Thursday, July 14, 2011

My New Ethiopia Vitamins

We are currently enjoying one of our summer Florida family traditions, also known as "the couple-day swoop-in between trips."  We do 2 foot piles of laundry, pull 2 foot weeds, take 2-few naps and then pack up again for the next adventure!

Our first trip this summer was a big one - missions trip to Brazil with our church's youth group.  We took a team of 27 to work with our very dear friends and missionaries, Dave & Jan Santos, in Sao Paulo.  One of the coolest parts was being able to take 4 of our 6 kids along with us this time.
(The two without yellow tees got to vacation with their doting grandparents while we were gone!!)

The team of teenagers was great, the ministry was amazing and the other leaders and missionaries were some of our best friends.  It was a great way to start the summer.

I always look forward to arriving back at home. To my routines.  My dresser drawers.  My couch and ottoman.  My ministry and my life.  But every time, when I drag my tired behind and suitcase full of laundry through the door, I step into a weird no-man's-land.  I have a hard time picking up where I left off.  I take a few naps, do a few chores, hoping I'll stumble upon my regular life somewhere as I do. 

Thought maybe a "to-do" list would clear the fog and give me some direction.  So I got out a handy 3X5 and started the bullet points.  Strike three - my heart just wasn't in it.  Naps, chores, 3X5's...when none of my things worked, I finally headed for my Bible.  How slow can I be?? Especially coming right off a missions trip!  Even then it took me a while to get it together.  I had to ask the Holy Spirit to get out the ruler and smack my heart on the knuckles to get it to sit still and pay attention.

I prayed and I read, and slowly....very slowly (I'm afraid my heart isn't National Honor's Society material!) I was able to see and make sense out of the life I had left behind.  God had called me to the things I had left behind as much as He had called me on this missions trip.  Hearing that call again was what I needed.

He's called us to Ethiopia - a land in which I've never set foot except in my dreams.  He's called me to love a little cocoa bean baby that needs someone to call Momma.  He's called us to a rescue that's urgent and requires focus and sweat.

I'm prone to wander.  I feel it all the time.  I'm prone to leave the God I love.  Maybe that's why the first word of Jesus' call to His disciples was "Follow."  Easier said than done with a heart that's prone to get stuck in the mud or distracted by shiny things. 




 Jesus knows.  He sees how hard it is for my silly heart to follow the simplest directions.  He knows that I'm made of dust.  So He put on a human body complete with feet so He would leave human footprints that would make it easier for me to follow.  He left His words entrusted to men, so I would have a book to hold in my hands that shows me which way to go.  He takes my heart and seals it.  He works in me to will an to act according to His good purpose.

The top bullet point on my 3X5 every day is to know Jesus better.  He said that to know Him, I just need to follow.  He's made it pretty darn clear lately that He's heading to Ethiopia and if I want to be with Him that's where I'm going. 

Now...  I've realized that although this isn't the only thing God's calling me to right now, it is a very big thing.  It's OK for it to feel all-consuming for a while.  That's where He wants me, a little bit overwhelmed, a little bit wide-eyed, a little bit emotional.  Watching close to see where He set His foot so I know where to take my next step. 

So I'm adding a new groove to my self-care routine.  I brush my teeth because I'm interested in dying with my own teeth.  I read my Bible to ward off hardness of heart.  I take vitamins because once I had a friend kick me in the butt and remind me to take my vitamins when I admitted how exhausted I was.  And I drink water because I read somewhere that it will keep my skin looking young. 

 Now I'm going to start regularly watching adoption youtube videos to keep my heart yearning after God's call.  I can't imagine what it's gonna feel like to walk through a gate on the other side of the world and lay eyes on my baby for the first time, but watching other people do it sure gets my heart pumping!

I'm calling these my "Ethiopia vitamins."  If you haven't seen me get misty-eyed in the presence of babies (especially little coffee bean ones), post about the Horn of Africa or give an unasked-for update about our paperwork or finances....it means you've got the right to give me a kick in the butt and remind me to take my vitamins.

Hey, you're looking a bit peak-ed yourself...maybe you should take a couple.  They might make you feel a little sick at first...but once you get serious about taking them regularly and let them get inside you and do their thing, they work wonders for your heart!  I've got a couple extra right here....p.s. don't take them with an empty hand, you might need a tissue!






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