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Chaos and presence

It's been difficult to sit down and write and capture what has been happening since leaving America and arriving in Uganda. Moving across the world with 3 young children doesn't leave much time for reflection. But arriving to a team who met us with hugs and water, cleaned every nook and cranny of our new house, decorated each room with hand-picked bouquets of fresh flowers, and stocked the kitchen with homemade pumpkin bread, fresh eggs, and pancake mix makes for an easier landing.


I don't know what I was expecting, and I was ready to elbow my way through the transition process. But it was immediately clear I wouldn't have to. We're on a team of people who know how to love well.


Each day of our first week in our new house in Bundibugyo, we had our new neighbors and teammates delivering meals to us. Either that, or we went to their houses.


During the days we began the work of unpacking our fleet of luggage, organizing where best to put things, and trying to settle.


I told Mike the other day, "I just can't wait for the day when everything is off the floor, and everything in the kitchen is perfect, and the rest of the house is organized, and we can just sit and feel... settled."


He raised his eyebrows and laughed as he walked across the room, almost tripping on a few Magnatile creations.


"But have we ever had that?" he asked.


He's right.


I have this yearning- for order amidst the chaos, for a sense of permanent peace and calm in the middle of this upheaval, mess, and constant activity. For a kitchen counter that stays clean, smooth, and perfectly wiped down at all times. For a kids play space that's inspiring to me and to them. For a garden with robust tomatoes and a bed that's made each day.


But as much as completely uprooting and starting to make a new home elsewhere has definitely provoked these longings into the forefront of my mind and heart- I have to admit this pathway of thinking is a well worn and treacherous path for me.


If I can just get to this certain point...then I can...


If I can just get the dishes done, then I can pick him up.

If I can just get these clothes folded, then I can go outside and talk with them.

If I can just get through this afternoon heat, then I can be in a better mood.


And then I'm reminded of the reality we've moved into when Mike tells me we need to come up with a better waste system.

"Kids are digging through our backyard trash, pulling out food scraps that have been with Boston's dirty diapers."


It doesn't take much to restore perspective. Just a small dose of reality.


That clean kitchen counter I'm dreaming of? While kids are sucking on who knows what from a pit filled with a week of my son's gastrointestinal issues?


I was sharing with our team leader that I was feeling the urge to get things in order, so that I can start to get all the other parts of my life in order too. You know, get the house organized, get the kids situated, learn the places to buy things and how to cook them, how to get around, pay electricity and phone bills, proactively deal with pest issues/power outages/water shortages, get comfortable with some basic Lubwisi, etc. etc.


If I can just get to this certain point...then I can...


What?


In talking to her, I found myself attaching my hope to my future nursing work.


If I can just get all this other stuff in order, then I can start what Ive come here (partly) to do.


But seeing the way we have been loved these last few weeks by our teammates and 1 Ugandan woman in particular, I'm also reminded of the God who lives in the ordinary. Who desires to meet us in the mundaneness of everyday life. Who wants to be acknowledged, relied upon, and delighted in amidst every part of each day, and who never requires us to polish up before we do.


I marvel at how certain people are so busy here, with so many demands, yet they make you feel completely seen and heard when you are with them. That is Christ, in them.


That is a spirit less concerned with getting to a certain point in life and more concerned with the life in front of them.


I desire more of that. To wake and trust that the Lord knows what He is doing with my days (because He does!), to stop the striving towards my version of perfection and control, and to fully enter in to whatever He has for me in whatever form it comes.  Lord help me to pick up the baby, talk to the neighbor, find my stability in you.

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