Monday, October 24, 2011

When my heart is breaking...

We're coming to the end of rainy season here in Uganda (for now). It's a season I've come to love. It brings with it so much...days stuck inside, red dirt turned to mud all over everything, stir crazy kids and aunties from too much time inside, a slow down on an already slow pace of life, and many candlelit nights due to power being out. It brings creativity to keep children entertained and snuggles to calm fearful littles.

It also brings rest from work--because when it rains here you just cannot do much of anything--and it brings a deep cleansing...the rain washes the streets clean as it trickles down in streams away from town and it washes away the stench of rotting trash and fish drying in the sun, amongst other scents. It cleans the layers of dirt off the bodas and the cars and everything.

The rain also brings with it this beautiful refreshing newness. A newness that only comes after the rain. After the covering in mud and the fearful stormy times, after the darkness of no power and the craziness of being stuck inside for days on end. After the long days and nights of rain and more rain, the clouds clear and this newness of life is seen. The fields are greener. The streets are a bit cleaner. The remains of mud linger, reminding you of the rain that has just passed. But the air is clearer and the weather has cooled some. It's a bit quieter as everyone comes out of the places they've found refuge to find the sun shining again, beckoning them to life. After the storms have passed, life begins again. Life that has taken shelter in the storms ventures slowly back into the sunshine.

As the rainy season pounded here, I walked through one of the hardest, stormiest seasons I have ever been in. As the storms raged outside, the storms pounded hard in my life here. At Ekisa, we lost Shamim who I wrote about most recently.

Then a few weeks later little Ajuma, who I have been fighting on behalf of along with my friends Kelsey and Megan, went home to be with Jesus. Little man who had dialysis for months in the hospital in Kampala. Whose blood got flown to South Africa. Who rarely smiled when I was around but loved smiling with his mom and dad. This little boy who I truly believed would be getting a transplant once God made clear the path for that. He got to spend a few months healthy, at home and loving his family, before our Jesus called him home. I don't really understand it. This broke my heart and continues to weigh heavy. But in some ways it allows me to breathe a little easier and to rejoice...Ajuma is no longer in pain and he is home, Home where I long to be and I cannot believe he beat me there. I believe he is beaming around the throne room. My God, He gives and takes away. Blessed be His name.

One week after Ajuma went home, another little girl from Ekisa was called home. Selina had been sick for a few months, but we kept praying for healing. Jesus decided on the ultimate healing and brought her home. We miss our Lena Lou dearly. Her smiles, her dancing, and her silly car riding. Emily wrote beautifully about her here. We had a beautiful memorial service for her and Shamim at Ekisa a few weeks ago. He gives and takes away. Blessed be His name.

The day Selina went home found Namusisi at the hospital preparing for her baby to come. We had a few scares the week leading up to this, but this was the real deal. And so as Emily and Emily went to mourn with our Ekisa family, Jessica and I were ssked to hold down the fort with Nam. As we are mourning together at the hospital and waiting for labor to begin in earnest, we were informed Nam needed and emergency C section. If she didn't have it, both her baby and she herself were in danger. And so through tears and pain, we prepared and prayed over Nam and she headed to the operating room. A little over an hour later, precious baby Grace came out of the OR, and shortly after his dear Mama came too! Her baby is incredibly healthy and Nam is on the road to recovery from her C section. {Please pray as she is still fighting some infection from the operation}.

Only a few hours after Selina went home, Grace was born to life here. Friday September 30th was a day I got a front seat to see heaven touch earth...God bringing one life home and gracing us here with a new beautiful life. The newness He brings after the storms. He gives and takes away. Blessed be His name.

Less than one week after Ajuma went home, I became foster mom to little baby KL. He came to our home so sick. My roommates worried that he might not make it through the night and that if he didn't my heart couldn't bear it. God had other plans, and not only did he make it through the night but through the next three weeks. He is getting healthier each and every day. He came to us with a feeding tube and a canula to get medicines three times a day. Now he feeds from a bottle like a champ and he only gets meds when he needs them. He is interacting more and getting quite a little personality. He is sleeping through {some} of the night and snuggling lots. He is part of the newness God is working in me after this stormy season.

The month of September wore me out, body and soul. It was a month of holding onto that anchor within the veil and begging Him to remain strong as everything around me seemed to fall apart. It was a season of clinging to His truth as the rains battered.

October has been a month of newness and recovery. He's bringing me into a place of sunshine and newness, of regeneration and blessings. He's got me hidden under His wing and recovering. Just leaning on His name and pressing into Him. He's bringing sweet gifts of encouragement and newness. He is turning my heart towards His in a posture of thanksgiving. Be looking soon for a "capture gratitude" post inspired by a dear friend. He is restoring me and teaching me. He is good, in the storms and after they have cleared. He has brought dear roommates and friends to walk alongside me in all of this. And He's brought His word to my heart over and over. He is giving me eyes to see His gifts even in the storms and after them.

He gives and He takes away. My heart, and my life, will choose to say BLESSED BE HIS NAME.

These songs have spoken deep truth to my heart in this season...I pray they will encourage your heart too:

"When my world is shaking, heaven stands. When my heart is breaking, I never leave Your day You will set all things right"

{sorry for the cheesy video...just listen to the words}

Out of these ashes beauty will rise, for I know a God who is holding this crazy world in His hands, and He is not surprised by any of it.