Friday, August 5, 2011

Choosing Gratitude

"The Lord is my strength and my shield; my heart trusts in Him, and I am helped. My heart leaps for joy and I will give thanks to Him in song." Psalm 28:7

Worshipping with the children and teens at M1 with Moses and Sixty Feet

As a therapist, I know that gratitude is a healthy and healing way of balancing painful experiences and emotions. This is true whether trauma is personally experienced, observed, or verbally shared by another person. And gratitude is often a choice to made.

However, I have to remind myself of this choice as my heart wrestles with all of the sweet people I met in Uganda. I have been home for almost 2 days and struggle to wrap my Western mind (and heart) around some of the devastating life circumstances we came face to face with: AIDS, malaria, TB, unjust imprisonment, hundreds of babies and children lost from or abandoned by their families, and (by "first world" standards) unsanitary conditions that seem to perpetuate disease.

One of the most beautiful things we encountered, however, was the JOY we encountered in each location we served. As I continue to process, I hope to share stories of the people I met and light of the Lord that shined through them. Until then I will give a few "shout outs" of gratitude:

1) For Thom.  Without a doubt, one of the hardest things about the trip was leaving my family. I had complete faith in him; however, it is hard to single parent for any amount of time. I missed them and they missed me, but he did a wonderful job of keeping them busy and having fun with together! Not that I was surprised, but I came home to a clean house, happy children, stocked refrigerator, and dinner. With a calling and desire to go and serve, I am  blessed to be supported! Love you!!

2) The leaders and servants we met at each ministry location. As our hearts were broken, we were encouraged by the selfless leaders and staff we met: Pastor Samuel at Return Ministries, Rebecca at Royal Hope Academy, Moses at Sixty Feet, Katie Davis, Patrick, and Pastor Raoul at Amazima, the nannies at Amani Baby Cottage, and Pastor Isaac and "Mama Rebecca" at Canaans Childrens' Home...just a few of the many who share the truth and hope of Christ and "serve the least of these" on a daily basis

3) The many people who supported me with prayer and financial means to go. I will never be able to adequately express my appreciation!

4) The Lord's love, joy, and peace. He doesn't need me, but I am grateful that He allowed me to be a part of what He is doing in Uganda. I am thankful that He was there before us and that He is still there working "all things together for good among those who love Him" (Romans 8:28). I am thankful that He "heals the brokenhearted and binds up their wounds" (Psalm 147:3).

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