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Time to Fight

9 May

Today is Mother’s Day and a red hot fire is burning in my heart.

This is not the first time that I have sat, with tears blurring my vision and words swimming in my heart, in front of my computer to try and sort through my mind and to share with all of you the emotions that threaten to swallow me whole. Okay, even for me, that was dramatic. But the sentiment remains. Mother’s Day brings something out of me and I’m just starting to understand what it is and why it is important.

As these feelings have been percolating beneath the surface over the course of the last week, I wasn’t sure where I was suppose to share them. To say that this blog is neglected and in need of an overhaul is an understatement. But the intention of me creating a place like The Cupcake Garden was to share with others about our adoption journey and to be a resource for those hoping to adopt from Africa as they navigate the ever changing waters of international adoption. However, because of the reality of what our journey has become, I have failed at maintaining any sort of conversation regarding our story and international adoption as a whole. Why? Because I have felt like a failure in our adoption and in most other areas of my life for quite a while now.

Now this all sounds very doom and gloom, but the truth is, I am beginning to feel victorious again. So why the need to update you and why again on Mother’s Day? Because maybe there are many of you, who like me, feel like you are failing and that you are watching from the sidelines as life happens around you; your power to live your life the way that you desire to has been taken from you and it is now time to stand up and take that power back.

For those of you who have read my other publications, you will know that mental illness has been a huge part of my life over the last number of years. It is heavy, it is often overwhelming and it is ugly. But my depression and anxiety do not define who I am. I am so many other things besides a victim of mental illness and it has taken me a long time to crawl back out of the dark pit that I lived in. I let my depression get the very best of me and I gave into the thoughts that consumed my everyday life.

For four and a half years now, our adoption has not been successful. To me, success equals my child in my arms. But as I share with you today, I realize that this journey has been leading me towards so much more than just my daughter. This journey is transforming me and my family. Obviously any life change or missions of this scope was bound to shape and mould us into new people. But I had no idea that this is where I would be, four and a half years after answering the very direct call that God had placed in my heart. I have known since before we set our hearts on this country that adoption was only the first step. Why on earth would God call us to love such a difficult and broken and corrupt country? Why do I have to care and hurt so much for a situation so far beyond my skills and capabilities to fix? Because this calling is bigger than me and God’s plan for my second home is all that matters.

Over the last year I have knowingly and willfully allowed my passion for our adoption, the country of our child’s birth and God’s calling in my heart to die. I ran as fast as I could away from it and filled my life with as many distractions and frivolities as I could. Nothing was happening and I was frustrated and angry and depression ruled my life. So why not just give up and walk away? The path of least resistance works for everyone else so why couldn’t I benefit from it too? Except that in running away from my passion and my calling, I was running away from myself.

Yes, I stopped fighting. I stopped praying. I stopped hoping. But all of that darkness and sadness has begun to transform me. I was taken out of the game because my dreams were too big and the enemy knows what will happen when I am done with being sorry for myself and I am in top fighting form. So slowly, over the past few months and then suddenly in the last week, I have emerged from my cocoon of self loathing and despair. In my separation from striving and caring, I began to reorganize my priorities and to rediscover the person that I truly want to be.

First of all, I took a step back and reassessed my health. I had let myself go and a large part of my coping mechanisms for my depression revolved around food and inactivity. This had to change. If you had told me a year ago that I would now revel and thrive in days built around my next workout and my need to eat as clean as possible I would have laughed in your face and probably punched you in the throat… this is an even funnier image to me now as my most favourite workouts of the week are kick boxing and MMA training. I savour the thought of become a harden and skilled fighter. Throwing punches and landing kicks makes my heart soar and I come out of each session wanting to try harder and to learn more.

Secondly, I had to let go of caring what other people thought of me. I needed to start living my life for me again and to think “screw you” to those who want to push me back into a box that suits their preferred comfort level. There are so many parts of my heart and soul and body that I have been ashamed of because they aren’t “normal”. But you know what, they are me. All of me. Yes, I love too hard and it freaks people out. I care too much and get my feelings hurt. I feel all of the things, all of the time and it is overwhelming; but it is me. I dream too big and suddenly the day to day seems like not enough. I lack balance in almost every area of my life. But that is me. I was made this way and it was time to stop being afraid of that. Am I going to embarrass people? Probably. Am I going to say crazy things because my passion goes before my reason? Always. Are people going to walk out of my life because I’m too much to handle or  they disagree with my decisions? Absolutely. But haters gonna hate and I don’t need your approval anymore. I am going to do what makes me happy and if you don’t like it, here’s the door. Bye Felicia! I am going to live my life in a way that is beneficial to me and to the overall wellness of my family.

Now, I am all for self love and embracing who I am, but I also recognize that self improvement and discipline are likewise necessary. I still have a long way to go and I know that God is still not done refining me. But I am so pleased to wake up each day, to look in the mirror and to gradually see what He sees. I am His daughter and He loves every part of me. The beautiful parts, the messy parts, the crazy parts. He put them all there for a reason and delights in my oddities, quirks and my love of T Rexes and their ridiculously small arms. He wants me to love until it hurts and to feel until it is purely ridiculous because that is who He made me to be.

Lastly, in all of my hibernation and pity parties, I have found what is most important to me. My girls are the light of my life and I would do anything to keep them safe and to make them happy. I may have failed at so many things – taking care of my body, growing professionally, becoming financially sound, keeping my house clean, being a good friend, sister, daughter, wife, or advocating for my adoption and the country I love and all the other things that I should be focusing on – but in this season, I felt as though I was thriving as a Mom. Regardless of the darkness that I faced, my girls and my love for them pierced through and brought me back to the land of living each day. I want to be my best for them and to show them by example what bravery and hard work can do in their lives. I honestly don’t think that they have any clue that I have struggled through the last few years. They have seen me cry and they knew that Mommy’s naps were important, but I have always been there for them and I hope that is all they remember.

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So as I approached this Mother’s Day, God was carefully cultivating a big picture lesson for me. All of these realizations have been building and taking root inside of me, making me stronger and wiser. But it wasn’t until my best friend forced me into a morning of sheer misery with him that the door in my heart, the part that was sheltering my passion and my drive, was kicked wide open.

Normally those close to me know better than to poke the feelings-bear that lives inside of me. If Erin feels the feels, some days life is just over. But as of late, I have told those feelings to shut the eff up and to sit in the to corner to think about what they’ve done. I have been stronger and more balanced and less emotional. But honestly, why test the waters? Because it was necessary and it was time. Whether or not he really knew what he was doing, it was time to see if Erin could cope with looking her dreams and calling in the eye again.

At his insistence, I listened to two hours of Joe Rogan interviewing Justin Wren about his life’s passion: The Mbuti Pygymies of the Congo. Is this my passion and calling? Nope. But could I connect and understand? 100%. Justin is an Mixed Martial Arts fighter who lived with depression and suicidal thoughts because of bullying as a young boy until he discovered wrestling and eventually success in MMA. Through a battle with drugs and the possibility of losing his career in MMA, Justin, through God’s divine leading, was called to love on the pygmy people in the Congo. His story and his sheer and pure love for these people is what broke the dam in my heart. This is how I was called to live. This is how I am suppose to move forward. We have been called to love the unloved and to fight for the forgotten. My heart does not live in the Congo but it does love a people who are oppressed and neglected and forgotten by the rest of the world. My heart longs to uplift the orphans of HIV/AIDS. I am called to be their voice and to champion their cause. I am called to fight. I was long ago given the title of becoming a Warrior. I think I am ready to take up that mantel and to fight.

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As I tried to rush towards a deadline for work through my hot and righteous tears this last week, all I could think of to express my feelings was this picture from our trip to Africa.

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This will stand out as the single greatest and most clarifying experience I had while meeting the orphans I will give my life for in Zimbabwe. People constantly asked me if Africa was everything I thought it would be or if anything took me by surprise. Knowing the reality of the state of the country as we went in was a huge benefit to us. Nothing was that shocking. I was very aware of what the lives of the orphans looked like before we had a chance to spend time with them. As I have shared before, being there was like coming home. I felt so at peace and whole while there. There were only two things that shook me during our entire stay.

  1. Disney lied to us. Hyenas are enormous and truly terrifying. I have never felt an animal look into my soul the way those hyenas did.
  2. The moment this picture was taken clarified my calling for me and showed me God’s heart for these orphans. We were asked to come and “teach” in a bridging school run by one of the local churches. Even with my degree (I had planned to be a kindergarten teacher at one point…) and J-Sauce’s love for math, we felt like we had so little to offer these eager little hearts and minds. But we were not going to run away from a challenge. So we spent the morning working on reading and writing English and teaching them new ways to count and multiply. After lunch, the teacher asked us if we would teach them some Canadian games. I wracked my brain and came up with “What Time Is It Mr. Wolf?”. Explaining what a wolf was and why this was a Canadian game took some time, but we won them over and were soon laughing and running and chasing one another. To repay us for our efforts, they children wanted to share one of their favourite games. We sat together with them in the field in a big circle. The teacher began to sing a song about the months of the year. When the month you were born in was sung, you would get up and dance. The teacher in me was thrilled to get the kids involved and to have everyone dancing; participation was always a huge component of my piano classes. So as the song went on, the teacher in me was perturbed that not all the kids were participating. By the time November rolled around an it was my turn, I gave it my all and danced with delight. And yet, so many little people sat staring at me with complacency and wouldn’t dance. It wasn’t until the teacher began to sing of a month that I had never heard of after December that the reality sank in – they were not participating because they didn’t want to. They were not dancing because most of them didn’t know when they were born. They were orphans of HIV/AIDS or other diseases, abandonment and the harsh reality of the struggle to raise a child in that country. This bold and ugly truth hit my heart like a freight train and the tears began to fall. I thought I knew what it meant to be an orphan, but it had never occurred to me that they didn’t know when they were born. As the teacher sang about this month that is made up to include all of the orphans who don’t know when their birthday is, I stood with them all and sang and danced with so much pain and wonder and love in my heart. J-Sauce snapped this picture as we danced without knowing what had just happened in my heart. Moments later, our ride arrived and it was time to say goodbye to my new friends. They ran and swarmed me with hugs and kisses and I was able to hide my tears in this goodbye. But what had just taken place would change my heart forever and I have never been the same. The call to fight was issued and it was now up to me to decide what to do.

Is it any wonder that MMA fills my heart with passion? Why did I need to be so weak for so long? Why did I sit on the sidelines and let my dreams go by? Because I needed to be built back up. I needed to become stronger. I needed to be mothered.

As I scrolled through my Instagram and Facebook feeds this morning, I tried to wrap my head around how to best honour the mothers in my life. I (yes, me, 2000 words deep…) was at a loss for words to best express how much the world needs mothers.

I will forever be grateful for my Mom and her unwavering love. I am who I am because of a Grandmother who faithfully and wondrously prayed for every member of her family each morning. I am uplifted constantly by loving aunts and cousins and sisters and Mama friends. In my darkness and my despair, I was weak. But in a moments notice, a few words would bring strength from a friend and my heart would be soothed by God’s mothering spirit through these people. I needed to know what it really meant to become the mother I am suppose to be. There are so many women (AND men!!) in my life who have been pure examples of a mothering heart. I do not care if you are an earthly mother, a heavenly mother, a pet mother or simply a good friend with compassion and understanding in your heart – you, yes you reading this –  you have been a mother to me and I am so grateful for you. You all are the true light in my life. My darkness cannot stand because of you, your light and your presence in my life.

It is now time for me to stand back up and to fight. I am a warrior. Me and freaking MMA are going to get this shit done. My passion doesn’t need to be your passion. I just need you to be in my corner as I, fueled by my crazy feelings, run yelling and screaming at the injustice of the unmothered and the unloved. I will fight because it is who I was made to be. You don’t have to fight with me, just please cheer me on.

Your dreams and callings are just as important and I want to cheer you on. Please tell me the big and scary Goliaths that live in your heart and I will mother you until you are ready to stand and face them. If you have no idea what a mother’s love looks or feels like, please shoot me a message. I will do my best to love on you as a mother or to find you your tribe so they can do the same.

And if you have held on this long through my ramblings… bless your heart. Here is an adoption update. Things are happening. Things are moving. “Roadblocks” have been forcefully removed by government officials. Our child will be with us. We just have no timeline. My heart has so much more peace because of the journey we have endured over the last four and a half years. All of this truly rests in God’s timing and I am willing to wait on Him. Until then, I will train and then I will fight.

Please begin to check back in with us and to ask questions. I would love nothing more than to share my passion with you. And please, please, PLEASE check out Fight for the Forgotten and Justin’s story. I have now added meeting and working with him to my bucket-list… because of course I have.

And to you my Tiny Potato, this is all your fault. You blew on the embers in my heart and now it has returned to an all consuming fire. So now, you either must help me to contain it or you must blow on it until it spreads. There’s no escaping it.

Thanks for allowing me to share and I wish you all a very loving and blessed Mother’s Day.

 

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Shake It Out

3 Aug

In my day to day life people often stop me to ask how things are going. How are the girls? How is work? How is the adoption going…… any news?

These are fair and honest questions. I often have things to share about school, dance, new job opportunities and the few morsels of news we have heard from the adoption agency. But sometimes I have nothing. So I find myself sharing something else; something unexpected but also truly necessary. I begin to share with them what The Lord has been speaking to me, teaching me and guiding me through over the last few days, months or even years.

Allow me to preface this by explaining that I am far from being a perfect example of a “Christian”. I struggle to make time to read my Bible, I listen to music with swear words in them, I occasionally swear, I enjoy a drink from time to time….. I could do a lot to clean up my outward persona.

However, in all of my imperfections, there are a few things that I cling to in my understanding and my relationship with God. Daily, in my mundane and often frustrating existence, I constantly seek His voice. I do find myself in constant prayer, looking for Him around every corner and in every moment. I long to be close to Him and to feel His peace. My heart desires nothing more than to know Him better. And sometimes, in all of my mistakes and worldliness, I am fortunate enough to hear His still small voice and know that I am not too far off the path that He has for me.

This may seem bewildering to you. “How do you hear the voice of God?” And I wish that I had a defined answer for you…..

Sometimes, very rarely, there is something that moves inside of me. Something stirs in my very core, my heart and soul. It shakes me so hard that I cannot deny that THAT in fact was the voice of God. This was my experience when I received the call to pursue an international adoption. There was no denying what I felt and what I needed to do. I could not imagine ever finding a sense of peace within myself had we not decided to journey down this path. Of course it is terrifying and filled with unknowns, but at every fork in the road or obstacle, that moment with The Lord carries me through.

That type of experience has been rare though. And for the most part, I am glad. It is intense and earth shattering and forever alters the way you live. Most of the time I hear the voice of God in a much more subtle way. I hear the voice of God in music (yes, even the secular stuff, filled with hurt and longing for love) and in art. I see The Lord’s beauty and majesty in colours and in the absence of colour. I feel Him in nature. I think this is why I love the Spring so much. I find Him in deep and intimate conversations with close friends where the things I have been struggling with are discussed and my fears are reassured and calmed. It is in the everyday and the unassuming that I most frequently hear the voice of God guiding me and directing me.

So where am I headed with this? How about my tattoos.

Those who know me well know about my body art and my love for tattoos. Ever since I was 11 or 12 years old, I knew that I wanted a tattoo (or many, many tattoos!). And many of you also know my family. This desire has always been a struggle. I love my parents and understand their perception of tattoos (and piercings) so I waited a very long time before I did anything. But each of my tattoos has come from a very personal message or vision that The Lord has shared with me. Some are straightforward. My maiden name in honour of my Grandparents when my Grandfather passed was an easy, spur of the moment decision. I love my family dearly and I chose to grieve that loss by carrying them with me for the rest of my life.

Every time I make the decision to get a new tattoo or a piercing, I walk away feeling more like myself and the person God created me to be. I still understand why I am met by resistance and head shakes from my family (J-Sauce hates them too). But I feel like I am better equipped to face the world and to share my story. A huge part of that is my tattoos.

So this brings us to this week.

Life has been hard and difficult and uncomfortable and relentless…… as it often is. I feel as though I have been surrounded by bad news or conflict everyday. People around me receive bad news and I feel it so intensely. We find roadblocks or delays in the adoption and it is devastating. My natural inclination is to head to bed every night and complain to God that its not fair. But I find that reaction starting to change as He gently speaks to me and listens to my whining and complaining.

We were never promised that life would be fair. In fact Jesus promised us that we would constantly face adversity and hardship. So I find my new reaction to disappointment and bad news to be, “You only get a little time to be upset about this and then you must move on”. I am shocked with myself and, of course, this is easier said than done. But I do feel myself being able to grieve, to hand it over to The Lord and to move on with my life. My wonderful, beautiful, amazing, colourful and blessed life. I have so much to be thankful for that I truly have no reason to hold onto any disappointment for too long.

So in my very brief and punctuated grieving this week, I decided to get a new tattoo. This design is so completely me and I was thrilled with the outcome.

Years ago, while watching How I Met Your Mother, The Lord spoke to me through an episode and a song. (Yep, even in TV shows…..). Ted once again admits his love for Robin. But this time Robin denies his attempt to make something more out of their friendship. She instead asks him to promise that they will hold onto their deal – that if they make it to 40 and are still single they will marry. Ted takes a huge step and bravely says, “No. I can’t wait around and hope that one day I’ll win the lottery and that we’ll finally be together”. Essentially, as long as that deal stood, he would find something wrong with every other relationship he pursued. So long as he had a foot in the door with Robin, no one else would ever measure up. So he had to let her go.

As the episode ends, Ted is standing on their roof (with a fake New York skyline in behind him….. le sigh) and “Shake it Out” by Florence and the Machine starts to play. As Ted exits the bar later on, with the song still playing, it begins to rain. He takes out his black umbrella and opens it. As he steps out onto the street, everyone else walks past…..with their yellow umbrellas.

The yellow umbrella has been the long standing symbol of him finding “The Mother”. Because Ted has been willing to let go of any future that he might have with Robin, everyone has now become an opportunity. Anyone could now be “The Mother”. He can allow himself to fall in love with someone else and to truly be happy.

I cry as I type this out (and every time I explain it to people) because the message hit me so hard. When you let go of the things that hold you in place – regrets, past actions or relationships, hurt feelings and disappointment – everything else in front of you becomes an opportunity; an opportunity to love, to find joy, to be thankful, to share your story.

This message strikes so much deeper in my heart than I will ever be able to fully explain, but I think that this little portion is enough to express what God has been doing in my heart and my life lately.

I walked into my tattoo shop with just a rough outline and pure optimism. What Sasha created is more than I ever could have hoped for. (And a rainbow on Pride weekend! How perfect!) It is everything that I need and wanted it to be. I love it and am willing to share that part of my story with you.

Shake It Out

 

When life gets me down and things happen that break my heart, I have a good reminder to shake it out and hand it over to The Lord. If I let it go, I can then stand and wait for His still small voice to guide me towards my next yellow umbrella.

 

This song breaks me. She is amazing. I can’t get enough of this performance. That dress, her voice, the choir……gah! So good.

When Mother’s Day is Difficult

11 May

Coffee, breakfast in bed, cards, flowers, brunch with Grandmothers, extra cuddles and “I Love You’s”. Everything that a day designed to celebrate being a Mother or having a Mother should be. But why does it hurt so much this year?

I have a few theories.

Over the last few years, we have had many families close to us experience the unimaginable loss of a child. Whether through an accident or illness, we seem to be unable to go very long without hearing of another Mother having to say goodbye to her beautiful child. I do not and will not ever understand how someone is able to withstand such a heartbreaking situation.

Thankfully, many of the women (and men) that I have watched walk through this devastation have done so with a tremendous amount of love, inspiration and hope. This is not to say that the emotions they feel are not overwhelming, heavy and very real; however they have graciously shared their journey and daily realities with those around them and they have leaned on the ever present shoulder of a loving God. I am continually amazed by the strength with which these parents draw from to face a world that is forever missing an important piece. I do not share these things to be heavy and depressing, but rather to honour these wonderful people in my life who have shown me what true love and pure hope looks like. My life is forever changed as a daughter and as a Mother because of these people and their journeys. I love a little harder, laugh a little longer and cry a little more openly just for them. Mother’s Day is different for me now in the light of their stories.

Likewise, it was a year ago that I stood in front of our church congregation and joyfully exclaimed that J-Sauce and I would be travelling to Africa for the first time. Because of the newly developing protocol in the country we are involved with, it was necessary for us to make that trip with the hope of being able to see things move along with our adoption. And while it was a gift in our adoption story and we were both forever changed by it…… It was a year ago. Another year has come and gone. We still have no news on our child. How is this possible?

Mama and Babe

I could take the time to speak of hope and trust and belief in The Lord’s timing (which I still firmly hold on to) but my heart just isn’t in it today. It physically hurts my heart to hope at this time.

But that’s okay because I know that this journey is not finished yet and there is work yet to be done in my own life before this child will join us and will call me Mommy.

As I ponder that day, sometimes hourly or even minute by minute, I am reminded of another very important reality involved in this story. And I feel horrifically selfish.

I am not the only Mother in this story. There is another. She will carry this child within her womb. She will hope and dream and worry about the hows and the whys and the whos for her child as it grows and moves within her belly. She might pray and beg The Lord for guidance. She is likely alone, scared, angry or disgusted by her situation. She maybe my age or she may only be child herself. Whatever the details of her life may be, there is one thing for certain: she will make a very difficult decision and her precious baby will one day become mine.

We will probably never know this Mother, but even now I am eternally tied to her. I may never be able to thank her for the beautiful gift that I will be given, but I will love her all the same.

Today is Mother’s Day and I am unable to put into actual English words the love that I have for my precious, sparkling and unique girls. This is a daily existence for me. I am forever thankful that I have been chosen to be their Mother for as long as God will allow me. But my heart and soul is torn. It is torn for Mother’s who will not be able to hold their children today. It is torn for the women who make the selfless decision to allow someone else to raise their treasures. It is torn for the women who long to become Mother’s and yet continue to be unable to do so. I have no answers for these feelings and that is alright. I think they are important feelings to have and to explore, however uncomfortable they are.

All I can do today, as my heart has moments of sadness, is to hang onto the promises of God and to trust in His good and perfect will. If I did not have that hope, I don’t know how else I could face this very difficult Mother’s Day.

A Waiting Bunny

Day Five

28 May

Forgive me for not posting last night. We had the wonderful fortune of spending the evening with some lovely friends and did not make it back to our lodging until late. I’m sorry, but I’m not sorry. We had a fantastic evening!

Because most of our intense adoption meetings are behind us, J-Sauce and I get to just be tourists and extra pairs of hands where ever we are needed. So Tuesday was Safari Day!! Yay animals in Africa. We went to The Lion and Cheetah Park…. where they have no Cheetahs.

Taking a look.

Taking a look.

Om nom nom, cow butt.

Om nom nom, cow butt.

Going for a little walk.

Going for a little walk.

Really big birds with attitude.....

Really big birds with attitude…..

Hello, I'm an Eland.

Hello, I’m an Eland.

Big kitties, big turtles.

Big kitties, big turtles.

Friends and Turtles, that's pretty cool.

Friends and Turtles, that’s pretty cool.

Ya know, just petting a lion, no big deal.

Ya know, just petting a lion, no big deal.

Nice kitty, kitty.....

Nice kitty, kitty…..

Someone is waaaay more brave than I.

Someone is waaaay more brave than I.

Just taking a little snooze.

Just taking a little snooze.

Literally only five feet away!!

Literally only five feet away!!

After our adventure in the wild, we went for coffee at the least African place possible, just to change things up 😉

Its like we were meant to be here.

Its like we were meant to be here.

Then was dinner and a lot of laughs. It was so nice to have a day to relax and truly enjoy our surroundings and new friends. And tomorrow is another day with more adventure waiting for us! Thanks again for checking in 🙂

Day Three

26 May

Today is Sunday! So we went to church. It was everything that I had always imagined that church in Africa would be.

Except for the Sunday school teacher. That was unexpected. Because it was me…..

Sharing one of my favourite Bible Stories; Noah's Ark. They told it better than I did.

Sharing one of my favourite Bible Stories; Noah’s Ark. They told it better than I did.

They were better listeners than any Sunday School class I have ever taught before!

They were better listeners than any Sunday School class I have ever taught before!

Beautiful, beautiful rainbows!

Beautiful, beautiful rainbows!

I wanted to share about Noah’s Ark for one specific reason, and for those of you who know me even a little bit should not be surprised by that reason. Rainbows. I love rainbows! Not only are they rare (at least in our part of the world) and magical and awe inspiring, they represent something so much bigger. They are a symbol of God’s promises in our lives. I tried to get the kids excited about God’s promises for their lives such as love, friendship, His faithfulness and so on, but not much seemed to spark their interest. Clearly I am no Terry B. or Katy L. While a part of that is definitely the language barrier, only the older kids speak any English, the other factor is the reality of the situation that these kids face everyday. They definitely understand the concepts of God’s word (their memory verse work is incredible!) but it is difficult for them to comprehend the actuality of peace and prosperity and many other of God’s promises to us. This is a sobering realization.

So I shared with them one of God’s promises in my life. I shared with them that God had promised me the opportunity to one day come and meet them and play with them and love on them. And that today, they were witnessing a promise fulfilled. This seemed to please them, or at least to be enough for them to grasp. I also shared with them the hope that rainbows represent. Hope, no matter your circumstance, is universal. There is always hope.

That is the sole reason as to why J-Sauce and I are here.

Everyone love candy! Everyone loves J-Sauce, the candy man.

Everyone loves candy! Everyone loves J-Sauce, the candy man.

The rest of the morning was the church service, singing, dancing, praising the Lord, sharing God’s word. Our hearts are full. Then came more chances to serve the people and the children of the church. Not all of the children here are orphans, but a good percentage of them are.

Playing Hot Potato

Playing Hot Potato

Getting ready for Lunch.

Getting ready for Lunch.

Dad passing out new jackets.

Dad passing out new jackets.

They posed me for this. They did all the work. But what a good workout!

They posed me for this. They did all the work. But what a good workout!

Maybe one of my favourite ways to serve: washing hands.

Maybe one of my favourite ways to serve: washing hands.

Serving up some sedza.

Serving up some sedza.

Lunch in the shade.

Lunch in the shade.

Just chillin'.

Just chillin’.

Comfy spot to sit.

Comfy spot to sit.

So excited about her new jacket from Canada.... which the kids think is entirely covered in sow, 100% of the time.

So excited about her new jacket from Canada…. which the kids think is entirely covered in snow, 100% of the time.

Girls here are the same as girls in Canada. Nothing makes you smile more than a pair of new jeans that fir perfectly!

Girls here are the same as girls in Canada. Nothing makes you smile more than a pair of new jeans that fit perfectly!

Sorting out new baby clothes.

Sorting out new baby clothes.

Never too young to start soccer.

Never too young to start soccer.

This evening we are resting up as we have more meetings with the government in the morning. Fingers crossed and prayers said, we hope that these meetings will move things forward and at least get the process started here before we head home on Saturday.

We are missing our beautiful Princess and Cupcake so much, but they gave us their permission to love and hug and kiss all the children who needed it before we came home to them. I truly hope that one day they understand the reason why we had to be apart for some time and what this time ultimately means for our family.

And hope is what its all about.