Monday, August 31, 2009

this morning started out like any other typical morning for me as of lately. i got up, read the news, checked my email, and checked facebook. eventually, i turned the tv on and flipped through the channels. i noticed that "adoption stories" was going to come on in about 15 minutes and read the information to decide whether or not i wanted to watch it. as my eyes read over the words, i saw that the couple was going to be adopting a child from guatemala and decided that i love hearing people's stories about international adoptions.

so the show started, and i was multitasking planning volleyball practice for today. but it wasn't long before i heard someone on the show say the boy this couple was preparing to adopt was from india. immediately, i was complete engrossed in the tv. as i watched this family's story unfold, i couldn't help but think back to my summer with my children at the orphanage. and then, this family's little boy in india got very sick; they dropped everything and went to india immediately.

that is about the time that i began to cry. because at this point, i was already comparing the orphanage they were adopting this little boy from to the orphanage i have been at for the past two summers, and then i began to think about when my kids at the orphanage get sick. when my kids at the orphanage get sick, there really is no way for me to know how they are doing. and as much as i hate to say it, i'm not at a place where i can drop everything and fly there to be with them. would i? absolutely, in a heartbeat. but i can't, and i hate it.

as the show ended, my tears dried up, and i wished in the worst way that i knew the couple who had been on the show so that i could rejoice with them for their new addition to their family. and i wished that i knew them so i could share with them my love for india and the children living there.

regardless, all that to say, i was reminded unexpectedly today of my love for india. and although my ankle bracelets from there haven't come off my ankles and still jingle every time i walk, it's not the same as being there. but i must continue on my journey through life.

speaking of journey through life...that's a whole other subject. i was having a conversation with a friend the other day, and i might have had this conversation with multiple friends by this point, but i kind of described to her how i was feeling with this book analogy: i feel like college was a huge section of my life, each year being a different chapter. and each chapter in itself filled with a huge number of memories and wonderful things. while there were different hard things about every year, those chapters of my life are by far my favorite of the story of my life thus far. i walked away from my college career as a completely different person. as someone who has learned to balance people's needs and her needs, someone who has chosen to find joy in the smallest of things, someone who appreciates heart to heart conversations moreso than most, someone who doesn't hesitate to speak up in regards to her opinion, and someone who has the best friends ever. there are so many other things that changed over those four years, but one of the most important things that happened was that i learned what an intimate relationship with Christ can be like.

and now that i'm not going back, i'm starting another section of my life. however, i don't have the chapter titles for this section of life yet. and quite honestly, i feel like my pages are not even being filled with anything. there are so many unknowns, and i hate the unknown. i'm trying to learn to appreciate it and to enjoy the journey that the Lord is taking me on, but remembering that day by day is difficult.

all of that said...i'm looking forward to the day when i feel like the chapters of this section of my life are being filled like the chapters of my college life were filled.

but for now, i suppose this "unknown" chapter of my life is being filled with stories that i will look back on in a few weeks, months, or even years and appreciate. and that's when i'll say, "oh yeah, that's what God was doing."

oh what a journey!

Saturday, August 22, 2009

i had coffee with a dear friend yesterday morning. we sat outside of starbucks eating our scones and drinking our cups of coffee, chatting with each other for awhile and then with two other people we knew, but when they left the table, she said to me, "tell me more about india."

i began sharing stories with her about how i grew closer to Helen this year than last, and how it helped in the healing process of losing Johnson, i told her how Helen took Rebecca and i to Johnson's grave and it was a year to the day that i had said good-bye to him at the airport when i stood at his grave, i shared with her our adventures on the train with the cockroaches, i told her how much i loved the children and how much harder it was to leave this year after getting closer with the staff and the children, i talked to her about how real the spiritual battle is there, and how we are so sheltered from it here, i talked to her about how Satan may manifest himself in evil spirits in India, but in here in the states it just looks different.

it was refreshing to tell stories about how the Lord worked, and it was refreshing to tell stories to someone who seemed to understand my heart.

but as i pulled away from starbucks, i began thinking of a conversation that we had with one of the men in India who founded an orphanage. we began asking him about hinduism and why people worship the different gods they worship...immediately, he pulled out his bible and opened it to Romans 1:21-23: "Yes, they knew God, but they wouldn't worship him as God or even give him thanks. And they began to think up foolish ideas of what God was like. As a result, their minds became dark and confused. Claiming to be wise, they instead because utter fools. And instead of worshiping the glorious, ever-living God, they worshiped idols made to look like mere people and birds and animals and reptiles."

now i can't tell you how many times i have read Romans...but i can tell you that i had never understood those verses as much as i do now after he shared them with us. these verses describe hinduism better than i can even after living in india for multiple weeks. the people who are hindus are lost...their minds are dark and confused. and they do, indeed, worship idols made to look like people, birds, animals, and reptiles.

i think the whole concept of people being lost in hinduism became more real to me when our team was praying over unreached villages in the mountains of mussoorie or when we drove past a hindu temple and i saw a small girl standing in front of it being instructed how to worship. and the concept of hinduism became real to me when i heard people's testimonies who had made sacrifices to their gods in order to protect their family but are now Christians.

but even though this all seems more real to me now, the questions continue to cloud my mind, "well, what do i do now? what do i do halfway around the world? what can i do and how can i make a difference?"

i'm sure i'll never have all the answers to this, but i know that the Lord has chosen to give me a heart that is burdened for people who are lost in hinduism and other religions for a reason. and although i may not be living among the in India, i do know that the foothold i saw Satan have on the people in India who are lost in hinduism is just as real as the foothold Satan has on people here in the states. so for now, i guess, all i can do is pray for the Lord to uncloud people's vision and to trust that He will guide my steps in making a difference in people's lives who are lost.

Tuesday, August 18, 2009

it's hard to believe that i left India a month ago. i still hate the reality that i'm in the states and unable to hold my children whenever i want, but i know and am continually reminded that it's not my time to be there long term.

regardless, i met with the board of directors for the orphanage on sunday night. it was wonderful to be able to reconnect with them and share what Rebecca and i did while we were in India. but at the same time it was difficult being with people who understand how special of a place that is because it just made it all the harder for me. i was able to tell the board stories of our time with the staff, the children, with helen, with terry and jeeva, and the new baby, and so many other things. and right as i was finishing up sharing, i said to them, "on one of our last nights at the orphanage we met with the indian board, and they just kept thanking us over and over for what he had been doing and for giving our time to come. and then one of the men said to me, 'you come here and you give our children heaven for the time that you are here.'" i went on to say to the board, "and you know, that's exactly what the children, the staff, and everyone at the orphanage gave to us while we were there. heaven."

as painful as it is to not be able to be with them, i wouldn't trade my time there for anything. it's hard to explain to people that i have a family halfway around the world that doesn't speak the same language as me or look the same as me, but the reality of it is, they are my family. and they always will be my family. and for that i am forever grateful.

in other news, my sister got married on friday and i am just beginning my eighth grade volleyball season as a coach. i'm not going to lie, this is not at all where i pictured myself being. i always told myself no one could make me go back to my high school and there wasn't enough money in the world that could bribe me to go back, and here i am, willingly going in every day to coach. i guess when i said that no one could make me go back, i forgot that God's plans are always bigger. and in the mean time, i'm still waiting to find out what i'm going to be doing full time. God sure has been teaching me a lot about patience and trust, and those are two lessons that are never easy to have to learn and relearn over and over again. but as i have been trying to understand what He is trying to teach me with those two things, i am learning i often don't figure out the lessons fully until i'm on the other side of them.

it's kind of like Proverbs 20:24 says, "The Lord directs our steps so why try to understand everything along the way?" i think it's safe to say that that verse has been the theme verse for my life over the past few weeks. i don't understand a lot of what is going on, and i wish a lot of things were different...but i have also come to realize that it's a waste of my time and energy to try to understand EVERYTHING that is going on.

one day i'll understand things, it may not be until i get to heaven, but one day, i will understand. and in the mean time, i will continue trusting and being thankful that when i get too weary to walk along the path the Lord has laid out for me that He will be there to carry me.