****I started this post before I left for Uganda but am now just finishing after being in Uganda for several weeks.****
I feel lighter.
As the day gets closer, I somehow feel lighter. I am not sure why, because the responsibilities are just beginning and some of the hardest days are probably ahead. But it feels different. It is frightening and exciting all at the same time. I can't believe that in a few short days, I will get to see the kids again.
Maybe that's why. Because I feel like I am finally getting to go home after a really hard time away.
It has been the hardest year and a half. Lots of ups and downs but I finally see an end in sight. It was a strange place to be in all year because I completely believed that if God wanted me back, he would and could raise the money I needed overnight. And that left me questioning so many things. Was this really what God wanted from me? How could He bring these kids into my life and then keep us apart? If I am not supposed to be in Uganda, what should I be doing? When is enough enough and I should just call it quits?
There were many days when I felt like giving up and was certain that I was not supposed to be in Uganda. But I trusted that God had a good plan for me and tried to be patient. Every time i doubted, I got confirmation that Uganda was where I needed to be.
Because I believed that if God wanted me back in Uganda, I would be back it left me questioning why I wasn't. Now that so much time has passed and I can step away from the situation, I can see why. There were lessons to be learned. Things had to happen.
I decided to start this project before it was fully funded. Probably one of the craziest decisions I have ever made in my life. When we started, we had one person committed to giving $50 a month! Looking back, I have no idea what I was thinking or why i thought that was a good idea. All I knew was that I loved the boys more than anything and it broke my heart to see them on the streets. I knew I couldn't return to the US while they stayed on the streets, worrying each day if they were ok. It was a crazy decision but definitely one of the best of my life. It was amazing to see God showing up day after day for us. I learned to trust Him fully and completely and He never disappointed. He always provided and always made a way for us. I learned it is ok to dream big when following Jesus and what it really means to surrender it all to Him. I don't think that I could have learned those lessons any other way because all I had every day was my faith in Jesus and trust that He only wanted what was best for us all.
I think the biggest lesson I had to learn this last year and a half is that I am not needed for this work. I knew it in theory, but that lesson was just magnified so much. God has brought me into these boys' stories to love them and take care of them, but at the end of the day, I am doing nothing. He is the one doing it all. I just show up each day and after that, He takes over. I think it is so easy to get caught up in it all and this life and start to think we are the ones working miracles. That it is our hard work that is paying off. But you see, I can't say any of those things because I wasn't here. These boys have changed, they are not the same ones I left behind. And I can't take any of the credit for it. I know where the credit always needs to go, and it isn't me. I know I am not needed for this work, but I am lucky to be a part of it. I know that I should never take a day for granted with these boys, that they are my gift from God and I need to cherish them through the good and the bad. It has helped me put things in perspective and really value the good I see and how far they have come and not just focus on the negatives. It has been so sweet to be back with them. Even though everything hasn't been perfect, I can still see the good in the situation.
I can also now see how God was working for us and bringing the right people together. I know that this was definitely His timing because I felt like I just had to be back and had peace that everything would work out. Once I started feeling like that, everything just happened. At the beginning of August I didn't know i was leaving, by the end I was on a plane. We still aren't fully funded, and I knew it was crazy to leave before everything was settled, but I just felt like it was the right time. This whole experience has shown me over and over again, that God loves us more than I can imagine and He will always come through for us. Time and time again, I thought there was no hope, and then there was. I was ready to give up, and then He showed up. If I would have followed my own plan and not His, there are tons of amazing people I wouldn't have met, we wouldn't have been able to be a part of the documentary, just so many things.
It sucks that I was away from the boys and I missed so many things, but in reality it just makes it that much sweeter to be back. I know that this was His plan and I should never question that His plans are good.