Thursday, July 22, 2010
After waiting for three and a half years, we got that, now infamous, email...
"Your baby is waiting!"
From that moment, life seems to have been a whirlwind. Could it be true? We had been "close" a few times before. This time, we got our shots, started packing (truth be told, it took me less than a day...I'd already done it in my mind a million times over!), made arrangements for our kids, made phone calls, bought our tickets and obtained our visas. Whew!
It is like having a baby...you make all these plans, go through child birthing classes, tour the hospital, buy the needed supplies, feel a few contractions and then...POW! The real labor starts and all the fine planning is out the window and things are moving faster than the "idyllic vision" ever dreamed! We were there this time around as well. Only now, instead of labor snacks for Todd, our suitcase was filled with foil pouches of tuna!
As we flew over Africa, from Casablanca to Lome, I just looked out the window, listening to a compilation, on my ipod, that my sweet friend Janelle had put together for me. Two songs I played over and over, as tears streamed down my face, You Are For Me (Kari Jobe) and Flight Over Africa (John Barry). The long years of waiting had broken into a whirlwind that now had me flying over Africa to meet my daughter for the first time.
I did not know what to expect. I did know that I didn't want to miss as a single moment...not one. There had been too many tears, prayers, dreams, more tears and prayers leading to this moment. I wasn't going to miss anything.
Before we left the JFK, my dear friend Ruth sent me "Traveler's Prayer" from the The Transliterated Siddur...
"May it be Your will, Lord, My God and God of my ancestors, lead me, to direct my steps and to support me in peace. Lead me in life, tranquil and serene, until I arrive at where I am going. Deliver me from every enemy, ambush and hurt that I might encounter on the way and from all afflictions that visit and trouble the world. Bless the work of my hands. Let me receive divine grace and those loving acts of kindness and mercy in you eyes and in the eyes of all those I encounter. Listen to the voice of my appeal, for you are a God who responds to the prayerful supplication. Praised are you, Lord, who responds to prayer."
While stepping off the plane in Togo, I KNEW that the Lord was going before us. I also knew, immediately, that this would be the hottest place that I have ever been!
As our friends drove us from the airport to the YWAM location, I took in every sight, sound and smell. This was my daughter's country. I have a deep sense of needing to know everything I can, so that when she needs to remember, I can remember with her.
Wednesday, July 7, 2010
20 years ago today, my dream came true...I married my true love and my best friend.
I remember on our first anniversary I said, "Oh my gosh! I married a stranger. I thought I knew you so well when we got married, but that was just the tip of the iceberg." Now, 20 years later, I love to say that I am still getting to know new things about my guy. What an adventure!
Never, NEVER did I imagine what great treasures, and truths, we would discover on this journey. It has been really amazing. We have traveled the world together. We have seen dreams fulfilled. We have laughed. We have loved. We have cried. And, we have laughed and loved some more.
I'm not sure this is where I pictured us in 20 years...but then again, I never really "pictured" us. I just knew we would be having loads of adventures...together... that's all that mattered to me. Not sure what the future held, but knowing that God held the future.
So, when we reviewed our itinerary for Togo, we were pleasantly surprised to see that we had a layover in Casablanca, Morocco. (Yes! The same Casablanca as the movie.)
We looked at each other and said,
"Happy Anniversary Baby!"
Not only did we have a layover, Royal Air Maroc Airlines, put us up at the local hotel for the day. Oh, the life of a missionary...
So, needless to say, there is no need for the dream cruise to celebrate our 20th, no huge party. Our African Adventure was a celebration of a lifetime...and continues to be. We are one very happy couple that is more in love than ever. So blessed with our 3 beautiful children...it's so fun to say 3, three, 3!!!!!
We are intentional to see each day as a celebration and to thank God for the people that He has placed in our lives. Grateful for the places we have seen, the people we have met along the way and the lives that have touched ours. We are truly blessed beyond measure.
I'm excited to see what will unfold in the next 20 years...
Tuesday, July 6, 2010
We have been home for one month this week. It is so hard to believe. I don't even know where to begin. This has been quite the journey...to say the least.
In looking over the process, there is something that has been so rich and actually sacred for me. I haven't written for that reason...and all the other reasons that come with having a teenager, tween and a toddler all under my care!
I want to explore my journal here, over the next few weeks, to give you just a glimpse of this truly amazing journey. For today, the word is grateful...
and pictures speak thousands of words...