So, D-day has come and gone and we are shocked ourselves at our decision. First, I want to thank the many people who weighed in, prayed, and helped support us as this was really tough.

I think although Jason and I did not have a strong feeling about whether to go or stay many circumstances, advice, and wisdom played into our decisions. We both also strongly felt, as I wrote last time, that there was no wrong decision. I believe that. God was not going to zap us, abandon us, or forget about us because we chose to stay here or because we chose to go to the U.S. He is the God of everywhere, He is the Alpha and Omega, He is present and active in our lives no matter where we are. We have certainly learned that over the last year and praise Him for His faithfulness even in our shortcomings.

We will be heading stateside for the delivery and staying for a few months after. This will be our only trip home for a while and it is not at all what we planned. We had thought (as was probably evidence in my last post about this) that we were staying here but after a final email came in from our organization recommending “unanimously” that we return to the states we really had to think and pray. They made the decision based on the fact that many details of Nairobi are unknown or difficult at best right now ie; the guest house we would stay at is closed for 2 weeks around Christmas, we cannot locate a car to rent full time for our stay and while I am a bit hard core I am NOT taking the dala dala in labor:), and the hospitals and medical care is still an unknown for us. They were willing to support us in staying if we really felt led to do that with finding housing, etc but the bottom line was they were unsure of what that would look like and recommended going home. They also said that since the past 6 months have been so emotionally and physically draining that maybe we should consider our need for being with family and having more support that then we would have in a new city in Africa by ourselves. We had to reread the email twice because honestly we were shocked. We had thought that they were strongly in favor of us staying here and it was one reason we were trying to make it work. So there we were with almost everyone we knew saying we should consider returning to the states and us feeling like we wanted to stay. It was a bizarre place to be. Jason crunched the numbers given that we would go to Nairobi twice (once soon to have another scan and see the doctor, hospital, etc then again for the delivery) and adding in our best estimation on renting a car or using taxis, food, and a place to stay and the cost was just the same as returning to the US (where we are hoping our families will take pity on us and house us:).

So, we go. And we are processing that and all it means.

The ironic thing is that when I really wanted to go home and begged for a way out; when I was sicker than I have ever been, day after day lying in my bed throwing up and unable to do much but moan and complain watching Jason do everything God answered our prayers and at that time said no, you stay. You survive, you learn that in your weakness I will be be your strength and I will sustain your body, baby, mind, family. And He did and does and I already see the wisdom in that as I was not in a happy place and coming back here would be much more difficult given the way I was feeling emotionally at the time.

Now, that I am doing better and able to participate in life again we want to stay. We are seeing so much happen right now, our team is together and doing well, the school is going up fast, the computer lab needs to be set up, the curriculum needs to be decided and planned, guests are coming to spend time helping our team, we are feeling great about language, and we are at a place where; crazy enough this place feels more like home.

A friend shared a great word that maybe now it is about saying “where ever you want us we will go” Maybe it is that we can never hold on tight to any notion of what we think will happen. Not easy for someone who likes to be in control, for someone who likes to plan, for me.

I think I realized that while many of the reasons we wanted to stay are legitimate many are based in fear or pride. These are some of the swirls of thoughts that kept me up last night (well, that and the little girl kicking my ribs)………I am afraid that I am different, That we are changed. That we will be “weird” (ok, weird-er than before:). That we no longer will “fit in” at home. We both know we do not return to the “same Chicago” we left; our friends, our home, our former lives are all different now. Our life is vastly different and life there has gone on without us. That is scary.

I also don’t like to admit I need rest or am hurting. I like to “power through” but as a girlfriend shared with me (who also has this gift/curse of needing to power thru) maybe I need rest and that is not bad. That is listening to God sometimes. And maybe accepting help will help me as I transition to become a Mama of two.

I feared that coming home was failing or giving up but I think the reality was that fear of coming home and fear of failure ws blinding me from even seeing that as an option. What a crazy flaw in my thinking….. assuming I will succeed more than I will fail. Always I fail more than I suceed at anything but God uses those failures as transformative in my life, He again shows His power in my weakness because He knows in my strength I am more likely to take credit than to give it. Failure forces me to return to Him again and again everyday and always when I think I have something figured out it changes.

Once again, I am reminded that I am not as important as I often think I am. I think we will leave a small gap here in our work but things will go on without us just fine. We will be able to reconnect with our friends and neighbors when we return. We will lose some of our Kiswahili but we will work hard when we get back. God will have a place for us, He has prepared the work ahead of us and we need not to worry so much about “doing” everything but concern ourselves with being about what He is about. And maybe after a recharge and some quality family time maybe we will be better able to do our work here.

Through this decision we are still seeking peace.

So I will be the tall, tan :), and chubby white girl with traces of henna on her hands, who has not had a haircut in over 8 months and will get off the plane wearing an all-you-can-eat-dress (or maybe a pair of pants that no longer buttons or zips:)…….look for me to arrive in mid October. I am a changed person but it helps to remember that everything at home is changed too. And that is ok. Good even as we can share our trials, successes, families, challenges, joys, celebrations, and the stuff of life. We are learning to exist in the between spaces and that is ok. It is our place, our journey, and our call for now.

I think this home coming will offer healing, quality time, chaos, busyness, rest, connection, lots of eating :), quiet, noise, the familiar, and hopefully peace.

  1. Anonymous says:

    I heard the news – I really hope I get to see you all before I leave!!

  2. Anonymous says:

    There is always comfort in “coming home again”, even if home has changed. I always liked going home and being the child again, if only for a short time. So just let me take care of you for awhile so you can get your strength to be a new mama.

  3. Anonymous says:

    good for you!!! sending much love, mama rox. i can't WAIT to see you! remember, you always have a welcoming door in ann arbor!!!

  4. Anonymous says:

    I wept reading this, which is perhaps due to part to my pms, but I am so happy for you and yet so feel you fear about feeling changed. I was 14 when we returned from Indo, but I remember that feeling and there WAS some culture shock, but overall I remember feeling very loved. You are so loved for who you are at the core of your being, for your heart for Jesus, and your love for others. We don't care if you haven't had your hair cut. All the externals are just externals. What made everyone fall in love with you is not your gorgeous hair or beautiful sense of style- those were just bonuses. We love the HEART of who you are. Jesus is still in whom you live and move and have your being and girl the Jesus in me has always felt a kinship with the Jesus in you. The changes he's done in you are just new exciting things we get to hear about. You are loved!

  5. Anonymous says:

    I can understand your feelings so good… especially the first return after a long time away is scary in many ways, but this is absolutly normal. And we´ll miss you here very much – I tell you!!! Don´t believe anything else… 🙂