My sweet son, Jamie led worship this morning. We woke up yet again to the beautiful sounds of Africa outside the window and when I walked into the “dining hall”, there he was. Jamie, this precious child, spending days, weeks, and months without parents around, growing up without the luxuries America affords, completely without my daily hugs and encouraging words or direction to see him through and help him, comfort him, guide him… and yet, there he is… LEADING WORSHIP. Singing songs of praise in the center of a room full of his brothers. God truly is the God of our children, wherever we are, wherever they are, HE IS WITH THEM. He really does not need us.
That should comfort us in so many ways. And FREE US as moms, to know that we don’t have to go psycho trying to get everything right. WE ARE NOT EVEN NEEDED. God is the all the comforter, provider, and guide in life that our children ever need. But, He chooses us, lets us, delights for us to be the parent of that one, or 2, or 10 very special miracle(s). How amazing. How absolutely amazing.
David Alimamy preached today – ahhhhhhhhh I LOVE HIS SMILE SO MUCH!!!! I am fascinated as I sit and listen to their hearts challenging one another. Where is that fire, that desire anywhere else but here? Not like this, nowhere I’ve ever been. Nowhere else I’d rather be.
I was so excited to visit my brother’s gym today!! Dauda is my brother by way of mom being his sponsor and I ADORE HIM! He is so tall and breathtaking, full of patience and such a sweet spirit! And he LIFTS!! So, of course Chris and I had to see how he did this in Africa! They laughed at me when I said I lifted, too – so I was all excited to go and show them my girly skills, but fail. The “equipment” was all too heavy for me. But it was so cool to see where Dauda goes every day, to meet his best friends and workout partners of this club he is so committed to. Dauda loved the protein drinks I brought, so I gave him extra. He is so excited Chris is going to go lift with him every day – the pride is glowing on his face!! He taught me about so many things just being around him; his beautiful soul just opened my heart to inspiration of persistence and longsuffering, making the most of where you are. And I taught him… burpees!!!! 🙂
We got to give the boys a SOCCER SURPRISE today!!! We heard there was a professional soccer game in town and Chris was immediately set on taking them. We got them together to let them know so they can prepare to go and THEY FLIPPED OUT. =D
It was a beautiful day for a game, and they’ve never seen the Sierra Leone team play! Getting there was a nightmare… getting back wasn’t much better – it took hours and the cost of transporting so many is ridiculous.. but the lowest of all lows was that the second car never showed until the game 1/2 over so half the boys didn’t get there until literally the last couple minutes of the game. UGGGGGGHHHH STUPID AFRICA TRANSPORTATION!!!! This is why I don’t even like to leave
However, on the bright side, the group that did get there, had a blast and made a beautiful memory I know they will never forget. I sat in the stands and watched them stand at the front and cheer and jump and run and smile so wide… for a moment today they weren’t orphans or Africans or poor or bored, they were just normal boys being boys, loving a good sports game in a big stadium. I don’t even know what happened with the game, I had to ask if we won, I couldn’t take my eyes off of our happy boys. ❤
On the way home I got some sweet time with one of the new boys, Hassan – the one with the swollen jaw from tooth problems. INSTANTLY IN LOVE. INSTANTLY. I got to know him better and he shared with me some of the things he had been through that brought him to the orphanage recently. So many of the boys have lived there all their lives, it hit my heart hard to hear that this sweet miracle was living on the streets until he was THIRTEEN. With no parents, NO FOOD, no help, no pastor, no brothers, no NOTHING. He was given shelter from time to time, had to beg for food to stay alive… and he’s telling me all of this so humbly, soft spoken and perfectly gentle; and then the tears came streaming out of his eyes. Oh, Lord. This miracle. I have no idea what such a life is like, to be a child begging for food. And his spirit is like nothing you’ve ever seen. Though he’s usually in pain, he is always smiling, ridiculously grateful to be at the orphanage. To watch him sing with the boys, to have fellowship in his life – the way he enters church with that wide smile and stands so tall in service. I’ve never seen humble and grateful so pure… It is MY HONOR and privilege to know him, to hear his story, to even walk with his hand in mine. To bear witness to his smile, to hug him and learn how to live through his sweet, gentle presence. He is precious and I’m already dying inside that I will ever have to leave him.
Heart full. Heart broken.
Somehow MARRIAGE became the topic for our late night discussion… woah. I had no idea they had such a different perspective.
David asked me who was my best friend was, and I, of course, said Chris.
“He is your husband, he cannot be your best friend!”
I explained how that is EXACTLY why he’s my best friend and they explained to me that in their culture that they are friends when they are boyfriend and girlfriend, but once they are married they are no longer friends. I was blown away. How??? Why??? What on earth??? Then as I looked around at the things I have seen on my 2 trips there, I cannot recall any marriage relationships that displayed friendship, but more service and partnership related as it pertains to family, work, and ministry. Honestly, I do believe we as wives could do a better job of understanding our role as HELPERS to our husbands (( it’s a divine role, check out Genesis )) I found myself saddened deeply that these sweet, fun, boys full of life filling my view would ever end up in a lifelong relationship that was empty of the kind of compassion and intimacy that I get to share with my husband. After a long discussion and lots of story telling on my part of the way Chris courted me and our weekly coffee, lunch, and dinner dates, getaways and the fun and friendship we share – with them smiling and staring back at me as if they’d never heard of such a thing – I told them I absolutely pray they find fabulous, funny and FUN girlfriends that they marry and continue to grow closer and more in LOVE and in friendship with throughout their marriages. They smiled so big… as if that being an option gave them a new sense of hope… another way.
Pretty sure my son called me Nicki Minaj today… and called his dad Chris Brown! LOL, Oh he cracks me up!! I cannot wait for his brothers and sisters to meet him someday! As we sat in our little room with him, we – or he – made a very important decision…
Jame shall be TWELVE YEARS OLD on his next birthday. And his next birthday shall be… TOMORROW!!!! He chose Sunday, the best day of the week!! Since his parents died in the war, he has never known for certain his age. Never had a birthday.
Think about that.
NEVER HAD A BIRTHDAY.
I looooooooooove celebrating my kids bdays, as heartbreaking as it is for them to get older – but this will be a celebration like NO OTHER. I’m planning my son’s bday party… IN AFRICA. HIS FIRST BDAY PARTY EVER!!!! Jamie is soooooooooo EXCITED!!!! We have candy and glow in the dark bracelets and I brought balloons and candles! He actually brought Timothy by hand ( the wild & amazing worship leader guy ) to me to have me ask him to “DJ” his party. He has invited friends from school and laid out his new Studio 7 shirt to wear! His happiness is at an all-time high today!! And so is mine!
Until TOMORROW!!!!!! 🙂 🙂 🙂 🙂
West Africa’s Ebola Crisis in Pictures <– click here
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