I remember so clearly when God first called me to Africa - and I can remember clearly all the times since I was 12 when He confirmed that calling again.
And when I married my beloved Rob 4 and a bit years ago - a beautiful Ugandan man who had a heart to help the people of Africa like I did - I knew then, even more than ever, that Africa would be my home.... that Uganda would be 'home'.
But I was not prepared for the day.... or the day's...... when God would call me to 'stay'.
I looked up what staying means in the dictionary
remain in the same place.
"you stay here and I'll be back soon"
remain in a specified state or position.
"her ability to stay calm"
synonyms:remain (behind), stay behind, stay put; More
Its interesting when I read what staying meant, for me I realised that obviously I am staying in the same physical place - but it also means to remain in a specificied state or position.
When I first read this I thought - that sounded like a negative thing - but then I thought - if that specified place is on my knees in prayer - or a peace in what God is doing then yep I'm happy with that.
Many people think that the going is harder - but I am honestly finding staying - much harder than going ever was.
When God called me to Africa as a girl, and then when I said YES to that calling again through marrying Rob - I couldn't have predicted the amount of times Rob and I would have to be separated.
Within a few months of marrying and being in Uganda, Rob and I had to quickly return to Australia
as I was having extreme pain, and no one in Uganda could work out what was going on - after returning to Australia - no one here could work it out either - so then Rob had to return to Uganda without me - thankfully before too long I was in having surgery for what turned out to be multiple hernia's in a very dangerous state... Staying behind as Rob left was the hardest thing - but the Dr who operated said 'staying' saved my life since if I had gone and just put up with it as I said I wanted to do - eventually organ's would have been strangled
We claimed after those months apart that we would never do that again. It was super hard!
But every day together we pray for Gods will...
And then once again we had to have time apart when we got pregnant with our first little miracle .... i'll never forget receiving the urgent phone call from Australian Dr's to say I needed to get home to Australia urgently to protect the life of our baby and myself - so within a few days Rob and I were apart again.....
And again after those months apart, we once again said - NO we will never do that again - its way too hard!!
But yet again we still pray for God's will in our lives!
When God surprised and blessed us with our second little miracle pregnancy - we knew what it meant - more time apart. This time I wasn't only going to have to leave my beloved - but my little 17 month old.
Rob and I talked about the fact - that it was probably time to stop saying " we won't be apart" ..... and realise that even when we are apart physically - we are physically and spiritually bound no matter the distance.
Our real home.... is not in Uganda.... nor in Australia... it is when we are all together.
When I think back on all these times we have been apart - I have no doubt that this time is by far the hardest.
Every time we've been apart for medical reasons - I have been on my own - so its only been me I need to look after.
And this time - staying behind certainly wasn't apart of the plan.
The plan was - I'd come home to Australia on my own while pregnant and rest and do all the things I needed to do to deliver our little man safely - and Rob and Ziah would arrive in time for the bub's birth and then when we had recovered and me and our little baby had weaned safely off the medications - we would ALL return to Uganda.
When will we learn to stop making plans!
It says in Proverbs 16:9
We can make our plans, but the LORD determines our steps.
We as a family pray each day that God would determine and lead our steps, so I'm not quite sure why we are surprised when God actually does!
I think because we want to assume that God's plan is easy - and what we think is the better option .... but in my experience - God's plan is usually the harder option - or at least it has been for me - but it has undoubtedly always been the BEST option!
When it became apparent that Rob was going to have to leave without us, (as I am still having complications and Ezrael and I are yet to go through the weaning process from the medications that we can't get in Uganda) - many people told us that we should fight immigration and see if he could get longer.
While we truly wanted Rob to stay - especially as we and only we know how hard the coming months will be - we both felt that somehow God was at work in this.
We certainly don't like the idea of being separated and for me having to stay while Rob goes 'home' and back to our ministry and work is incredibly difficult - but I can see God already moving in his special ways to bring it all about for good.
As much as I LOVEEEEE being home amongst my family and friends and really LOVE our church families here and our 'Australian village' - Uganda is definitely home now and when we are there I have a peace and a passion for the work we are doing.
I love nothing more than working with the beautiful kids we work with and seeing how we can impact their lives and their futures. I am truly busting to get back.
I never could have imagined that I'd be parenting on my own ( obviously with the support of our Australian village) while Rob is on the other side of the world.
I am very thankful for technology that allows communications and video calls sometimes (although reception has been terrible) but it is SUPER hard when Ziah cry's for daddy, especially through the night or when you try to ring when Ziah asks to speak to Rob and you can't get through.
I wish we knew why and the benefit's this time apart is going to bring to our future.... I trust and hold to the fact that God will bring this about for His glory and for our good..
And despite how difficult this time is... for some reason, God has called Rob back there on his own.
And he has called me to stay.
And for us to trust Him in this season....
And for now that will have to be enough.