I have posted a lot of blogs about the amazing, wonderful parts of our journey. Blogs about the blessings that God has showered upon us because we were willing to obey Him. I could list a thousand things I am thankful for – our 6 children, the opportunity to spend time in Ethiopia, the many people I have met here, seeing God’s provision in ways I have never before experienced, family time, love – the list would go on and on.
And while all of that is true, I don’t want to give the mistaken impression that when we choose to follow God’s leading in our lives, all of a sudden everything will be sunshine and roses. God doesn’t always ask us to do what is easy. He doesn’t always pave the road before us and smooth out all the potholes. Sometimes, He pushes us out of our comfort zone in order to stretch us. He challenges us in order to grow us.
A lot of the time here in Ethiopia, I have struggled with my own selfishness. I realize more and more every day that I am here just how selfish I am. I am so used to convenience and comfort that when I don’t have it anymore, I get cranky. I tell my children all the time, “Life’s not fair!” But then I go complaining to God about the very things I am reprimanding my children for.
While we have enjoyed many of the blessings of our adoption journey, here are a few of the “potholes” in our road….
Bedbugs – and the resulting itchy, irritating bites that cover our bodies.
Lack of water – non-flushing toilets when we had the flu, no showers for days at a time, carting water from the neighbors to wash the dishes, not being able to drink any water that is not bottled or treated.
Sickness – our family has been taking turns catching one thing after the other. Our bodies just aren’t used to the different germs here.
Transportation – traffic, smog, cows in the road, hiring drivers, finding a running vehicle, just the hassle of getting to the orphanage every single day to visit our kids is sometimes overwhelming.
Delays in the courts – if I had my way, we would have passed court months ago. And yet here we are, still waiting. And very often frustrated. And still unsure as to when we will finally become a family.
Homesickness – sometimes, this just overwhelms me. I have a much greater respect for long-term missionaries now. Giving up all of the relationships back home is a huge sacrifice.
Some evenings, especially on days when I am overtired, I find myself complaining to God about these things. Most often, I am complaining about the court delays. I pray and beg God to hurry things along because right now, I am very definitely outside of my comfort zone. And I tell God, “It’s not fair.” And just like I remind my children, God reminds me. Life is not fair.
If life was fair, my guard Tesfi would not be living in a tin shack with a dirt floor. Last week, Tesfi was sick. He had a fever and felt miserable. And at night, he lay on his dirt floor and tried to escape the leaks in his tin roof while he was struggled to get better.
If life was fair, my maid Meheret would not have to leave her 4-year-old daughter for 6 days every week so she can make enough money for them to survive.
If life was fair, the 24-year-old man with renal failure would not have died at Soddo Hospital this week because there are no dialysis machines here.
If life was fair, there would be at least one pediatric heart surgeon in the country of Ethiopia. Today, there is not even one! Not one doctor to treat all of the correctable heart defects that are killing children every day here.
If life was fair, my children would not have had to live in an orphanage and struggle to survive during the early years of their lives. They would have always known just how precious and valuable they are.
These past few days have been the hardest for me since we have been in Ethiopia. I have struggled with my emotions and more often than not, they have gotten the best of me. I am sad. I am frustrated. I am so anxious to have my kids here with me. I have cried a lot. I am impatient.
My sister-in-law sent me this verse as an encouragement today.
Why, my soul, are you downcast?
Why so disturbed within me?
Put your hope in God,
for I will yet praise him,
my Savior and my God.
That is exactly how I feel at this moment. My soul is downcast. It is disturbed within me. But look at what the second half of that verse says. I am still to put my hope in God. I will yet praise Him.
Really, that is all I can do. I am not in control of anything else that is happening here. All I can control is where my hope is. All I can control is my attitude. Will I still praise my God even when I feel as though life is unfair? This is an area that God is working on me. He has given me this opportunity to grow. Will I thank Him for it?
Oh God, help me to be content no matter what my circumstances. Help me to find my strength and my peace in you. Help me to spread your joy to those around me whose life is so much more “unfair” than mine.
*Our last needed document
*Our meeting with MOWCYA tomorrow