So I have a half written blog post in my drafts that I will be deleting as soon as I finish this one.
It was all about how miserable things are. HA! Which is funny, because things aren’t really miserable at all. Things are actually quite good. But the past couple of days I was in a funk and ended up writing a not so cheery post last night. (and thankfully not publishing it! my dad would have been on the next plane to Uganda to bring me home with my negative nancy thoughts.)
So instead of focusing on the bad, I’m writing about the good today. The things I’m thankful for. I know Thanksgiving is in November, but think of it as a early Thankgiving. (and my only thanksgiving. thanks pilgrims for not coming to Uganda. ;])
I’m so very thankful:
For God. For being so faithful everyday when I am so not. For walking beside me and giving me exactly what my heart desires. And for making my heart desire Africa. For protecting me but not allowing me to be content with “the safe”. For the past six months of growth in our relationship, and for revealing yourself to me in new incredible ways everyday. For reminding me that you are with me always and I’m never actually alone. For the Bible. Your incredible word. For each and every story in the Bible. For Esther and her being ready “for such a time as this”. For books like “Radical” “Secure in Everlasting Arms” “Crazy Love” and “Jesus Calling”. For pulling me away from my little world so I could get a glimpse of your big plan with right perspective. For allowing me to get caught up and lost in the world so I could turn and run to you and understand how good You truly are. For being the one who says “Come unto ME and I will give you rest” and waits patiently as I run around trying to find rest everywhere but there until I end up exhausted where you were all along, quietly whispering that it is YOU that I was looking for. (No picture to go with that one. I just can’t find one that does You justice.)
For Africa. For Uganda. For Kampala and Wakiso Town. For parts of the world that don’t make sense to me but find a place in my heart. For poverty and the ability to live and thrive on so much less. For finding joy in the little things. For the things that work smoothly and the parts that I won’t ever understand. For the frustrations that lead me to prayer and the prayer that leads to the realization of His power. For the lessons I learn in difficulties. For the love all around. For God’s provision in matters like propane and surgeries and illness and absent teachers and traffic.
For Rafiki. For the incredible job that is done caring for each and every one of these kids. For the ROS. For the fun that they have shown me. For the lessons they have taught. For finding “spiritual lessons” in everything. For Mike and Carolyn and that they would give up their lives to serve for the past ten years. For Cecilia and Stan and the way they keep things running and are selfless in serving in jobs that aren’t always the most uplifting or rewarding. For Patti in her first few weeks here and the adventures we have already had.
For the children. Each and every one of them. Beautiful children and still children all the same. For their bright spirits and incredible ability to make a tough day so worth it. For teaching me more than I could ever teach any of them. For the smiles they so willingly share and the love they pour out. For each and every one of them being at Rafiki. For a God that works through awful situations to bring glory to His name. For the stories. The good and the bad. For the staff. For loving on the children and the mini-missionaries alike. For the teachers. For a Christian education for each of the children. For the day students. Even the ones that are hard to deal with. For projects–completed and in the works. For keeping busy but also having time to reflect and live. For not being too busy to hear God for one of the first times in my life.
For my family. For my Dad. For letting me follow God 8000 miles away from his doorstep, because I know that’s not an easy thing to do. For my Mom. For joining me for the first two weeks and getting me settled and leaving me here. For encouragement for when I need it and when I don’t. For my sister. Hannah. For listening to my ridiculous stories and reacting just the way I was hoping you would. For choosing to be a teacher. Because I have quickly realized how hard it is, and respect you all the more for that. For my little brother. Because you’re awesome and you actually emailed me today. That gives you like 1000 points in my book. For my grandparents and aunts and uncles and cousins. For the love and support that you immediately showered upon me after hearing about my trip and the continued support. For loving me. Always.
For everyone who supported me and continues to support me. For there being a reason for me to write so many thank you notes (a lot more than I have a picture of!). For the cards and notes and newspaper articles and letters and emails and facebook messages. For encouragement. For prayers. So many prayers. Each one answered in its own way.
For my First Pres OS family. For the sweet words of encouragement and financial support for this kind of crazy but definitely right decision of my life. For loving me and these sweet children from far away. For choosing Rafiki, a place so near and dear to my heart, to give Christmas gifts to this year. For loving me because of your love for my family, many who I don’t even know well. For what God is doing in the life of the church in terms of missions and the excitement that comes with that.
For my wonderful boyfriend, JT. For loving Jesus. For being so excited about God’s plans and putting Him first. For never discouraging me from this or any of my dreams, but instead sticking by me through it no matter how far away from you it takes me. For our stream of emails and Skype conversations. For listening to me and never telling me exactly how ridiculous I sound. For praying for me.
For my friends. For Kristen. My roommate. I think I’ll still be calling you “my roommate” when we are married with families. For being that person for me. The one I have cried and screamed and laughed with. I miss Gunter 106 but am excited for more adventures when I get back. For Hannah and Jennifer. For making me laugh. All the time. For keeping me in the loop of MC and being such an encouragement. For keeping life fun. For all my friends. For prayers to Jesus on my behalf. For sweet Facebook comments and emails and blog comments that have made each day (even the ones I haven’t replied to! sorry!).
For Laguna. My sisters. For each and every one of you wonderful girls and the encouragement you are. For your willingness to put together a box of happies for the kids here. For making me so proud of everything you (we) are, even a continent away. For throwing what you know, being loud and proud, and bleeding blue.
For MC and Pinelake and my life in Clinton. That God has blessed me with a place I desire to return to but has put me in a place where I’m content to stay.
And for so much more…
I read on a blog a few months ago where someone said they were trying to live their lives as if the only things they would have the next day were the things they thanked God for the day before. I know I probably forgot a thousand things I’m thankful for, but I think I’d have a pretty good life if these were the only things that I had tomorrow. (Well.. and then I’m thankful for planes too. Because I do want to get home eventually. :])
What are you thankful for today? Focus on those things.