Mom and Dad at my BA Graduation Party... a moment in time where my heart felt like bursting because of how proud my parents were of me and the joy it brought me to make them happy and proud.
I had such a struggle with the decision to write this particular blog because of how emotional I am. But I came to the conclusion that I promised to be transparent and open in this journey I'm on here in Uganda, and though some could say that what does one have to do with the other, I'd say just about everything. It's not easy folks, trying to be an open book when vulnerability is involved, but I have to believe that there is someone out there that'll understand and appreciate where I'm coming from. September 2nd would’ve been mom’s 60th birthday. A birthday that should be a milestone, as many put it. But instead of celebrating this milestone with us earthly beings, mom is celebrating it with heavenly angles, as she is just that. My heart breaks and shatters in even more pieces today, because I would do anything to turn back time and truly celebrate her 59th with more love, and more gifts, and more of anything just to make her happy. I'd have given anything if only I had known that that would be her last. Mom used to love gifts, flowers, going out to eat at different restaurants and so many other things but she mostly loved spending time with her children and grandchildren. I think about all the little things that made her happy; like cleaning the house spotless or helping her make food, and I see those traits within myself so strongly. If mom had ever taken the 5 Love Languages Test, I'm pretty sure her top two would've been quality time and gifts, just like me. Often I’m told, Lily you’re way too anal and obsessed with cleaning and organizing and having everything perfect, it’s too intense. But I know that each of these traits were instilled in me from an early age, because of mom. She had such a love for making everything as perfect as it could be. To truly do something wholeheartedly if you were going to do it, and even more so as Christians, doing everything as if we were doing them directly for our heavenly father. I truly try my best to live by this and it’s difficult in life because without knowing it, I put this expectation on the shoulders of everyone in my life. Being here in Uganda, living day in and day out with expectations that we should all do and give our best at all we do, is honestly just about a daily frustration. Each day I’m faced with the fact that societal differences, lack of education and lack of resources affect the way we treat all we do in a day, Christian or not. I see these amazing women I work with, and the potential they have. I push them because I know they can do so much more than even they realize. I dream for them in hopes that they will realize the dream and grasp it with all their might. But what do you do when your life, and your environment have taught you differently? What do you do when you simply do not know any different? I was talking to my sister and I was telling her how scared I was of facing today, facing all the emotions and feelings. Afraid because it’s so unknown. It’s so easy to lose myself in all I have going on here in Uganda. I honestly look forward to losing myself in it all because I don’t know how to deal with the pain and ache that exists within the shattered and broken heart I have, and who that has been through the loss of a parent knows how to cope daily if it’s all you think about?! But today, today I had to force myself because this day is too important. Mom deserves to be honored and remembered because she truly was the best mother. My sister Becky said to me, “think of it as the day our mother was born and that it’s a celebration of a life well lived”. Indeed, it was a life well lived but too short. I wish I had all the answers to the million questions I have. I wish I could understand this once in a lifetime life God has granted me, and look back one day and know it was a life well lived. I wish humanity stopped every day and truly meditated on what the purpose of their lives are. I wish we could be honest with each other and push each other to give our all and our best in everything we do. Now more than ever, with each passing day, I realize how important not just today is but this very exact moment in time. What are we all truly doing for the kingdom that is to come? Are we really so materialistic and self-centered that we’ve forgotten how to love and give to those around us? I’m not saying I’m perfect at any of this, but I can whole heartedly say that everything I do, I do it as if I was doing it for our heavenly father. I’ve never been more convinced that every LITTLE thing we do MATTERS. Every thought, every word, every action, everything…matters. There’s a verse in a fav song of mine, ‘Identity’ off the album Believer by Kutless, where it says, “I want to see the world change… God I need you to be my identity”. So I ask each of you how do you want to see the world change? Who are you striving to be like, through your "impact"? Do we really want to go down the spiral the world is in right now, or are we going to stand up and make a difference for the kingdom to come, for our eternal heavenly home? When is enough enough, and we allow to be guided by a stronger strength and a bigger faith than we possess or claim to have? Mom was amazing at living a sacrificial life for dad, for us and for all those around her. She gave the best of all she had, even when she didn't have she somehow made a way. She showed unconditional love, and tough love in ways I hope to show my children one day. She showed me what it means to never give up on the faith we believe in, to never give up on God. Now more than ever I have to remind myself of how she constantly would say that God knows what he's doing, and to remain wholeheartedly in that. I'm so so so extremely proud of the woman I had the privilege of calling mom. I'd truly give anything to have just one more moment of any kind, just simply to be in her presence and embrace. But life doesn't work that way, not because it's unfair or unjust even though some days it feels that way, but because earth isn't our home. Heaven is our destination, the "home" we're all hoping to get to while getting through life here on earth. I for one cannot wait, because on the other side is not just the only mother I had, but our amazing gracious Heavenly Father that has loved us and continues to love us unconditionally.
I love you all dearly, and if you’ve taken the time to read this I hope it pushed you to realize the “more” within you, the “more” to persevere whatever this earthly life will throw your way, the “more” to do/act instead of just talking, and the “more” to truly live as if today, this very moment, was your last. Imagine a world where we gave it our best and all in each exact moment, living with the knowledge that tomorrow is not ours. I say that the world would look oh so much more differently than it does right now.