The Mamas

I’ve learned that in trips and in life there are certain moments that lodge themselves deep within your heart.  I keep on the lookout for them and carry them in my heart.  They’re the parts that I look back on and say, “God, thank you. Thank you for placing a marker and making an altar here.”  I just know that He gives me these for the times when all seems bleak.  He calls us to remember and to stir up the passion.  When I look at my time in Rwanda, ever short it felt, I see a few of these moments that modeled my heart.

More often than not I’ll be found with the mamas and the babies.  I’ll sneak to the side where the mamas seem to be standing watching and holding the real tiny ones.  That’s when moments like this sneak into my heart…

On one of our last days in Rwanda, I found myself just standing next to this amazing, gorgeous woman with her adorable baby.  We couldn’t talk much without a translator but just being there and being present meant all the difference to me.  We stood to the side in an open building while the rainy season wrecked havoc just outside.  The wind was nothing to joke about either.  The rest of the group was off playing with a big group of kids–laughing, joking, taking pictures, having fun.  Now, I wouldn’t have minded being with them at all, but I definitely felt at home standing next to the group of three or four mamas watching with the tinies.  The watchful ones who don’t always get as much attention as their children.  The brave ones who walk miles with babies on their backs.  The ones with stories tucked away in their own hearts.  They challenge my heart and encourage me more than they know.  ❤

Dear Africa,

Thank you for letting me come home.  You always capture my heart and win me over.  You startle me.  You shake me. You make me smile.  You catch me laughing.  You tuck me into corners where I can be quiet and process like crazy.  You let me see the stars like never before.  You open my eyes to the ways we have good intentions but end up hurting anyway.  You’ve taught me to pray that I would help more than hurt.  You’ve challenged me to think outside of my black and white boxes.  You sure love teaching me to follow and honor instead of lead and criticize.  You teach me to wait and wait and wait and wait. You’re ready to welcome me home in His timing.  You sweep me up into all kinds of wonderfulness.  You are full of joy.  You help me reclaim bits of me that I’ve lost along the way. You teach me over and over to love deep and wide and big.  You’re home. I didn’t think you would be and sometimes I wish you weren’t because you make it hard to be away.  But, in the end, you’re the place that I come back to and the place that I love.  I can’t wait until I get to put my bare feet on your soil again.