Mar 11, 2015

Dancing Through It All

By nature I long for consistency and am typically content with the status quo. For example, I think I've eaten yogurt and granola for breakfast out of the same clear glass tumbler almost every morning for upwards of five months running now… and I love it. When I find a TV show, an artist, an author or band that I enjoy, I am all in. I want to ingest every thing about said program, artist, author or band (thanks IMDB and Pinterest) and I will stick with them to the bitter or disappointing end (I'm talking to you, Veronica Roth). I wear my favorite shoes until they are all together finished, holes through the soles and all. 

Sometimes I marvel at the fact that despite my original operating system that longs for consistency God has called me to a life that revolves around transitions, adjustments and an endless line of changes. I am grateful and humbled to say that my good, good Father has continued to recreate my heart with a willingness to welcome hellos that that will surely end in bittersweet goodbyes. He has given me peace to invest in relationships that automatically have an expiration date of the nearness and proximity I instinctively long for. 

In the last two weeks God has held me tight as I walked through some pretty significant transitions. Last week (after Baby P's adoption) we returned a sweet little princess baby E back to her biological family. Baby E is a little one who was identified in our community as someone who was in desperate need of intervention and TLC. Although she is not a candidate for adoption we invited Baby E to come stay with us for one month in an effort identify her immediate needs, set her on road to health and help support her family to care for her with the proper tools needed for her survival. For the last month we've been able to see her grow and blossom in to a happy and settled baby… she put on over 1 kg and learned some new skills including rolling over and chatting regularly. I was able to work with her parents with a return plan that includes weekly check ins and donations of needed supplies. Although she was only with us for a month it was a difficult goodbye to say. God continues to pull me into deeper waters of obedience where I have to cling to Him more tightly and trust Him more completely. Loving on Baby E and returning her to circumstances that I cannot control has been difficult and honestly I'm still working thorough it. Here are some "before and after" shots of Baby E. 

We also celebrated our 11th adoption just this week! Big girl E was placed into the arms of her patient, loving and ridiculously adorable mommy and daddy on Monday. Big girl E is funny, sweet and reserved little lady who had her Aunties praying fervently for a peaceful and tear-free placement. We were fortunate enough to be able to do her placement at the house and after she said her goodbyes to her Aunties I was able to spend the next hour slowing introducing her to mommy and daddy. As I slowly inched further from our girl her parents slowly moved closer and by the time they climbed into the car to leave she completely herself, chatting and smiling as they drove away. God answered our  worldwide prayers for a contented girl who felt safe enough to leave with her new family without any tears or anxiety! 

My most recent goodbye happened today… I had one last lunch (for now) with my sister and dear friend, Lisa. Lisa and I moved to Johannesburg within days of each other to volunteer at Door of Hope. I was planning being here for a year and she was just going to be here for six months. I persuaded her to stay for a year and then God called us to both stay indefinitely! We served together side by side at Door  of Hope, linking arms and serving through the highest of highs and the lowest of lows. Words cannot rightly describe the myriad of seasons God has allowed us to walk through together… all the while seeking to see God glorified in each one. She has been a fabulous assistant, a splendid roommate, a faithful friend, a beautiful bride and now she is moving (with her delightful husband) back to the US to work on her Masters Degree in Social Work. She is married to a South African so I know we'll have them back at some point in time but I will miss having my "South African" sister just a 45 minute drive away! 

One of my recently favorite author, Shauna Neiquist shares in her newest devotional "Savor: Living Abundantly Where You Are, As You Are":

“Everything is interim. Everything is a path or a preparation for the next thing, and we never know what the next thing is. Life is like that, of course, twisty and surprising. But life with God is like that exponentially. We can dig in, make plans, write in stone, pretend we're not listening, but the voice of God has a way of being heard. It seeps in like smoke or vapor even when we've barred the door against any last-minute changes, and it moves us to different countries and different emotional territories and different ways of living. It keeps us moving and dancing and watching, and never lets us drop down into a life set on cruise control or a life ruled by remote control. Life with God is a dancing dream, full of flashes and last-minute exits and generally all the things we've said we'll never do. And with the surprises comes great hope.”

Lord, may I see every transition, each and every goodbye as a surprise filled with great hope… as an invitation to dance with You into the colors of each and every dusk you give me! 

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