As I look at my 6 beautiful children I am thankful for God's grace and His goodness. I am so thankful for how well they have adjusted to life here in Kotido Uganda. I am proud how they strive to follow God. For my oldest three I am proud of how far they have come and their heart to serve the Lord.
It is strange and surreal to see them mature and change. My once "little girl" is not so little anymore and Joshua is beginning to transform into a young man. My heart is jubilant and scared all at the same time. I don't want them to grow up, but it is inevitable. However it is encouraging to see the seeds God has planted starting to sprout. My prayer is that it would only continue into a bountiful harvest of fruit.
This desire is especially true as Joshua begins to reach puberty (I know it is weird for me too). Joshua has a hunger to follow God and a craving for God's word is contagious. I would like to share a story of how God has been faithful to Joshua.
When we were praying about moving to Uganda we asked the kids to pray along side of us. Joshua came to me one day and said he thought that God was asking him to go and to teach the people about God. Later he felt specifically that God wanted him to teach kids that fighting is not the answer. Previously in Joshua's life it was normal to fight with fists to solve problems. He had learned that you deal with your emotions with violence.
A couple weeks after we were here, an interesting situation happened. Joshua was playing football (soccer for the State side people) at at field nearby and a kid got mad at Joshua and threw a rock at him hitting him in the head. I was in the yard and saw him walking home and by the way he was walking and the way he looked I knew something was wrong. Once arriving through the gate I learned that a boy was mad at him and threw a rock hitting him in the head, leaving a gash. Joshua responded by yelling at the boy, "Why did you do that?" The boy said nothing just expected Joshua to fight with him and throw a rock back. Rather than doing that, he walked away. That had to be one of the hardest things for Joshua, to walk away in a moment of anger, but he did it. He denied his ever so strong emotions, and obey what he felt God wanted him to do. The boy seemed to be somewhat of a coward and wouldn't come around Joshua or our house. It seems he was afraid of him. Maybe it was more because Joshua hadn't done what was expected and didn't seek revenge.
Several weeks even months went by. We saw this rock thrower here and there and Joshua didn't hold a grudge against him. We talked with Joshua about forgiving him and Joshua knew what the scriptures say about the importance of us forgiving. We told Joshua how proud we were of him in his obedience to God. Then one day Joshua asked me if this infamous rock thrower named Emmanuel could come in our gate and play. With the biggest smile on my face while fighting back the tears of joy, and thankfulness to God I said, "YES!"
I am happy to say that now Emmanuel is one of Joshua's closest friends. He comes to play with Joshua often and Joshua enjoys showing him his illustrated Bible he got for Christmas. He went to Emmanuel's house to meet his family and ran home to ask me if he could give Emmanuel one of his t-shirts because he hardly had any clothes. Of course my response was, "Yes!" once more.
Even though it is hard to think of my kids growing up and someday leaving the nest it is encouraging to see God work in their lives. It is exciting to see His promises fulfilled in them.
Thank you Jesus for my children. They encourage me to be a better mom and Christian. Their testimonies speak loud to me and I am grateful. Thank you for the work you are doing in their lives. Thank you for your love and forgiveness. Thank you that we get to serve here in Kotido and be the hands and feet of Jesus. Thank you that my children are a part of your plan here. Thank you for the opportunity to be a servant. Continue helping me to be a mom you desire me to be. Help me to show them who YOU are and who YOU want them to be. May You continue to show your love and grace in their lives. You are GOOD!