It’s been over two months since I could truly sit down for more than a minute and blog. I don’t know if you all know how much energy and time must go into blogging or just simply living an open-book sort of life, but it’s a lot. For someone like myself, who didn’t grow up writing about daily life, it is somewhat of a somber task. Please don’t get upset, or offended, and stop reading, I’m just being honest. I say it's somber not because I don't necessarily like doing it, but because there's so much to tell you all that I sometimes don't know how to compress it all and still hold true to the reality of it all. Though I have yet to get accustomed to it, I really do love that I live in the day and age (even though it’s not always easy getting adequate internet out here in Uganda), where I can share the journey I’m on. Do I wish you were all here with me, experiencing it too? YES! But fully knowing that isn’t a possibility, I will continue to push my comfort zones and share glimpses of my reality. I left Uganda back in mid-November, after eleven and a half months of living on the ground. At first, I didn’t want to leave let alone book my ticket. I couldn't see myself walking away when the need here never ends. But I did, for a few reasons. My cousin (more like a little sister) was getting married, I terribly missed home, and I needed to present the progress and upcoming projects in our Organization, in person. Little did I know that I was going to gain so much more by stepping away for a bit and refreshing my heart, soul, mind and body. As a missionary, I hear about it all the time, that you’ll burn out if you don’t take some time to regroup. That, I now fully know, is very true. I hadn’t realized how tired and empty I was, in all senses, until about a month in being home in the states. The first two weeks were a whirlwind as I wrapped up my four and a half years in WA. I had only a few days to deal with the remainder of my belongings out there, and though that was hard physically, the harder part was trying to get accustomed to being in America again. I felt bombarded by everything I saw and heard. I was overwhelmed at everything I had given up and left behind. I was not excited about the reality of going to MI and facing the loss of my mother, all over again. I think most those around me know that adjustment for me is difficult every time I go back. If you don’t know, it’s because I completely throw myself in what I’m doing, every single day, no matter what it is. Some would say I lose myself in it all. So, when I up and change the entire environment of my daily life, it throws me for a loop. The first week I kept driving on the wrong side of the road, and was honked at and cussed at, unfortunately. I laugh about it now, but in the moment, it frightened me that I literally forgot what side of the road to drive on. My habits had changed so drastically, and I never would have thought they would. Goes to show that even though it was just under a year of living in Uganda, life was so drastically different, that it altered my innate habits. In the 2 months I was in back in America, I had to push myself completely out of my comfort bubble and present to thousands of people. I presented over 10 various times, in 4 states and Canada. Most days I was tired and had to hold on to God's strong hand just to keep going. I daily had to think of all the people counting on me here in Uganda, because I was their only hope of a better life. Not everyone was as passionate and excited about what we are doing here in Uganda, to give and help out. I faced rejections, I faced failed expectations, and I faced the harsh reality that politics have just about taken over the churches. I can’t count all the one-on-ones with dear friends and family, which honestly were my favorite part of being home! I had some of my closest friends and family show up for me in ways I didn’t even think of or expect (Laura, Jenny, Vanessa, Annika, Michelle, Angie U., Alina & David, Mario & Liz, Liz Z.). I worked here and there, and let me tell you it was nice earning my own money again, even if it was just a few weeks. I got to spend time with my awesome family and the most darling nieces and nephews ever. I had the chance to meet new people and old friends. I can wholeheartedly say I left every state feeling loved, because at the end of every day, it was all done for the Lord.
The biggest thing though, for me, was turning 30. I still can’t believe it, LOL! I sit and think and ask myself like how is this possible? When did 30 years just come and go? I was so anxious with this little hill coming my way. I was leaving my twenties. I was leaving behind a decade of hardships, loss, enormous hurt, broken friendships, and extreme growth. My twenties were the hardest building blocks in the foundation of who I am today. And that was all wrapping up. When I look back and take in account “my life”, I can say that I’m proud of myself and grateful. I’m thankful to God for the gift of perseverance and strength. I’m thankful to my family and close genuine friends, who have helped shape me into who I am. For pushing me to stand my ground, and never give up when I truly believed in something. For also beating me down with their beliefs of what is meant for my life, because it only pushed me more to search my heart and the calling on my life. It pushed me to find and have a deep meaningful relationship with God, our heavenly Father. If I were to leave earth today, I could confidently say I lived and gave my best to God. But since I’m probably not going anywhere any time soon, 😉, rest assured there’s more you’ll hear from me. All things aside, my 30th was truly the BEST Birthday yet. I got to spend it with those closest in my life, and it was perfect, all 4 days of it!! hahahaha! I'm truly excited for not only this new year ahead and all it will bring, but I'm excited for my 30's!!
I can’t thank everyone enough, that have invested with their time, energy, prayers and finances into BBB Ministries. I thank you, Leanne and Mike, you two blew me away and showed me what it looks like to live with hands and hearts wide open. I thank you, Adrianne, for never once complaining about all the crazy things I ask of you, you showed me what unconditional giving is. I thank you, Amy and Micah, for believing in me and allowing God to intertwine our lives. I thank you, Simi & Nate, you have been my sounding and encouraging board, my shoulder to cry on, and the blessing right by my side since 2010. I thank you Ema Repta, for allowing God to utilize you not only in my personal life, but all the way here in Uganda, in ways you might never know. I thank you Ema & Priscila Bercea, for pouring countless hours of unconditional love, spirit filled prayers, wisdom, direct honesty and so much more into my life. I thank you Patricia (a.k.a Patty Cakes), for spoiling me, driving on the wrong side of the road with me, and sticking it through the thick and thin of 8 years with me. I thank you FloFlo, for being the best guy friend a gal can ask for. You truly made not only my birthday, but my time in Michigan full of fun memories we’ll get to laugh about and remember in the years to come, and genuine deep conversations that blessed my heart. I thank you April, for DAILY doses of love, devotionals, encouraging and uplifting words that somehow are always on point. I thank my family, (Mirela, Angie, Naomi, Alina, Becky, Debbie and Tim) for coming through for me no matter how much time or money it took. You overfed me, loved me, did my laundry, made me hot cocoa, let me sleep in your beds, did my hair (loved this one the most, lol), and encouraged me every step of the way. You all make my heart overwhelmed when it comes to how thankful I am that God gave me each of you as my siblings. I thank you Dad, for stepping out of your comfort zone and entrusting me in God’s hands, for stepping up and loving me, and finally believing in me. If you haven’t done it today, go love and thank someone for impacting your life, whether in a big or small way. BE GRATEFUL. BE THANKFUL. BE A BLESSING. And every time you drink clean water, thank the good Lord for that too. XOXO, Lily Next Blog: The Updates on Our Ministry