Friday, August 19, 2011

One of those days

One of those days.
When she’s crying for my attention. When she needs some extra love. When she just wants some attention. When she wakes up just wanting Mommy to hold her.
One of those days.
When I realize that nothing on my to-do list is as important as letting her fall asleep on my chest.
One of those days.
When I realize that nothing else really matters as long as she knows that I love her.
One of those days.
That requires extra time set aside to just tickle and giggle.
One of those days.

I am so thankful for those days. Those days that remind me what life is really all about. What really is important. What really matters in the long run. What really would matter if I were not here tomorrow…

and this is Love.
He is love. We are to be love. I am to be showing that love to others as I have been shown that love myself. I want to be loving my Jesus more and more each day, and loving others more and more each day. Being that love…that Love that is only found in Christ.
I want my little girl to know that she is loved. Completely. 100%. Loved.
I want my Savior to know that He is loved. Completely. 100%. Loved.
If tomorrow never happens…if my to-do list never happens…did I love? Did I love my Savior with all my heart, soul, mind, and strength? Did I love those in my life, those closest to me here on earth?Did I love those He brought into my life as He would love them? Did I show them Jesus? Did I lead them to the cross?

I want to love.

I want to let it be one of those days.

Thursday, August 11, 2011

“The Hand that Rocks the Cradle is
    the Hand that Rules the World”

“BLESSINGS on the hand of women!
        Angels guard its strength and grace.
      In the palace, cottage, hovel,
          Oh, no matter where the place;
      Would that never storms assailed it,
          Rainbows ever gently curled,
      For the hand that rocks the cradle
          Is the hand that rules the world.

Infancy's the tender fountain,
          Power may with beauty flow,
      Mothers first to guide the streamlets,
          From them souls unresting grow—
      Grow on for the good or evil,
          Sunshine streamed or evil hurled,
      For the hand that rocks the cradle
          Is the hand that rules the world.

Woman, how divine your mission,
          Here upon our natal sod;
      Keep—oh, keep the young heart open
          Always to the breath of God!
      All true trophies of the ages
          Are from mother-love impearled,
      For the hand that rocks the cradle
          Is the hand that rules the world.

Blessings on the hand of women!
          Fathers, sons, and daughters cry,
      And the sacred song is mingled
          With the worship in the sky—
      Mingles where no tempest darkens,
          Rainbows evermore are hurled;
      For the hand that rocks the cradle
          Is the hand that rules the world.”

        William Ross Wallace

Tuesday, August 9, 2011

“My baby”, she moans. “My little boy is gone. He’s gone forever. My precious baby”, she chokes out through the sobs that wrack her body.

I held this precious mother as she sobbed in my arms. I stroked her hair as she cried for her baby. As this precious mother mourned the loss of her baby, my heart broke yet again. Inside I cried out, “God, how many times? How many times must my heart break like this? How many times must my heart be ripped in two? How many times must a mother’s heart be broken over losing a child? God, help us. Please, please hold us close.” 
I held her close until the heart-wrenching sobs subsided and her body stilled. She wept until no more tears could come.
The loss of a child. I sit here and can write, as I never thought I would be able to – never WANTED to be able to – that I know.  I KNOW.
I know the pain. I know the feeling of loss. I know unbearable pain of separation. I know the depths of sadness, of grief, of heartache. I know what it is like to mourn the loss of your beloved child. This was not on my list of things to accomplish in life: know the pain of losing a child. Nope. Not what little girls sit and dream about when they are young. It certainly wasn’t in the plans for my life when I laid them all out nicely…but God’s plans are bigger. His ways are higher. His thoughts are higher than mine.
And he asks me to submit. To surrender. To follow. To hold tight to His hand as he leads me through the fire.

The depth of the pain is hard to describe. I wanted someone who understood. I wanted someone who knew what I was going through. I wanted someone to empathize with me. Not to sit there and tell me it would be ok. I had lost my child – my child. “How is it going to be ok??”, I wanted to scream. “I lost my baby.”
Yet as I searched, desperate for someone – anyone – to understand me, I found only the face of God. The face of God. I came face to face with the Father. I came face to face with His heart. I saw the scars of His pain. I saw the pain of loss in His eyes. The wounds of His heart. The ripping of His heart in two. The agony He felt. He took me to the place, to the time, to the day He lost His child. His only child. His beloved Son. He took me there. and showed me His perspective - His view on the day my Savior’s blood was poured out for me. He let me walk through the events of that day with Him…and experience just a millionth of the agony He felt when His Son breathed His last. He whispered, “I know, Amy. I know. The excruciating pain you are experiencing, I experienced it all. The depth of loss, the separation, the agony, the grief…I understand.”
And as I sat. and watched with Him as my Savior, His Son, bled and died – I saw the Father’s face. I saw the pain etched there.
He whispered as He held me close during some of the darkest moments of my life, “I am here. I have felt your pain. All that I am asking you to endure, I have already endured Myself. I KNOW. And I will carry you. I will see you through the fire. The other side is sweet, Amy. Heaven is still yet to come.”

And so, just as He gently turned me to Himself, I gently turn her to the Father. To the One who truly understands. To the Someone who can truly empathize. To the Someone who will not just turn a sorrowful face toward her, but who will turn one of hope. One of true Hope. He turns toward us a face of understanding, of compassion, of unfailing love.
He did not just turn a sorrowful face in my direction, but he cupped my face in His hands and lifted my eyes upward. Heaven is still to come. Heaven is still waiting. The best is still yet to come. He turned my eyes to Hope. He turned my face to the heavens and promised joy in the morning. He promised to turn my weeping into laughter. He promised bright hope for tomorrow. He was the One who could hold my heart. He could take my sorrow, my questioning, my anger, my confusion, my pain, heartache, and grief…put it all on His shoulders…and then pick me up and carry me through. He carried me through. Even when I cried, rejected His love, fought His healing, questioned and doubted His love…he carried me. He loved me even more; He drew even closer to my broken heart during my darkest moments.

And so, to this grieving, hurting mother, I could truthfully say, “I understand. I know.”
But more than me being able to say I understand…I can point to a Father who understands more. And who loves deeper, and heals completely, and can perform miracles in taking it al and making it all work out for good when all we can see is bad.
This Father lost it all. He lost His only – His ONLY – Son.

I can hold her close and whisper words of encouragement and love only because I know. I know Who holds both of us in His mighty arms. I know Who has us wrapped in His grace. Who holds our lives in the palms of His hands. Who is carrying us through every moment of pain and grief – Who gently yet securely holds our hearts close to His. Who lets circumstances and events in our lives happen only after being sifted through fingers of complete and total love. I know Who will heal.
I know.

We find it all…everything we need…in the face of God. So I say to her, I say to me, and I say to you…seek and find the face of God. 

Saturday, August 6, 2011

I heard peals of laughter coming from the babies' room, so I hurried in to see what was so exciting: baby powder. Everywhere. Happy faces. White powder all over the room and the bodies who had found it. Such excitement - I had to get pictures before I nicely told my toddlers not to do it again :)

always cute. 
even when in trouble or covered in baby powder (or both!)

"I need Thee"

“I need Thee every hour…”

The words float through the air as my soapy hands lift high above my head.

“in joy or pain…”

Tears form and spill down my cheeks into the dishwater.

“come quickly and abide or life is vain…”

My head lowers over my kitchen sink in awe of my Savior.

"I need Thee, Oh, I need Thee. Every hour I need thee, oh bless me now my savior, I come to thee."

I need Him every hour. Oh, how I need Him every hour. How life truly is vain – unless He is with me, unless I am with Him. Unless He abides in me…and I in Him. Unless His love is coursing through my veins, there is no purpose in my life. I need Him, oh, I need Him.

I run to Thee. Come almost doesn’t seem to be strong enough a word. I don’t just come to Thee, I run to Thee. Pushing all else aside. I come running. Arms open wide, hands raised, heart desperate to be loved, soul needing to be held and cherished: I run.

As the hymns played…as my soul was bared before my Savior…as the tears streamed…as my voice rang out in praise to my God…I felt free. I felt lifted. I felt at home. I felt at peace. I felt like I belonged. I felt like I am who I really am.                        

There are times when I do not feel like I am Amy Washington.
At least not the Amy Washington I am used to. At least not the Amy Washington I have known for most of the years of my life.
I have cried many tears, been very frustrated and confused, and felt so discouraged at times…simply because it would hit me – I am not me. Since being back and living in Uganda, I am not me. I do not seem like the same person. I would even tell people, “I miss myself.” The Amy Washington I know is confident. Capable. Knowledgeable. Intelligent and smart. And I say all of this not in a prideful way, but with utter humility and humiliation. I am used to the Amy Washington who can “do anything”. Who knows it all. Is the problem-solver, not the problem-creator. The Amy Washington I know is not a burden to others or the “prayer request” – she is the one doing the praying for others. She is the rock. The steady one. The logical, sensible, reasonable one.
But this Amy Washington. The one in Uganda. The one who left America and came to Uganda – again. The one who can’t light the charcoal stove correctly. Who can’t cook  with Ugandan food. Who doesn’t have a vehicle. Who doesn’t know where the best doctor is. Who doesn’t know what Ugandan medicine to give. Who burns dinner.Who knows seemingly nothing. Who is not capable. Who can’t speak the language or understand what her children are saying to her. Who doesn’t know the cultural differences and messes up. Who gets sick all the time. Who is most of the time an absolute mess.

This Amy Washington.
I get frustrated with.
This Amy Washington.
Is harder to be.
This Amy Washington.
I am still not used to.
And yet this Amy Washington.
Is still the same.

I am still the same, and yet I am so different. I have been changed since stepping onto the red dirt soil of Uganda for the first time two years ago. God has changed me. and Honestly, I do not want to go back to the Amy Washington that I knew before. That Amy Washington was too confident in herself. Didn’t rely on God for strength for every moment and every decision she made. That Amy Washington would yes, have her “quiet time” and sing to the Lord, even cry out to Him when the troubles and very hard times of life hit…but she didn’t weep while holding a dying baby in her arms and have to silently beg Jesus to give her words to say to the father who just lost his first born son. She didn’t fall on her face in her bedroom and cry over the heartbreaking life experiences of her so-young child. She didn’t know the desperation of starving people…not really. She didn’t know the faces of the orphaned…not really…not like she now knows the faces of her own children. She didn’t know the fear of a young expectant mother terrified of dying and leaving her unborn child with no one...not really. She didn’t know what the groans and cries of a mother who has lost her beloved child sounded like…not really.

That Amy Washington didn’t know…really. She may have thought she did or thought she had an idea…she didn’t.
This Amy Washington knows…really. 

And although painful, and heart wrenching and difficult and draining…these things are a blessing. All of these experiences and people and the life I now live…has drawn me closer to my Savior. And if that is what it took, I praise His holy name with everything inside of me.

Amy Washington is always changing…to, Lord-willing, be more like her Jesus. She is still the same Amy Washington who daily, hourly – minutely – needs her Savior. And she is changing to need her Savior even more every day, hour and minute. It may look different; I may be on another continent, but my Jesus reminds me…I am the same Amy Washington, just always changing. And He is still my same constant Savior, never changing. My heart still yearns for His love. My soul still longs to worship. My body still desires to serve.

And so…I wash dishes. I stand before my sink as I stand before my Maker.And in this moment...I feel like Amy Washington. I feel like I truly am the Amy Washington who belongs solely to Jesus Christ.
My heart is still the same. No matter what country. No matter what continent. No matter which house. No matter surrounded by which people. My heart is still His. I am still my Savior’s beloved. I am still God’s child. I still cry out for my Savior. I still so desperately need His love and grace.

I’m still the same normal, crazy girl who stands at the kitchen sink with pajamas still on at 2pm, hair still wet with hair dye from morning attempts to hide the gray, soapy hands  raised above her head, and heart poured out before her Savior.
Yes. I am still me. Much might have changed. Much might be changing. Much will change. But Jesus gently reminds me, “You are Mine. Your heart is Mine. And that will never change. You still need Me. Every hour…you need Me. and Amy, that, too, will never change.”

“I need Thee every hour in joy or pain.
Come quickly and abide or life is vain.
I need Thee, Oh, I need Thee. Every hour I need Thee.
 Oh, bless me now my Savior. I come to Thee.”

Wednesday, August 3, 2011


She crawled

My Joy just crawled.

I want to laugh and cry at the same time. I am in the kitchen preparing dinner by candlelight, as the electricity had gone off, when I hear a voice calling me from the living room. I hurry in to find Joy up on one bent knee and one out-stretched foot crawling across the living room floor. The tears form quickly, but I blink them away as she looks at my face. Not now. I don’t want her to see Mommy weepy the first time she is crawling. There will be plenty of time for tears of joy later. 

Now is the time for rejoicing. True reJOYcing! :) (He knew her precious name would matter greatly throughout the course of her life.) God is so good.  I just sit and hold her after she crawls her little way over to me. “Jesus, thank You. Thank You.” It seems to be all that I can say as I continue to fight back the tears. 

As I sit down on the floor in front of her these days, and hold out my hands, my heart swells with love as I watch her move toward me. I love this little girl so very much. How I have prayed that she would crawl. Like so many of you, I have prayed that her legs would work properly. I know we have such a long way to go, but for now, I cherish this huge step and rejoice. Step by step. Little baby step by little baby step – that is how we will make it. Taking one step at a time holding onto Jesus’ hand. He is leading us. He is helping us along this path – and He is crawling each part of this road to recovery with Joy. We are also praying that she will one day be walking side by side with our Savior – both literally and figuratively :)
I am so thankful. Thank you for every single prayer for Joy. God is slowly healing her little body in His perfect timing. Thank you for reJOYcing with us.

“Jesus, thank You. Thank You.”