I Can Still See It

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I can still see it. I’m standing on my friends back porch without any shoes on, naturally painting my feet with red mud. There are puppies and puddles. Homemade hummus and store bought chips. And there, staring back at me, is the Nile River. It’s breath-taking and big and beautiful. And I’m in pain.

The weather is incredibly gorgeous. It’s sunny and 75 degrees almost daily. The nights are cool. The kind of nights where you can put on sweats and feel all cozy with a cup of tea. Sometimes a fan blowing on you is necessary. My husband is so joyful and loving his life. My new friends have become my family who I want to stay up super late with to laugh, eat chocolate, and ask intentional questions around a fire pit with a bottle of wine. I only have to choose between three types of bread. I’m living life on purpose, with purpose every single day. And I’m in pain.

I feel like I’m drowning even though I know how to swim. I cannot simply move past it every day. I cannot hardly get out of bed and fake a smile. What is happening? Why is it happening? This was not part of the plan.

The little things weigh heavy on me– the noise, the staring, the judging, the drama, the brokenness, the arrogance, missing home, and missing comfort. It’s heavier with depression and anxiety chained to my ankles. I am now a burden. The shame pushes me further under. I wish to disappear. Just really quietly without anyone noticing.

This wasn’t part of the plan, God. Why are you allowing this to happen, God? I am here for you, God. Take this from me, God. Change me, God. Are you listening, God? Where are you, God? I need you now, God.

In performance mode there are two grades: pass or fail. This is a fail. The darkness whispers lies to me that become full volume to my soul.

YOU ARE NOT GOOD ENOUGH.

YOU CANNOT LIVE UP TO GOD’S STANDARDS. YOU HAVE RUINED SO MANY LIVES OF THE ONES YOU LOVE.YOU ARE A TERRIBLE WIFE AND FRIEND. HOW CAN YOU EVEN CALL YOURSELF A DISCIPLE OF CHRIST?

YOU ARE WORTHLESS.

It wasn’t supposed to be this way. It wasn’t supposed to end like this. God was supposed to come through in a different way.

My dad is still sick. Since coming home to the States, the most common and difficult question I’m asked is, “How is your dad?” Dying. That’s what I would like to say. He is dying. For 4 years now. I’m glad we live close again. Also, a more rare question, “How was Uganda?” Heart wrenchingly difficult and beautiful. Words will never be able to describe what is like to fall in love with so many people and be ripped away from them to another continent. God was close. Because He saves the crushed in spirit and is near to the broken hearted.

And now we’ve been back in America as long as we lived in Uganda—8 months. My husband is still joyful, loving his job, but there’s a piece of him left in East Africa. Me too. I’m finishing up a program I’ve wanted to do for a few years now, and pursuing a career I feel more gifted in. I’m wrestling with it all, though. We “should” still be with our boys right now. That thought crosses our mind every now and then. It feels like it was all a dream that we woke up from. I can still see it all.

I don’t know how to process it. I’m in the middle of it right now. Wish I could tell you I’m on the other side of it. I still fight against the lies in my head with the truth of God. Most times it works, but sometimes defeat takes over.

I am enough because He is enough.

Jesus took my shame and failure and sin on the cross, died for me, and rose again in victory. He knows my humanness. He knows my name and every hair on my head, and He loves me. I can’t live up to God’s standards, so He did it for me. He is the one who gives me strength to be a good wife and friend.

He thought I was WORTHY enough to die for.

Without Him, I wouldn’t be here right now. That is truth. That is what I want to have the highest volume in my soul. And y’all, I am struggling. And I am wrestling. And it is hard. Because I am still running the race, and I have a long way to go. Jesus promises me that in Him I will have peace, but in this world I will have trials, yet to take heart, for He has overcome the world (John 16:33).

I found my Amazima School Uniform Shirt the other day. I cried and I wrote this:

If this shirt could see it would see 24 boys faces starring back at it for 6:45am morning devotion

It would see the families of those boys coming to greet it with a bright plastic chair or small wooden bench

It would see the black matching skirt that it got tucked into

If this shirt could smell it would smell Ugandan tea from the kitchen with too many spoonfuls of cane sugar from Debra

It would smell red dirt and sweat from a bumpy boda ride

It would smell livestock and purple g-nut sauce

If this shirt could hear it would hear the Ugandan national anthem sung by 144 secondary school students in unison

It would hear Amazima staff Monday morning devotion of scripture and prayer

It would hear compliments of “looking smart”

If this shirt could taste it would taste a mid-morning rolex on the veranda of Mac & Zach

It would taste a melted chocolate chip cliff bar from a forest green fanny pack

It would taste a hot samosa from Ille gas station neighboring its home

And if this shirt could feel it would feel the warm embrace of Ugandan teenagers headed off to class

It would feel big raindrops from running to the old dark blue SUV without the clear umbrella

It would feel the hand of a brother and sister on its shoulder, praying as it departs from where it all began

Pray for us as we return to Uganda August 7-18th to visit our second family and home. If you would like to help us financially get there, we would deeply appreciate it: Here is the link.

With love,

Ben & Lo

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