Wednesday, November 20, 2013

Birthday Surprise! It's Nicole. part 2

Happy Wednesday! Welcome back to the Birthday Series to read part 2 of Nicki's journey.  Get your passport ready, pack your bag, and bon voyage ... you're off to Gulu, Uganda!

photo credit 

I've never told the bathtub story.

There was a tub. That’s all it was though—an empty beige bathtub with a handheld faucet. My first instinct was, “Damn, I’m going to make a disastrous mess every time I bathe.” I pictured a flood of murky water seeping down the hall into my room. (Which actually happened one morning, but it wasn't my fault, I swear!) Ministry in Uganda is a dirty business; dusty feet, orange-tainted clothes, wash my long hair two or three times just for it to feel clean and the water not be brown, kind of dirty.

Then, there was this one day. This overwhelming, slap-in-the-face, type of day. The kind of day where I prayed on the boda boda (motorcycle taxi) all the way home that I would have enough connection to call my mom and listen to her wisdom. With the time difference I had to wait for her to wake up, of course! It was one of those days where trusting in this great big God of mine, the Creator and Savior of the universe, was harder than getting on that same boda boda with a skirt (NOT easy, people).

It was on this day, in Gulu, Uganda. From one moment to the next, I found myself fully clothed and in fetal position, crying my eyes out for almost three hours… inside of this tub. For that brief time, my world sort of froze. I felt as though it hadn't completely shattered, but it was slightly tilted a little too far over for my comfort, and all I found myself doing was trying to find some sort of balance for my heart, to where it wouldn't topple over and break completely.

I had effectively lost my grip. Had I forgotten what to expect? Had I let my emotions run too deep? Maybe, just maybe I expected too much from someone who was unstable to begin with? How could anyone just leave them? Literally just abandon them in front of my face.

Obviously, God knew the answers to all of the million questions racing through my head.

Here’s the thing— I often wonder how my thoughts towards this world, our duties, this life— how it all would really be to me if I hadn't met Patience and Andrew. While in Uganda, I got a small glimpse into the life of being a mom. I experienced first-hand dealing with the struggles of my kids on a daily basis. I dealt with the personalities accompanied by the attitudes. I saw joy and innocence as well as the hurt and suffering that no child should ever have to experience. It was in the midst of caring for these two precious lives though, that God truly stretched me farther than I ever thought imaginable.

I dealt with their birth mother. She was younger than I with a total of six children. The twins were the youngest of them all at two years old. She was sick. They were starving, literally. And I was found in the mix because God purposefully had me there in Gulu Babies Home on this very same day. She left them there. In that moment, she chose addiction as she walked away from me with her skinny toddlers crying in my arms.

In this moment, curled up in that bathtub, for the first time ever, I actually doubted “purpose”. Has that ever happened to you? Maybe you've never found yourself sitting alone in a tub, but has God ever thrown a curve-ball to you so fast that—forget not even seeing it come—you were just left questioning “is this even real?”

Wisdom from my mom helped only for the moment. The solace provided by roommates, the same.

“God, did I really just experience this? Were these kids that I just grew to love just left behind by their own mother?”

It was in that bathtub that I realized I was trying to remind God of the things He promised to us—telling Him that He was doing it all wrong. Funny right? I didn't think so.

Firmly holding onto God’s promises in the midst of hardship can be a powerful experience. Did I fully trust God at His Word? Definitely not in that moment. I will humbly admit that I had a moment of relapse, but God graciously allowed me to stumble over myself, feel the hurt and vulnerability that He knew I needed, and give me the strength to pick myself back up and make a difference.

He knew.

He allowed the circumstances around me to take place. He didn't feel bad for me, but instead He entrusted me with the blessing of being a part of the beautiful rescue mission that was about to take place in the lives of my twins. Clearly, in my own life as well.

Please be encouraged today in knowing that God’s promises are true. We are loved by a God who is forgiveness, mercy, grace, faithfulness, strength and love. It’s a reminder I need EVERY SINGLE DAY.

And with that truth stored away in my heart, the only purpose for a bathtub from now on is solely to relax! 
Patience, Nicki, and Andrew, first time ever walking in 2 years.
Uganda 2013

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