My husband has been gone now for 9 days. We have 2 days left without him. I wasn't sure what to expect or how it would go, but we are making it. We've had help along the way with a few meals, a few visits from family and friends (mostly for my sake so that I could get in a bit of adult conversation), my parents have taken the older children for a few hours, and I have one friend who has called me every single day. (I am not sure how people do this without the body of Christ.) All in all it has not been bad. We have had sickness run its course through our home, and I have had van troubles, and have dealt with nightmares, and kiddos in my bed late at night and early in the morning, and all of the other various things that come with the territory.
But I can see so much of God's grace in my life and even growth in me. A year ago if Jim had told me that he felt God was nudging him to go to Ethiopia and leave his family behind, I am embarrassed to admit that I would have completely flipped out. Now let me be clear, I did have a few panicky moments before Jim left. There were a few times when I over thought the situation and was sure I couldn't do it, but overall I felt such a peace knowing this was exactly what Jim was supposed to be doing. And God has really made that especially clear in this week and a half by myself. I never imagined myself capable of doing this, and truthfully I am not, it was all Christ in me. It is amazing for me to give up trying to control things and just let God completely take over. I know I have talked about that so, so much, but God continues to grow me and stretch me in this area. Every time I surrender another little corner of my life, I am just completely blown away by how freeing and wonderful and at peace it makes me feel. I will say it doesn't really get easier, at least it hasn't for me yet. It is such a battle for me to daily surrender in every area.
And God blessed me these past several days. This verse is such a beautiful, poignant verse. Have you ever really stopped to think about it? His grace is SUFFICIENT - it is enough - it is all that we need. God showed me that over and over while Jim has been away.
But he said to me, "My grace is sufficient for you, for my power is made perfect in weakness." Therefore I will boast all the more gladly about my weaknesses, so that Christ's power may rest on me. 2 Corinthians 12:9
So, while we have had our own fun here at home. Jim has been across the world getting his heart tugged and stretched beyond recognition. When I talk to him via skype I can hear the passion and the brokenness in his voice. He loves the people of Ethiopia. God has placed a great burden in his heart for the true gospel to be spread in that country. Jim learned so much on the trip, and I know that he will be processing for weeks and even months to come. I am praying for his transition back here, as the culture shock is like a severe slap in the face. And he has to jump right back into his normal.
Since Jim has had my beloved Roxie (my dslr) on his trip, I have no photos of my cutie-patooties. Instead I will leave you with photos from Ethiopia that my husband took. What strikes me in these photos, and when I was in Ethiopia myself, was the joy and the beauty. Yes, there is severe suffering and unimaginable poverty and heartache like we cannot even describe here, but umbrella-ing everything is this beauty that I cannot quite put into words. So instead I will let you peak through the lens.
Here is a taste of the heart of Ethiopia: the people. People like you and me that need a Savior.
I often see Jamesy's eyes in the eyes of photos like these. This one especially.
There is absolutely nothing like an African sky. It is breathtaking.
Africa is a cruel country; it takes your heart and grinds it into powdered stone - and no one minds. Elspeth Huxley
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PS I ended up switching to disqus. My commenting was completely wonky. I had double the comments in my email than what was on the blog. People were telling me they could see comments on posts, others were telling me they could not. In order to streamline I went to disqus. (Although I have yet to figure out how to import old comments) I do not write for comments. Honestly, I would write even if no one else was reading, because I was created to write. Having said that, I do enjoy, and feel so blessed and encouraged, by your sweet comments, and I thank you for reading and interacting. I hope that this system works well for everyone involved. Please let me know if you encounter a problem. Thank you.