Coming Back to America…Again
I started this blog while I was sitting in the Fort Lauderdale airport and I am now finishing it as I sit waiting at jury duty in Jacksonville. I was basically finished with it in Fort Lauderdale when the airport lost wifi. That is not that big of a deal, usually I just copy and paste the blog into Word and then wait for the wifi to come back on. This time, however, when I lost wifi, the browser closed down and I lost everything. So I am trying to re-create some of what I was writing there but at the same time I can now add to it some things since I have been home.
The first thing I remember at the airport is that I was just very excited. I had not seen Jess or Sophie for over 2 weeks. That may not seem like that long, but there are 2 things to know about that:
- This is the longest Jess and I have been apart and if you are married to your best friend like I am, you know that two weeks seems like forever. She is the one I always want to share things with, bounce ideas off of, and just talk to at the end of the day and it is really hard when we are in different countries.
- Two weeks in baby time is like two years based on the way she has been changing. Sophie is almost like a completely different person every time I leave and come back home! This time, she does not cry as much, she smiles and laughs more, she is fun to play with and to talk to, and just in general she is an awesome baby.
Basically, while I was sitting in the airport, I was just ready to be home.
As you know, we are moving our kids out of Hope Rising and we have been trying to find a place to move them prior to our March 1 deadline and that proved to be quite difficult. I bought a one-way ticket to Haiti with the idea that as soon as I had some possibilities I would fly back home. So the bottom line is that prior to Saturday, I had no idea when I was coming home again. We had a team of 3 people come down last Friday that included Jessica’s parents and Tina Sanders (one of our sponsors for BiGuedy and Woodlerxe). When they came I showed them the 2 options that I had narrowed it down to just to see if they thought it would work as temporary housing for at least a year while we try to find something permanent. I knew that if they said “no” then I would be in Haiti indefinitely and I was really ready to see my wife. So they came down, looked at the places, and said that we could make either of them work (we are still waiting to decide which of the 2 options we will use) and I immediately booked my ticket back home as quickly as I could.
So I found myself with a 6-hour layover in Fort Lauderdale of all places. I left Hope Rising at 5:00am and arrived at my gate in Fort Lauderdale a little before 11:00am for a 5:00pm departure and now there was nothing to do but wait, eat, wait some more, write a blog, eat something else, and then wait some more. I decided to eat at Chili’s, and yes the Fort Lauderdale airport does have a Chili’s and very little else. So I go up to get a table thinking they would put me at the bar or at one of the small booths. To my surprise, there is a 35-minute wait for the restaurant. I’m not sure why it surprised me because there was no where else to eat there, but I told them I had time and I would wait. A little while later they called me to my table and they gave me one of the big booths. It is one of those booths where you can fit 4 people very comfortably or 6 people if you force it. Anyway, I am not really a “sit by myself at a restaurant” kind of person unless it is a Starbucks or Panera where I will pull my computer out and do some work, but I sat and I ate. I watched parties waiting for a large booth outside and there I was taking up one by myself.
As I sat at this Chili’s, in a huge booth, by myself, with no working television, I had time to just sit there and think. I thought about all that had gone on over the past 2 weeks, I thought about the past few years as GOD has worked through this ministry and has brought us closer to Him, and I thought about seeing my wife and daughter again. One thing that I realized is that those past 2 weeks were some of the most stressful I remember. Then I thought about all of the things that have gone on over the past few years and how difficult, incredible, stressful, and a you could use a variety of other adjectives here to describe what has gone on. One word you could not use is “boring”. Here are just a few of the things that came to mind:
- We met 30 children who would change our lives.
- We started All Things New in response to that.
- We quit our jobs and moved to Haiti.
- We tried to work with a Haitian couple and found out that they were corrupt.
- We moved those 34 children out of a terrible situation and either back to their homes or to a terrific new place.
- We adopted our beautiful, sweet, cute, wonderful daughter Sophie.
- We tried, unsuccessfully, to make a deal that would keep our children there.
- We now have 1.5 months to find a new place and move our children.
I know that if anyone of you were to think back over the past 3 years you could make a list similar to this one of some things that GOD has done in your life that has caused a lot of stress but has been completely worth it. There is a good chance that we won’t have the same list (unless you had a Haitian threaten to call the police on you for kidnapping) but it is important for us to think back about all of the things that GOD has done for us, in us, and through us and even more important to think back about all that GOD has done since the beginning. It is a great way to steady ourselves for what is ahead because we know GOD is faithful and we know He loves us. On a side note, if you do not have a list of things that GOD has been doing through and in your life I would urge you to reevaluate where you are with Him!
Honestly, during the 2 weeks I was in Haiti, I felt as much or more stress as I have at any other point that I can remember. There was this pressure to find the new place, there was the difficulty of being alone, and there was this idea that my wife and daughter, our other 19 kids, and our 25 employees were all counting on me to work through this transition well. There were tons of people helping, I know that, and Jess was always right there with support in whatever way she could from the states. But there was still this pressure, and I did not even fully realize that I felt it at the time. And then as I sat there I began to remember all that GOD had done. All that He had done in my life, then all of the things He did in creation and history, and especially all that He did on the Cross. And then I realized something even greater:
GOD is not finished yet!
This is easy for GOD no matter how difficult it is for us. When I look back over all that GOD has done throughout history, I cannot help but to realize that He is in control. I can easily get caught up in the idea that “I” am doing these things or “All Things New” is doing these things when that is not the reality. We are called to do whatever we can to bring glory to Him, but nothing more or less than that. How difficult this is to remember when we are going through difficult things, but how much more important it is to remember during these times. We can put so much pressure on ourselves to perform, to work, to spend as much time as possible coming up with solutions to problems and we (I say “we” but I really mean “I”) can forget that GOD is not finished yet. He is still at work in this world, and we are blessed to be instruments to bring Him glory. My prayer and my hope is that this is always what we do as a ministry (All Things New), what we do as a family, and what I do as a follower of Christ…
“…everyone who is called by name, whom I created for my glory”
– Isaiah 43:7
We were created for the glory of GOD, not for the glory of ourselves. It can be so difficult to live our lives like this is why we were created, but it is true. Does this mean things will always be easy? No. Does this mean we will not have stress? No. But it does mean that we were created for GOD’s glory and His glory is far bigger and greater than we could ever imagine.