It has been 7 months since we returned back to our small house tucked back in the woods in our hometown. It is amazing how quickly you fall back into a routine, good or bad. Fortunately, when you are returning to a place that has always known you, you can pretty much pick up where you left off, especially when you didn’t leave for that long. Picking up is natural, easy, but planning ahead and laying the ground work for major change is often slow and painful. It is for me anyway.
As I mentioned, most of our seven months back home has been similar to what it was before we left. However, there have been a few changes that have brought us to the place we are today. When we first arrived home (and upon learning that I would be an aunt again) we decided we were ready to expand our family. With that decision came the pull to settle in and set up house. We held onto that thought and planned to continue to split our time between Ethiopia and North Carolina. Then in September Jonathan went to a class to learn how to dig low-tech wells. The week long training in Texas gave Jonathan time to break away from the routine that is so comfortable and familiar and really analyze what it is we are doing, why we are doing it and what we should be doing. I also had some time to look at what it is we are being led to do. I certainly didn’t have the mountain top moment that Jonathan did; I was keeping up with a 19 month old and working out some anxiety issues. About a week after Jonathan returned home we were enjoying some alone time on the couch one evening after Dawit had gone to bed. Jonathan explained that he felt like we really weren’t accomplishing all that we could in Ethiopia by splitting our time between essentially two worlds. As we talked I explained that I had been having some of the same thoughts and at that moment my comfortable back and forth to Ethiopia turned into a long term move. Jonathan and I decided that in addition to the work we are doing with TFC that we want to really invest in a community and share all that we have to offer. Jonathan is eager to drill wells and teach rural farmers to dig wells. By giving people access to good, clean, physical water we also will have the opportunity to share the “Living Water”, which is Jesus Christ. A lot of what we have done in Ethiopia over the last two years, though important, hasn’t been focused on eternity. We laid out our plan to raise funds and head to Ethiopia in September 2011 for roughly 3-5 years. We’d regroup and assess after that time.
By late October the plan changed slightly. I found out I was pregnant. The timing was great; I’d have the baby in July and still be heading to Ethiopia around the time of the original plan. Then in early November I miscarried. We were both pretty shaken but we decided to move forward and leave it in the Lord’s hands. I was pregnant again by mid-December. Again we were so excited and still relatively on track with our timeline for September 2011. We were busy making plans to have Jonathan go ahead of me, Dawit and the new baby and have us come in December so that he could have a place ready for us. Then on January 25th I miscarried again. Of course Jonathan and I were crushed, but there was an odd peace for the both of us. Jonathan and I, as well as countless friends and family, had been fervently praying for the pregnancy in the wake of the November miscarriage. With all the supplications, if God still saw fit, then who were we to question. I was at a loss as to where this left us with our plans of our family and our move to Ethiopia. So often we want to guide our way when we really need to let Him lead our way.
So, here we are a new month in a new year with new plans. The Lord has led our paths, despite my attempts to highjack the controls. It is still jarring to think that in another 7 months or so I will leave my home, family, friends, church, and easy American life go where He is leading. But, I know where His paths will lead.
He guides me along the right paths for his name’s sake. Psalm 23:3
But the plans of the LORD stand firm forever, the purposes of his heart through all generations. Psalm 33:11