Wow...just wow. Going back to work full time with a family has rocked my world! Any full time job on top of a family would rock it, but teaching kindergarten? (any teacher knows that this is like 3 full time jobs!) That story is a completely different SERIES of blogs based on how God led me back into this chaos and how He has met me there every single day and wiped away every tear...and there have been LOTS! I'm not quite sure how His leading me back into the classroom fits into The Ugandan Road, but it sure has delayed my posts about my travels along that road!
For those of you who have followed (and I am overwhelmed by the following all across the globe), I am not sure where to pick up and carry on with this blog...but I'll do my best to cover the highlights of this past year and how God has woven a beautiful tapestry along the way.
Almost immediately upon agreeing to take a family mission trip to Uganda (see earlier posts) in January of this year, my husband's small business was hit HARD with machinery repairs and total costs reaching high in the tens of thousands! Still we knew, if Uganda was on our road... God would provide. We rested in our faith and understanding that it is the enemy that comes to steal, kill and destroy. We were confident that Uganda was definitely in our future because of satan's relentless attacks! We've walked with God long enough to know that satan leaves you alone if you are not a threat to the kingdom, so his feeble attempts (I laugh because on a monetary scale...they were huge, but on a Godly scale...minuscule!) would not stop us. Aside from the roadblocks satan tried to throw up in Shawn's business, there were other delays in communication, in flight arrangements, and so on. Over the past few months, neither Shawn nor I have had a burdened heart about making sure everything was taken care of for our trip until it was down to the wire and we knew if passports were not secured...we would not be boarding a plane. There was an unsettled feeling deep in my spirit, and as is common for me...I visited the closet floor! (again, in earlier posts) My cries to God were filled with a desire to do His will and not to take a step without Him. The prayers continued for weeks for both Shawn and I...and then some things began to happen simultaneously. I love THIS because all of these events have ALWAYS been on God's calendar...in His time. I don't always understand, and I SURE can't see it when I'm in the midst...but I absolutely LOVE looking back and seeing how He was all over my daily walk!
Our church has been walking through a series called 'Jesus on Money', and a particular part of it resonated with Shawn and I both. We are managers of God's money...we own nothing. We need to make the BEST decisions as we manage what God has trusted us with. Hang tight...I'll come back to this.
God began leading me to scriptures that I knew were important to the Ugandan road. One day earlier this month, He spoke plainly to me through 2 Thessalonians 1:11-12 which refers to and extraordinary day just ahead and God filling our good intentions and acts of faith with His own energy so that it all will amount to something. Good intentions. Hmmm...what were our intentions for this trip? We began to re-evaluate. From the very beginning, we wanted our own children to see a bigger picture. We wanted their eyes to be open to what God has called us ALL to...to care for orphans and the poor. Instead of experiencing another Americanized Christmas, we wanted them to understand how incredibly blessed they are just in having a family, let alone all of the fluff they are allowed to enjoy! We knew our lives would be wrecked by what we would see in our travels, and we welcomed that. We wanted wreckage. I have blogged earlier about being able to sew for the babies in the orphanage there in Uganda. There were SO many ways we wanted to help and we felt incredibly blessed that God had placed us on this road! Then, a couple of weeks later, God led me to Numbers 22...and I knew the roadblocks that had come about over the last few months delaying our ticket purchase and our passports were God slowing us down. (If you aren't familiar with this story, read it! God basically slows Balaam down so that his will is not accomplished, but God's IS.) All of our desires for Uganda were noble, our reasons for travels were with good intentions. But God wanted more. A few days later we were invited to listen to sweet Dacia Newton and her incredible fiance Josh Hamby speak their hearts about their ministry in Uganda (Arise Africa International), which is the same ministry we'd be working with during our trip. Dacia said something that evening that turned weeks of confusion into clarity. She spoke of a time when God was calling her to do more, to be more. She was living a wonderful single life here in the states and loving it. She wasn't seeking out living in a remote village across the globe, and her parents weren't booking her on flights to go on Mission Trips. That's when He spoke deep into my spirit, and the tears flowed. It was God who would have to call our children out to be more for His kingdom. I could not control events and trips to 3rd world countries in order to make the Holy Spirit move in them. How silly I have been, even if my intentions were good. God simply showed me that I was trying to play the role of the Holy Spirit in their lives through this trip. If God wants to do something in their lives, He doesn't need me to monkey it up! He can do whatever He wants and needs me to do NONE of it. (I am incredibly blessed that He has allowed us to be a part of the Ugandan road...He doesn't need our family, but He has graciously allowed us to be a part of what He is doing there). He is so good. Thank you Jesus.
Back to the 'Jesus on Money' series. Manage the owner's money wisely. Steward His money for His benefit and not for my benefit. Manage the money based on eternity and not the here and now. Dacia and Josh were sharing that they needed to raise $60,000 to support them as missionaries in Uganda for this next year, and we were planning a trip for 7 to 10 days that was based on good intentions but would take a LOT of money just for the 5 of us to board the plane! We wouldn't be going to spread the gospel to people groups who were unknowing. We were going to help in an orphanage, ran by a Christian ministry...so that OUR hearts would be wrecked. We wanted more of Him in our lives by going on this trip. Manage the money based on eternity, steward His money for His benefit. It was clear what God was calling us to do. As much as we wanted to go to Uganda, and we truly do want to help and we do want more for the people there and our hearts ARE burdened for them...we knew God was calling us to give what we would have spent on the airfare...which was all His money...so that Josh and Dacia could continue to work in that mission field for months!
It isn't about us. Even our absolute best, apart from Christ, is described in scripture as filthy rags. Our hearts were "pure" in our decision to go to Uganda, but God wanted more out of This Road. His ways are higher, His ways are perfect. We are still on This Road, although it looks a bit different than we thought it would, we travel on...trying our best to walk in the prints He leaves for us.