Thursday, September 7, 2017

Jumbled Thoughts (Reed Update)

Woah, it's been way too long since I've written. Honestly, it's been on my mind almost daily. I have known there has been a large gap on the blog from what was to what is now... but I have had no idea how to put words to the in between. Every time I have considered actually sitting down and filling that gap, I've felt a knot in my stomach. Where to being? How do I put words to something that is still so much in process? Here's my first attempt to do that. Hopefully more words will flow soon...

Will, Ellie and I have been in the States on our home assignment for 5 months now. Next week is the week we were set to return to Uganda. It is when we planned on packing up everything again, saying the difficult goodbyes and diving back into the life we have set up in Fort Portal.

However, while we have been back in the States, God has made it clear to us (through prayer and the wisdom of others who have walked this road before) that we need to return full time to America. We are officially moving back to the States again. And officially leaving life in Africa... again.

Ellie has been sleeping in a Pack N' Play her whole life. Literally since the day she came home from the hospital in Kenya, she has slept in a portable bed. We bought her a crib in Fort Portal, but never got around to setting it up before we came back to the States for our break. This week, for the first time in Ellie's 14 months of life, we are planning on setting up a crib for her. The fact that we will probably end up setting up Ellie's first "permanent bed" the same week that we were supposed to be returning to Uganda has been hitting me hard. It has brought on a paradox of emotions that we are overwhelmed with sadness to be leaving Africa, but also relieved to finally feel like we can "settle" somewhere.

The past three years has been a whirlwind. Three years ago we were about to leave for South Sudan. Five months later, we evacuated and went to Kenya. From there we were in Arua, Uganda, the US for a couple months, Arua again, Kenya to give birth to Ellie and then Fort Portal, Uganda. With each move, we were expecting to find home. We were hoping to find a long-term ministry site. A place where we could fully invest in those around us and build community- a community that we hoped to live with for years. We were looking for a place where we could live out of our giftings- where we could use the passions God has given us to further his Kingdom.

For some reason, we didn't find that. Or, we did, but we weren't able to stay in the places in which we found that in. We can't explain it and we really don't understand why things happened the way they did. One thing we have learned through all of this is to stop trying to figure out why things happen the way they do. It's not for our small minds to try to grasp. What we do know is God is good. I don't mean that as a cliche. I'm done with cliches. I mean it from the depths of my bones. I say it because I've seen it. I've seen His goodness in the midst of much struggle. I've seen His grace when there has been nothing else to hang onto. So instead of asking "why", we're finding that it's much more helpful to ask, "what now, Lord?". "How will You use all of this and where do you want us to go from here?" Even still, we don't have answers. But we're continuing to seek and ask.

I realize this is just a long, jumbled mix of thoughts. But honestly, this is where we are right now. We are still very much "in process". We know where we've been, but we're still trying to figure out where God is taking us next and how He's using what we've been through.

Hopefully more words will flow soon. In the meantime, please pray for us. We are settling back into "American life" in Bloomington, IN. We still have many unanswered questions, but we're eagerly seeking His direction and guidance as to where to go from here. Thanks for sticking with us throughout our journey and for continuing to pray.

9 comments:

  1. Trust God. It's what I've been hanging onto lately - He has plans to prosper not harm us. (And the path isn't always easy) The world is confusing in both the US and Africa. You are a special family that I know is listening for God's plan for you.

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    1. Thank you, Lauri! We're so grateful for your faithful support of us. Thank you for following our journey and praying with us along the way. May God remind us of His never ending faithfulness as we remain faithful to Him.

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  2. Thank you for this wonderful post! He is good and loving. He will direct you. You are all such a witness to all of us.

    God has great plans for you. Your ministry will always be alive, no matter where He has you planted. ❤️

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    1. Thank you, Debbie! I owe you all a visit soon. Blessings to you!

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  3. Love you guys and praying for you all in this transition and while you process all these emotions. Cry, laugh, feel gratitude and complete loss and entrust it all to the Lord's more than capable hands. As more leave the mission field (seriously there have been an odd spike in people around us that are going back to the States) as we prepare to move out of our language learning city to our final job destination, I am reminded that our Lord really does guide our steps. And while we enter each phase of life fully invested in that location until God calls us home, like we should do when He plants us somewhere, the Lord's ways are so much bigger than ours and He has incredible plans that we are baffled by and will never fully understand. Perhaps your experience will enable you to reach out to Sudanese refugees better, perhaps your experience will encourage an uprising new missionary, perhaps your experience will encourage the Body of Christ in a way that only these past three years could. Praise the Lord that we are not a definition of the battles here on this earth, but a useful tool in His hand. I am praying for your openness to be a tool there in IN and to the ends of the earth, even if and when the ends of the earth are found just next door. - Sending my love, sweet friend, thank you for fighting the good fight. Love ya.

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    1. Thanks, Monica! I think of you guys often and am continuing to pray for you. Thanks for the reminder that there are SO MANY things God could be doing in all of this. His ways are never wasted. Love you!

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  4. Hey, sweet girl. I'm typing this from Uganda, where I never planned to be. I hear so much of my own heart's struggles and unknowns echoed in your post here--thank you for sharing this with such sweet honesty. I feel like God used to make so much sense to me, but something shifted in the last decade. Half the time (ok, let's be real: ALL the time) I really have no clue what He's doing, and I can't even guess the intent behind the apparent chaos, BUT. Exactly what you said: He is good. I don't have to know anything past His goodness.

    I only had the privilege of knowing y'all for a short bit during your unplanned stint at RVA, but even from that small glimpse I am convinced you are and will be a light wherever you're planted--Indiana, Arua, or anywhere in between. (Although PS, we're angling our way back to RVA in a year, so if you want to come back there and do ministry with us, that would be AMAZING. Though really, with our combined track records, this probably means neither of us will end up anywhere near Kijabe. Ha.)

    Keep on keeping on, my friend. And though the path is curious, the One you follow is so faithful.

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    1. It's so great to hear from you! We have spent a lot of time in a Kampala over the past few years! I hope you and your family are well as you are trusting the Lord and the story He is writing in your life. I started reading your blog and am looking forward to following your story.

      Will and I think of RVA often and hope God calls us back there one day. We love what God is doing there! It would be awesome if our paths crossed again there one day! But I agree (and laughed out loud at your statement) with our track records, who knows, really?? Hehe

      Thank you for the encouragement and may God bless you and you serve Him faithfully.

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  5. Thanks for "letting it flow." I hope it was therapeutic for you to express it...for Hope and I your words always buoy us up. Its ok to not have it all figured out as long as we know the one who does and hold on to him. I'm still learning that too ;)

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