked around and saw Fathers and Mothers and Uncles and Aunts hugging their children, I wondered why God would allow me the privilege of celebrating this accomplishment of this amazing young man.  By this time, I viewed James as my brother and he would say the same to me.  We would meet regularly together for Bible study and prayer.  What little I offered to James was immediately returned double fold through listening to him share his faith with me and utmost trust in his heavenly Father.  And so that day of his graduation, I felt incredibly proud of my brother.  He fought so hard for this moment and deserved it!  I was blessed to be there.
to finish.
As my family prepared to return to the states for our home assignment James told me that he was beginning to fall in love with a girl.  He wondered if marriage was coming.  We prayed together and I encouraged him to keep seeking the Lord if marriage was the next step.  James made sure to tell me that he was dedicated to protecting the heart of this girl and doing things the right way in this relationship.  Purity was a must! As we were home in the states I received a few updates from James.  He was back in Congo because there was no work for him in Kampala.  He was struggling to provide for himself but kept trusting Jesus.  His relationship with Anna had grown and marriage was on the horizon.  But how? No job. No money. How could this even be possible?  God. That’s how!

Our family returned to Uganda in July 2017 and James was still in Congo.  He made a few visits to Kampala and we discussed the possibility of a wedding and prayed together for Gods provision.  It is very difficult for me to explain all that was missing to make this event happen.  James still had no job.  Culturally, James should take a group of men with him to visit Anna’s father and seek his blessing.  James should also be prepared to pay a dowry for Anna.  How could these important cultural steps take place?  There was no money.  Anna’s father was deep in Congo where it was almost impossible to travel there.  But James loved Anna and had to find a way.  So, James went to Anna’s father…alone…with nothing in his hands.  This is cultural suicide right here.  There is no possible way that Anna’s Father would agree to anything.  But God!  God showed up and James spoke on his own behalf and walked away with the blessing he longed for.  Now there needed to be a wedding! 

Again, there are many details that I can’t share, but James was adamant of getting God’s blessing over his marriage.  He fought hard for that blessing.  Through friends of Anna’s here in Uganda and a few of us here in Uganda, we were able to put together a beautiful wedding ceremony in Luwero, Uganda.  As I stood there next to James and listened to him speak his vows to his wife, the tears welled up in my eyes.  This young man has taught me how to fight.  Not how to fight for what I want, but how to fight for God’s blessing.  When everything seems to be against you and honoring God becomes difficult, many of us give up.  We look for the easy way.  Not James.  He wanted to honor God so bad that he would not stop fighting in order to do that.  So I stood there yet again so proud of my brother.  And then as culture demands, the new bride and groom had to honor both sets of parents with a small gift.  And so Kelly and I sat in the place of his mother and father.  Who are we to do that!?  I was sitting in a place where I did not belong but was asked to occupy.  The honor was deep. 
James and Anna have a long road ahead of them.  There are no jobs lined up.  There is a not a honeymoon for them to go and enjoy.  But they have something they desperately wanted, God’s blessing.  They have set an example for us all to follow.  Fight for the blessing!  And through that battle, they have blessed me and many others.  I am so proud of my brother.  I worry every time he goes to Congo if I will ever see him again.  It’s a reality.  But I know I can trust James in the hands of Jesus.  I am eternally grateful for this opportunity to enter the life of James and to have gained so much from him. 
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