Tuesday, November 8, 2016

Oh My Happys

I have less than one month left in this beautiful place, and my heart isn’t quite ready to accept that.  So instead of bemoaning the fact and thinking sad thoughts, I am going to surprise everyone and write about the happy things.  And I am really excited about it. 

My time here has been really hard.  I have seen things I wish I hadn’t and have been challenged in ways I didn’t even know I could be.  But at the same time, I have had a blast.  I LOVE the kiddos here……I LOVE THEM.  Each day, I add more memories with them, and their little hands grab tighter and tighter around my heart.  I couldn’t be more grateful for the experience.  The things I am learning and the love I am finding is worth all the hardships. 

Kids are hard, but kids are also fun.  Their giggles are my favorite noise.  One day, Briana and I swung the middle aged boys (7-10 year olds) by their arms and legs onto the bed, and I had the biggest smile due to their genuine joy and giggles.  It was so innocent and pure, and I felt that for a second, all the crap in their life was forgotten.  Not much could bring me more joy than this. 

I love my daily hugs.  Sometimes I have to force them to happen in the beginning.  I do things like block them in the room or chase them around the compound until they give me a hug (which now that I see it written sounds a bit like harassment, but I promise it’s not :]), but I think that is half the fun for them sometimes.  The best is when the hugs come out of nowhere.  Sometimes I am just sitting on the steps talking to the older kids when a little munchkin just grabs me around the neck, leans over and kisses my cheek. 

Some days you get to watch a kid who is normally getting into trouble use parts from the three bikes he owns to make two completely functional; it is on these days that you just sit back and marvel at their creativity and give as many high 5s as you can.  Some days you get to watch a 7 year-old girl crash and giggle her way through learning to ride one of said bikes, after she begged you to help her learn; these days you take a lot of videos and do a lot of cheering.  Some days you have a kid who fears the dark ask you to sing him to sleep; it is on these days that you do an inner happy dance, pray with him, and do just what he asked….sing.  Some days you get to be the one who comforts one of the littles while he can’t sleep because he is sick; these days, you pray for him to have a mother soon and hug/rock his cute self until all he can do is sleep. 
And some days you (miraculously) help calm the 4 middle aged boys during “rest time” and witness them all being ASLEEP for some of it; it is on these days that you take pictures then leave the room, brag to all the tias, and then go out for cake to celebrate (we find lots of reasons to do this :]). 

It’s listening to music and making bracelets.  It’s dancing and hair braids (by the talented Briana).  It’s playing soccer, freeze tag, or hide-and-seekIt’s playing “zombies” and reading stories and praising their art work and showing them pictures.  It’s folding laundry and cheering for them during soccer practice.  .  And sometimes, it’s just talking and laughing together. 

Maybe you guys don’t care about all these vague memories, but I can’t tell you how light my soul feels right now recounting all these special moments.  And with all the darkness we have battled, I think it is good for you guys to know that there is also so much light.  There is laughter amidst the tears, tickles among the biting, and “I love you”s within the “SUELTAME!”s (LET ME GO!). 

So please, hear me when I say that I truly do love my time here.  I often share about the hard parts and all that I am being taught through them.  But I am also enjoying myself and learning from fun things too.  Through my good and bad days, God loves me the same.  I want to do that for these kids as well.  I’d do just about anything for them, and I hope that they believe that.  But more important, I hope that they know and believe that there is One that did do the hardest/worst/best thing for them……and that they have Hope because of it. 

Continue to fight for these kids with me.  Pray that they would know Jesus and truly feel His love.  And while you pray for them, say a pray for the tias and all the staff that puts in so much time and effort into their lives.  It’s not easy, and some days require blood, sweat, and tears (literally),  but it is so worth it.  I am so thankful for all that they do. 

These last few weeks are sure to go by very quickly.  I already feel myself trying to put up walls to ease the pain of leaving.  Pray that I continue to be open with the beautiful people surrounding me.  I want to live where my feet are, and do it well.   I want to trust the Father with my heart and future.
Thanks for lifting us up, friends.  We need you.  And I love you.