It's 5:30am on our last day in Uganda. It's not productive for me to be up this early. There's no power, and it's no use trying to pack those last few things by candlelight. But my head is just too full to let me sleep longer... or maybe my heart's too full. Many people have asked me the last few days about how I feel about leaving. I don't think I can give a good answer to that unless the person inquiring is in the mood to sit and listen to me talk for an hour. (I've only subjected Thomas to that.) And, the truth is, I am tired myself of analyzing all of my emotions on the subject.
But, I've determined that there is one emotion that overrides all the other fickle ones.
If I could express anything before I get on that plane, it would be how incredibly grateful I am. I'm grateful to Watoto as an organization for allowing us to serve with them for the past four years. Child-care ministry is messy, but it is beautiful and Christ-like. We believe in what is happening on these villages, and will continue to find creative ways to love and support Watoto from across the ocean.
I'm grateful for the many, many friends here that make saying goodbye so difficult. We have been showered with home-made gifts, cards, and hugs for the last few days. Beyond the souvenirs in my suitcases, we are taking with us some life-long friendships. What a treasure! It makes the leaving painful, but I'm thankful our hearts are so knitted to this community.
I'm grateful for all the unique memories that our family has been able to make here.
I'm grateful for all the ways we have been stretched and tested, and to find out again and again that His grace is enough.
I'm grateful to God that He was so gracious to even give us this season in the first place. He has protected us - we've had no major illnesses and only petty things stolen. He has allowed our children to thrive here. I can't even begin to know all the ways that our time here has shaped our family! There are so many good gifts in my life right now, and I have to acknowledge that He is the giver of ALL of them!
I'm grateful for the next adventure and the opportunity to see God be faithful in new ways.
I'm grateful for the peace I have in my heart that, even though leaving is hard, it is right.
I'm even grateful for these 10 suitcases that have given me such a headache for the past week. I'm grateful for the pile of stuff we are leaving behind. They all represent an chance to simplify and be reminded once again that we don't NEED as much as we think we do.
And I'm grateful for you who might be reading this. So many people have loved us, prayed for us, and supported us for this season of our lives. Such a blessing beyond words.
I know I could continue to gush on and on except for the fact that my computer battery is at 18%. I want this posted before it's too late! (so, you are spared my hour-long dissertation.) Just like the song bird I can hear outside my window right now ushering in the sunrise, I felt I must sing out a bit of the song in my heart. Because sunrises are beautiful things.