We arrived in Lilongwe yesterday and got to visit Sandi-Lilongwe in the afternoon. We had our first ensima and they even made a sign to welcome us!
The country is beautiful, the people so hospitable, and the therapists incredible. Today we travelled to Blantyre and got settled in where we will be staying for the next month. I am so excited to see more of this country and get to know this culture.
This year is one of adventure and I am cherishing the fullness of it.
In the last four weeks…
I have been gone more than I have been home.
Spent time in small town(s) North Carolina, Florida, Virginia, and Maryland
Completed my first marathon
Returned to Disney World for the first time in 18 years
Begun learning basic Chichewa in prep for my time in Malawi
Attended my first AOTA conference
Caught a glimpse of the end of my time in graduate school
As everything seems to fly by, I am learning the discipline of being present–cherishing yesterday, enjoying today, and looking forward to tomorrow. Each day I am finding grace to embrace the present without clinging to the past or worrying over the future. Last week the conference was great, but now I’m back in class and even this I want to enjoy–my present schooling will soon come to a close. I still don’t know where I will find a job or live come August, but I am trusting that the one who has led me thus far will continue to establish the steps before me.
My friend Brandi is a talented artist who prophetically conveys the heart of God. A few months ago I randomly asked her to paint me something, and when she asked what, I told her to ask God for a picture over my life.
Sunday night this is what she brought over…
Undoubtably this is among the best if not indeed the very best gift I have ever received.
Every part has meaning, and as soon as I saw it, I was overwhelmed by the sweetness of God’s love toward me. Not only is this the image she got when she prayed for me, but very similar drawings are spread throughout my journals over the last couple years.
Looking at it is like looking in a mirror.
Yesterday, my parents celebrated 30 years of marriage.
Many have been blessed by their marriage and investment over the years, but Justin and I have had the blessing of learning from them as their children. And we get the honor of standing of their mantle of devotion and commitment to God and each other.
Last week I joined others in writing them a letter to thank them. This is what I wrote:
Dear Mom and Dad-
Happy 30th Wedding Anniversary!
Where do I start? There is so much that I could write about to say thank you. First, I want to thank you guys for being the image of Christ and the church; Dad, for embodying the way a husband is described in Ephesians and Mom for modeling a Proverbs 31 woman. You guys live out these scriptures well. However, I also want to thank you for the areas that no one else can—the areas that I have witnessed as your daughter, and the impact it has and will have for the rest of my life.
Ten things I have taken away from your marriage:
- “go talk to your dad” and “go ask your mom” Though these words plagued me as a child, they taught me something I didn’t know I was learning at the time: trust. In deferring to the other, you demonstrated for us what it was to trust the opinion and decisions of the other.
- Humor. You guys enjoy life and laugh all the way through… at circumstances, at us, and at each other. You knew that parenting was a humorous job, and let it have its place.
- Creativity. I don’t think I realized the immense creativity you guys had until I began describing the different types of discipline I had as a child to my roommates in college. However, your creativity not only marked my discipline, but also vacations, costumes, and science fair projects. And paired with your humor, I have watched you really enjoy marriage and parenting.
- Teamwork. Never in my life have I had any doubt that you guys were on the same team, working together, and for one another.
- Caulk. That’s right, I wrote it. I am grateful for the times I watched Dad caulk or clean out the junk drawer when there were some debatably more pressing tasks at hand. In times such as this, I learned about healthy conflict. Its part of life, so to have disagreements and resolve modeled is a necessity to experiencing healthy relationships in my own life.
- Hamsters and rodents. What greater love is this that one man lay down his life for another? Mom, you let us have hamsters. Dad, you came home from men’s fraternity to bury them. You model this such love from the smallest things (like hamsters) to the greatest (like one another)
- Morning devotions and evening prayers. Though I hardly grasped the value at the time, I am eternally grateful for the way that you guys taught us to daily spend time with Jesus and in prayer. Raise up a child in the way of the Lord and he will not easily depart from it. And so it is.
- Shared responsibilities. There has never been anything that was above or beneath either of you within the home. You both cared for us, cleaned the house, made meals, taxied us around town and so on and so on. You modeled humility, laying down what you were justified to do or not to do in order to honor and love each other. Time after time I watched this happen.
- Your yes was a yes and always will be. When you guys said ‘I do’ it was done. What a legacy we get to inherit that we have parents that are so committed to one another.
- Before you said yes to one another, you said yes to Christ and He has remained your first priority ever since. You place Him first in your marriage, in our family, in friendships, and in every decision you make. You have modeled for me what it looks like to do so. I am forever grateful for the example you have set and the way you pursue Him.
Dad, you have set the standard high as a husband and a father, and Mom, you have modeled well for me what it looks like to respect your husband.
Thank you for 30 years of marriage.
If you would like to write them a letter as well, pass it on to them. They would be delighted.
She has not only put up with me for 23 years, but has loved me (and Justin) through the best and the worst, cheering us on every step of the way.
She has modeled what it looks like to be fully devoted to Jesus, teaching us to love God first and put others before ourselves.
A faithful friend, a loving wife, and a phenomenal therapist, she has modeled what it looks like to lay her life down… joyfully.
What a pleasure to share in her passion for children with special needs
What an honor to walk the path she has paved and stand on the mantle she has created.
Happy Birthday Mom.
(somehow that picture seemed most appropriate…
After all, she still looks the same.)
Last night some PT students talked to me about making a trip to one of the orphanages I have visited.
Today at lunch, I sat around the table with OT students and professors, speaking Spanish and discussing our options to go overseas.
My heart is ever so alive.
My mind is racing through the possibilities.
My spirit is dreaming of the potentials.
And I remember….
the power of suggestion
the life it can give to a dream
the potential that our dreams have to grow.
It was mere suggestion in passing… to go to Mexico, to dream of the nations, that there might be orphans with special needs, and then to dream bigger. Someone suggested I could. And just maybe I should.
The power of suggestion turned the cloud over my head into the ground below my feet.
Whether I spend my breaks travelling the world or I spend them at home, my prayer is this: that even without boarding a plane my experiences would give faith to the hearts and feet to the dreams of those I meet, launching them to the nations on adventures with Jesus and the precious population that has captured my heart and forever changed my life.