hurts sometimes.

Why is it so hard for me to trust? Why do I feel like I have to have every. single. thing. figured out?

"Many are the plans in a man's heart, but it is the Lord's purpose that prevails."
Proverbs 19:21

This seems to be the theme of my life these days. And the crazy thing is that I LOVE that it's His purpose that prevails. I LOVE that I don't have to figure it all out.

Or do I? If I say I trust Him, that I LOVE His plans...why is it hard to surrender and rest in it?

I've been going to yoga for a few months now. When we start a challenging position, it hurts. Then I breathe and tell myself to relax. It's amazing how my muscles respond and it no longer HURTS. It is still what they call *uncomfortable* but not as painful.

The stretching of my faith is the same. At first it HURTS. I fight it and I can't relax. Then I breathe and surrender. I can find rest in the stretching. I may still be uncomfortable, but not in pain.

Lord, help me to trust. To relax. To breathe. Thank you for holding it all together.


A Month Later...{Uganda Memories}

I've been home for about a month now. Some of my take-aways from Uganda...

Jesus loves me (this I know)...He loves surprising me. He loves showing off His creation.

We spent a day at the headwaters of the Nile River.

I was in awe the entire day. The fact that I (Andrea, mother of 5, homemaker, wife-who-tends-to-stand-in-the-background...THAT I) was standing on the banks of the River Nile, the river Moses floated on...and the fact that I didn't even KNOW I was going until a month before...well, it all just blows my mind.

He loves His people...

Even when we're struggling. Even when things like poverty and war and heartache happen. He loves us and He is with us. And there is JOY and PEACE to be found even in these strong, courageous people (children!) who have experienced these things first hand.

I want to be a good mom.

Farida told me that she's never known the love of a mother. And she hasn't. I feel there are many children who know their mother and still don't know the LOVE of a mother. I want to be present and loving and giving. I don't want to only provide for the needs of my children. I want to live each day, as their mother, to the full. I want them to grow and KNOW that they are loved and wanted and cherished.

I want to be a good steward of what I have. There are many days when I begrudgingly do my housework. I loathe scrubbing toilets and mopping. The women that I met in Uganda work hard (and mop with a rag!). They don't have many belongings, but they take pride in what little they do have. Instead of grumbling as I work, may I be thankful for my blessings...and be thankful for a toilet to sit on!

Life with Jesus is exciting! And adventurous! If I've learned anything, it's that anything can happen at any time. I can have my plans, but God is the One who directs my steps. May I be pliable and flexible enough to allow for His plan over mine. He really does know me best and He knows what's best for me. There is freedom and peace in surrendering to His plan.

I have fallen in love with Uganda (just thought I'd say it...as if the bazillion posts about it didn't let you know) and the wonderful people I met while there. I pray that I can go back someday. I would love to go with Brad and with my kids. But, as I'm learning...only God knows if and when and how...


Desire {Uganda Memories}

aka "Desiah"

The first time I saw this adorable little boy, he was furiously banging a broken stapler with a rock, trying to make it stick together as a make-shift truck. He reminded me so much of my little Micah...I was instantly drawn to him.

When he looked up at me, I bent down and opened my arms to him. He smiled big and ran to me. He motioned that he wanted to see a tree. I took him over and he began to giggle nervously. Before I knew it, he was slapping me...half laughing. I started laughing too and then decided to let him down when it started to hurt! It was such a strange interaction...but he definitely left an impression on me!

I saw him the next day standing next to a car. I smiled at him and he smiled back. I started chasing him around the car...

We were pretty attached after that.

I tried to see him every day. In a way, it was soothing for me to hold him and play with him. I was missing my kids and he was one of the only young-enough-to-be-held kids at the orphanage.

He followed me around as I did work around the orphanage, painting mostly. I gave him a ball and a silly band. One day, I brought a couple of empty water bottles out to the school yard so he and his friend could play with the sand.

I would go home very dirty and dusty most nights, from having held him on my lap. He liked to play with my braids and he would cry when I left.

His situation is unique...his "house mom" is also his birth mom. This fact helped me resist the temptation to stick him in my suitcase. I sure thought about it though! (kidding!...kinda) He's just so cute!

My last night there, I held him in my lap and shared popcorn with him. I left him at his house with half a bag, so he was all smiles. I smiled back, even though my heart was aching.

Since I've been home, I've seen pictures from some of the other teams (our team partnered with a team of doctors) and many include him. He is such a cute, fun, energetic boy. I know I'm not the only one who thought he was pretty great!


Marvin {Uganda Memories}

I met Marvin one day on the school yard while I was taking pictures. (The kids LOVE having their pictures taken. It was one of the ways I met many of them. They don't have any mirrors, so they love to see themselves on the camera!) He didn't say anything, he just quietly slipped his hand into mine. He went with me wherever I went that day.

When I asked him his name he was so soft spoken that I couldn't understand him, so I had one of the other children ask him. I found that none of the kids I had connected with knew him. He is so quiet and shy and he tends to observe the other kids, rather than engage.

After a while, he asked if I would come to his house. (The kids live in concrete homes. Each home has 3 bedrooms and a living area. 1 bedroom is for the "house mom" and the other 2 for kids, 6 kids in each room. Some of the houses have furniture and use the living area as a dining room or living room. The kids especially like to show off their beds, a bunk bed 3 beds high with a mosquito net over it.)

When we reached his house, his house mom was sitting on the porch, weaving a mat and listening to her radio. I introduced myself and quickly realized that she didn't speak any English. I tried my best to explain that Marvin had invited me over. She got up quickly and motioned for me to come inside. I'm not sure if there wasn't any electricity, or if she just didn't have her light on, but it was very dark inside. Her only piece of furniture in the living area was a school bench. She pulled it out from the wall and motioned for me to sit. Then she knelt at the other side. I was so overwhelmed by her hospitality and desire to make me comfortable. We tried to talk for a minute or two and ended up laughing about the fact that we couldn't communicate.

Marvin came inside and showed me his room. By then, some of his older "brothers" had come home. They were able to interpret for me. It was getting dark and time for me to go home. I asked the older boy if he could ask Marvin if it was okay if I left. Marvin said no. We all laughed about that. I sat on the porch for a few minutes and talked with his mom, through the interpretation of the older boy. Then I went home.

My relationship with Marvin was sweet and simple. He would find me and hold my hand as I visited with some of the other kids. One day I brought him some bubbles. He was so happy and I loved watching him play.

Another day I took him to my house, away from the other children, and gave him a ball. We bounced it back and forth on the porch of the house for a long time.
I will always remember this sweet boy with the quiet disposition. The hospitality I experienced at his house is something I will cherish forever.