First we targeted January, and then June to move our family to Addis Ababa, Ethiopia. But God still had things for us to learn in the here and now. He was still preparing our family - tweaking us here and there - and growing us as we realize this too is part of the journey. We continue to push and pray and trust His timing, although it's not always comfortable or easy, and some days we just plain don't like the timeline we are on, and honestly feel as if, at times, we are being yanked around. But in the still quiet moments, when we take the time to really search our hearts, we know that He is here and has allowed us to remain still for a reason and a season - for a purpose. We trust that. And in this moment, we have been present for so much, for our baby girl to attend her first (and perhaps last) ever year in a traditional school, for our oldest son to get to experience another year of soccer here in America and recent surgery to repair a torn ACL and meniscus, for the death and funeral of my grandma, the birth of our niece, the moment we got the call that my sister had suffered several strokes and God had spared her life, for Jamesy to grow and thrive and develop his communication skills in huge ways, for Scotty to participate in soccer for the first time, for moments spent with extended family that otherwise could not have happened, and for all of the in between moments that we will tuck into our hearts and carry across the ocean - moments that will sustain us on those days when we are so homesick and question what we have done - for those are sure to come.
It's been a little over a year now since we said "yes, we will move to Africa, yes, we will sell our belongings, yes, we will leave behind our family and the life we have built here, and yes, we will devote our lives to sharing the mercy of Jesus with children living on the streets of Addis Ababa, Ethiopia."
Sell everything and go.
It sounds so easy and simple, but the actual reality of it is long and arduous and sometimes hard. We are living this right now, and it takes a toll in huge ways. But in it all we continue to see God's hand, His confirmation, and amazing ways in which He is moving in order for us to be able to move.
In the midst of the questions and conversations, we see Him.
We have counted the cost so many times - the physical, relational, and mental costs. We have prayed over the safety of our children and we have mourned all that we leave behind and all that we will miss.
the phone calls
And everything in between.
It's a complicated season - a complicated dance - a choice to continue to say yes, to continue to obey and put one step in front of the other, even when those steps seem to still be so far behind the finish line of actually moving. We are fleshing out this call of obedience to the children of Addis - even here in the wait and the pursuit. We are in the reality of the flippantly used phrase "sell everything and go". A phrase that has taken us a year to live out and begin to understand.
And in the hard, there have been tears, frustrations, mourning, questions, restlessness, and uncertainty, but there has also been determination, grace, mercy, peace, laughter, hope, expectation and no turning back.
We're in the homestretch now. We're not the same people that we were a year ago when we set out on this adventure, and a year from now, I hope the same will be true. This all has been part of the beautiful story the Author is writing over our family. His pen is poised over the next chapter, and we are ready for Him to scratch out this next part.
With pounding hearts, a little fear, a lot of hope, and open hands, we are nearing ready.
[To learn more about how we hope to partner with God in building His Kingdom in Addis Ababa, please visit our site here.]