Friday, February 21, 2014

my heart will choose to say...

The other day Steve, Megan and I were hanging out in the kitchen.  Megan told me I needed to stop mentioning my up coming midlife crisis.  She then told Steve he needed to get over his laundry obsession with our 12 teens and their unclaimed, unmarked laundry that he has recently begun hiding.  Steve and I laughed at seeing ourselves through Megan's eyes.  Steve said if someone had told him a year ago that he would be hiding laundry from our house O teens he would laugh them out of the room.  Often reality proves to be stranger than fiction.

The thing is I can't seem to get my mind around the fact that very soon our baby girl will be graduating from high school.  I've hardly recovered from Joe graduating and starting college.  You see we haven't lived full-time with our kids since they were in 8th grade for Sam, 9th grade for Meg and 10th grade for Joe.  We moved away from the states when they were 9, 11 and 13.  We placed them in French public schools for a year and then moved to Gabon.  We home schooled them all the first year with another missionary family and when that family moved away we home schooled them alone in Libreville.  Joe came to me one day saying, "Mom, I don't want to do high school at the kitchen table."  Our kids are very social and fun and adventurous and smart and kind.  Not to brag or anything...  Anyway we agonized over the decision to send our kids to Rain Forest International school for over a year before enrolling first Joe and Megan in the fall of 2010 and then Sam the following year.  In one calendar year I went from home schooling all three to all being one country away from them for the better part of the year.

I remember clearly the first time we came to RFIS to check out the school with Joe.  We drove the 12 hour or so drive from Gabon to Cameroon just months after moving to Gabon in the fall of 08.  We were impressed with the school and visited the hostels where students live who's parents don't live locally.  I remember watching Joe and Steve play basketball, one on one, at the end of the day.  The sun was sinking low in the pink and purple sky.  I was listening to my ipod and the song "Blessed Be Your Name" came on.  I started crying when the lyrics spoke deeply into my fragile heart and soul with the words, "You give and take away, you give and take away, my heart will choose to say, Lord, Blessed be your name..."  I tear up now just thinking of it.  I wrestled with how it could be in God's plan to separate me and Steve from our babies.  I grew up and believed as many do that you raise your kids, in your home, until they graduate from high school, at around the age of 18.  That was the paradigm I was familiar with, the framework I accepted and expected.  Instead we were facing a whole new framework without personal experience to guide us.

This year we have been blessed with the opportunity to live here in Cameroon with Megan and Sam and 10 precious others.  We have a beautiful UBAC family.  I have come to love each and every one in this house with a fierce love.  We get to be here for every breakfast and every afternoon and every game and dance and struggle through homework.  We have gotten to know teachers and students and neighbors and an amazing community.  We get to be a part of our kid's every day life!  It is a much longed for gift.  I don't take for granted the everyday routines often.  I revel in it.  Megan tells me I ask too many questions and they are too detailed.  I have recently realized that I am trying to pack as much into this year as possible.  I want to freeze time.  I want to linger.  I want more.  And the thing is... life just keeps on going.  All I can do is try to live each day on purpose.  And I need to let go.  I need to be content with the time I have.  I cannot be in a continual state of grief.

Joe wrote us an email just the other day, "Been praying about you guys! I love you guys so much and I thank God every time I think of you for having such an amazing family. Today I was reminded of you as it is pretty cold, there’s some snow on the ground (and some of it’s melted - Praise God!), and the sun was just at the right angle to draw the right angle of a shadow of a building on the concrete ground that brought me back to the days of France and you guys driving Megan and I to school. It was one of those rare occasions when I think of France with a fond memory. It also got me thinking about how much our family has gone through together. I just want to say that I would not want to change a thing about how I’ve grown up and how we’ve moved all over the place. I love you guys and I miss you."

It was a timely message as just that day we had met with two young families getting ready to move away from the states and go to language school in Albertville, France.  The same language school we attended back when we began our international journey.  They asked hard questions about how it was for us and how our kids had done transitioning and living life in France.  We shared some laughter and tears as Steve and I did our best to answer their questions.  It brought it all back in living color.  Sitting in the UBAC living room with them that day was a brilliant reminder of all God has brought us through.  It has not been easy or fun all the time, but it has been worth it.

I still will choose to say... Lord Blessed be Your name... even though I've missed many breakfasts and afternoons and dances and struggles and cheering at games, I get to be here this year!

Blessed Be Your Name
In the land that is plentiful
Where Your streams of abundance flow
Blessed be Your name

Blessed Be Your name
When I'm found in the desert place
Though I walk through the wilderness
Blessed Be Your name

Every blessing You pour out
I'll turn back to praise
When the darkness closes in, Lord
Still I will say

Blessed be the name of the Lord
Blessed be Your name
Blessed be the name of the Lord
Blessed be Your glorious name

Blessed be Your name
When the sun's shining down on me
When the world's 'all as it should be'
Blessed be Your name

Blessed be Your name
On the road marked with suffering
Though there's pain in the offering
Blessed be Your name

Every blessing You pour out
I'll turn back to praise
When the darkness closes in, Lord
Still I will say

Blessed be the name of the Lord
Blessed be Your name
Blessed be the name of the Lord
Blessed be Your glorious name

Blessed be the name of the Lord
Blessed be Your name
Blessed be the name of the Lord
Blessed be Your glorious name

You give and take away
You give and take away
My heart will choose to say
Lord, blessed be Your name






 

3 comments:

Ruth Fitch said...

Alace, I just happened to check in to FB today and read your post. It made me cry in a good way because its so wonderful to see how God has worked in your lives and the lives of your kids. Thank you for being faithful! I know that God is glorified as you share. I'll be praying for you in these next months. Love, Karen

Ruth Fitch said...

Alace, I just happened to check in to FB today and read your post. It made me cry in a good way because its so wonderful to see how God has worked in your lives and the lives of your kids. Thank you for being faithful! I know that God is glorified as you share. I'll be praying for you in these next months. Love, Karen

Anna said...

I love that song! I'm glad you've been able to have this year to be closer to your kids this year. :)