9 short term international trips, 17 countries, one year long international trip, 7 months touring with a music group, another 5 weeks as a high school student in a music group.
You would think I could pack for international trips by now.
I'm last minute-throw it in-hope we got it all-packer.
But here I am.
A suitcase and carryon for me for 9 days, a 60ish hour turn around at home then 3-4 suitcases and carryons, and a stroller, and some baby carriers, for 5 people to go over for 6-8 weeks (we have a friend going to help with kids for the first few weeks) and 5 to come back.... (Yea!!)
I'm so lost.
My table is full of winter gear,clothes, food, OTC meds, vitamins, and band aids. Lena's clothes have been replaced 4 times. Josiah and Lydia haven't had one thing put in the suitcase yet. My bags for the first trip are primarily full of gifts. Laundry finished today, so I'm praying I can get some clothes into the suitcase for me.
I don't know what exactly I will do while there on the short trip other than celebrate some birthdays. (Who knew that I would ever consider 9 days in Ukraine as a "short trip.")
I'm thrilled. Extatic. Honored. Blessed. Amazed. Excited. Joyful. At peace. And..... Nervous?!
Nervous. There are so many promises that tell me to be anxious for nothing..... To let the peace of God rule.... To give thanks in everything. But I'm just nervous.
I have never.in.my.life felt the need to constantly reset my own heart towards the positive as much as I have these last 7 days since we got our date.
We are still underfunded.
We still have about a million things that 'could' go wrong in the process.
I am not 100% sure where I will be sleeping next week.
Yet. I'm trusting. Praying. Hoping.
Then I also think, when I start to get overwhelmed at how complicated these next few weeks will be:
For us, it's jet lag, chaos, airplanes, children, and a couple months in a foreign land with letters that don't make sense and people who speak in ways I don't understand. Cultural differences.
For her, In a matter of weeks, the whole world will change.permanently. She will not, for a really long time, feel comfortable in a room full of people. She will be overwhelmed with the amount of stuff in Walmart. Our traffic patterns will be strange to her. The road signs won't make sense. It will be months before she has a comfortable conversation with anyone other than possibly Lydia, who will likely learn Ukrainian as fast as Lena learns English. Last year, her orphanage got Samaritans purse boxes for Christmas. This year. She will arrive home to a house FULL of presents waiting to be opened..... Possibly it will look like more than likely the whole orphanage got last year. She will leave confidants, best friends, girls who are as close as sisters to her. She has already lost more than I will ever imagine and she is about to lose her culture. Permanently.
When I think of it like this, I get brave. Of course I can handle a few weeks.... And so can Josiah and Lydia. Delaying Christmas won't damage their little American spirits one bit. Of course. I can travel alone where I don't know anyone. Of course we can spend a few holidays away from family. Our short price to pay is so much less than she is about to leave.
I realize she is getting a family.... And that is good for her. She will be loved. Accepted. Challenged. Chosen. Appreciated. And included. But there will also be loss. Great loss. For her, it has already likely been a harder life than any of us can imagine. And it's about to get complicated for a while. But she loves us. We love her. She trusts us and we trust her. God has chosen her for us, has protected her in so many ways.... All while we have prayed for our children to be protected. God knew she was ours before we did. He will give us all the strength and courage to take every step necessary.
He has provided so much for us. He has used YOU to provide financially. You guys have donated to and worked in yard sales both in the scalding heat of August and the freezing cold of October. You have made scarves, baked cakes, run 5ks, and bought bracelets, t-shirts, coffee, laundry detergent, scarves, Tupperware, marykay, pampered chef, thirty one, scentsy, noonday, young living oils, and hats. Many have given just because you felt the call. Some of you did ungodly numbers of Burpees!!! You sent school supplies to her orphanage. One made a quilt and one made a basket, to sell and raffle. You guys gave towards both. You have taken gifts to Ukraine for us. You have watched my kids and listened to our stories. You have set through praise band rehearsal and Sunday school while I panicked about craziness with Lena's phone. Some have ridden with us to prepare paperwork in Montgomery, you have stayed up late to finish notaries, sat in the car with kids so we can run into the post office. You have smiled when We were stressed, you have asked about the process at the exact right moments and have been so amazingly supportive. Few of these things brought any notoriety or spotlight from man, but all have been noticed by God. God placed each of you here in our lives. Now. For this reason.
In this. You have been the hands of Jesus, the feet of Christ. You have shown mercy to the orphan. One precious orphan. One whose days as an orphan are now numbered. She will soon be an orphan no more. For this, God is to be praised and you are to be thanked.
You prayers are still coveted. There is much left to do. These next weeks are the climax of this whole event. I hope to blog most of our Ukrainian adventure..... I am sure it will be a great story. You will all be made aware, also, of our return to the states, where you are more than welcome to greet us at the airport, and welcome home our newest family member. The dreams of that day are so close to being reality.
Thank you. Praise be to God.
In YOU, the orphan finds mercy.