Tuesday, May 12, 2015

A Mother's Perspective

1 Kings 3:23-27 from the New Living Translation states:  “All right, bring me a sword.” So a sword was brought to the king.  Then he said, “Cut the living child in two, and give half to one woman and half to the other!”  Then the woman who was the real mother of the living child, and who loved him very much, cried out, “Oh no, my lord! Give her the child-please do not kill him!”  But the other woman said, “All right, he will be neither yours nor mine; divide him between us!”  Then the king said, “Do not kill the child, but give him to the woman who wants him to live, for she is his mother!”


As we began to realize that the Lord was leading us to bring Jamil back to Uganda, He reminded me of this scripture.  I know what it feels like to be divided.  Divided between two very different cultures.   Not physically of course, but emotionally, mentally, and spiritually.  This is a very tough as an adult.  It is even harder to see it in your child.  Yet, Jamil is alive, healthy!  We have been homeschooling him in math, reading, and English, studying science and social studies as it came up in our reading.  I came to realize the division of this sweet child beginning as we worked on these subjects and lived life with him in the US.


I will never forget the day in August when we found out that the MRI showed the tumor was in his brain.  At that point, we had yet to see Dr. McNall at OU Children’s Hospital.  To our knowledge at the time, we believed the tumor had grown from the CT scan in June he had in Uganda.  We assumed from the knowledge we had at this point that our call was  to walk along side this sweet child as he beat us all to Heaven.  I knew I could not give this news to Jake over the phone.  So a sweet friend went with me to Weatherford that late afternoon so I could tell Jake in person. 


Thankfully, this was not what would be our reality.  I’m reminded of the first time we took Jamil to the doctor in Uganda in 2012.  As we left the office and were stuck in traffic, a street evangelist who was sharing the Gospel in Lugandan caught sight of Jamil and his extruding eye.  He stopped, looked at Jay, and said, “This boy is going to be healed.” 
God is teaching me I must trust Him more deeply.  To remember He is the Alpha and the Omega.  He knows way more than I do.  I am to walk by faith not by sight. 


God continued revealing Jamil should be in Uganda in several ways.  We sought council from strong Christ Followers who listened carefully and the Lord used them to confirm His leading in our hearts.   For Christmas, one gift Jamil received was a butterfly kit.  When the weather became warm enough, we ordered the caterpillars.  This gift became a visual reminder of one of the verses he has memorized.  1 Corinthians 5:17-“Therfore, if anyone is in Christ, he is a new creation, the old has gone, the new has come.”  We talked about our hearts are like the caterpillar before we come to realize we need a Savior.  When we realize the only way to have eternal life is by accepting Christ, He transforms our heart….the old has gone and the new has come.  The result of the change (like in the cocoon, yet in an instant not days) is a new creation….the butterfly.  The butterfly can never go back to being a caterpillar.  The reason we choose to do good is because of what Jesus has already done for us on the cross because of grace that we each must choose to accept personally.  As we choose to live by his Holy Spirit daily, the new that is sealed in our hearts (the butterfly) it points others to Jesus, gives God Glory, and builds our treasure in heaven where thieves and moths cannot destroy.  The butterflies had been out for about 5 days.  One Sunday evening: Jared, Jayne, and Jamil came and asked me if they could go and release the butterflies.  It was a cloudy evening.  Jayne took her camera and took a few pictures.  Upon their return I asked if I could see the pictures.  As soon as I saw this picture, it was at that moment the Lord confirmed to me that His plan was for Jamil to return home to Uganda. 

It was time to release him.  However, I will admit to you that I continued to want Him to confirm it.  I had looked up the verse the first time that I began this blog with in Jay’s ESV Study Bible many weeks before.  I decided after seeing that picture and a couple of others I wanted to look it up in the One Year Bible I have been reading through which is in the New Living Translation.  I have enjoyed God’s Word in this way as it goes by date with readings from the Old and New Testament.  When I looked up in the index for the verses in 1 Kings 3 it was on June 8th, the day return to the airport to head back from the recently scheduled trip to Uganda.  Really, Lord? 


This is when I knew that I knew what He was saying.  Doubt and questions still kept creeping into my thoughts.  I am thankful and praising God who is merciful as He sees our hearts.  I wanted to obey, but oh I had no idea this new level of emotional pain that was beginning in me.  God’s lesson:  Trust me more deeply.  Faith is believing without seeing.  Finish well while I have your child physically with you.


It was a few days we received a letter stating that Jamil’s travel documents had been issued.  A week or two after that we received the date of his immigration interview for May 6th.  We had already scheduled our return to Uganda from May 8th to June 9th.  Okay Lord, I know what I heard you say, what does this mean?  As I have followed Christ I have learned He does not lead us in straight lines.  Is this a new turn, a curve from Him or not?  The need for daily discernment increased as did my emotional sadness.  But, the underlying peace remained.  I will admit sometimes it would shake if I would take my eyes off the Only True Source of Peace.  But, by grace, He restores when I refocus.  Unfortunately, sometimes I choose to do this more slowly than other times.


We had decided while Jamil was with us we wanted him to experience the ocean.  (Most Ugandans do not love the water for swimming.)  Last June, the first swimming pool Jamil was around in Uganda, he jumped in with both feet!  No fear.  As I write this I realize just how much in hindsight this is who he is.  Well, he sank.  We were right there.  He continued in his time with us to be very willing to experience new things.  When he arrived in the US we quickly got him a lifejacket and he always wore it around water.  This particular morning in Florida, I was the first one up.  His life jacket was on the table.  As I noticed it, my heart broke yet again and my eyes flooded with emotion as I thought about returning from Uganda without Jamil.  Later that morning we were at the pool.  Jayne and I had been teaching him how to swim.  I noticed that his life jacket was in the chair next to me.  Jamil was swimming!

No life jacket required.  Just like the butterfly picture, the Lord spoke through His Spirit to my heart.  He doesn’t need the life jacket.  I Am and always have been and will continue to be. “I’ve Got This”, God!


I think, NO, I know, this Uganda trip has been the most difficult to prepare for:  bittersweet.  Usually, I have an idea of what we are doing with the understanding it is a liquid plan.  However, as we were preparing to leave, I felt that I was going in totally blind.  Our first several days were planned to look at the best school for Jamil to attend upon return.  It is very different sending your child to school approximately 8500 miles away compared to 200, not to mention difficult to comprehend. 


Monday, May 11th was the day we planned to begin looking at schools for Jamil near Gaba a suburb of the capital of Kampala.  Gaba is where we work from through Africa Renewal Ministry who we partner with in the mission work God has called us to in Uganda.  Jay, Jamil, Cate, and David had looked at a couple in August when Jay returned to get Jamil last summer.  I believe with all my heart, this is why I didn’t sleep more than 4 hours Sunday night.  I am thankful for all of you who prayed for us as we began this unknown journey Monday morning.  I have been reminded several times by a dear friend to remember in the dark the decision that was made in the light.  God did not disappoint.   As I was awake Monday morning, I kept thinking about how I wanted Jamil to be close enough to Gaba Community Church so he could attend there each Sunday.  We had talked with David Gitta, and he offered to pick up Jamil when he was available.  David’s willingness to be a big brother to Jamil and Cate’s willingness to be a mother figure to him in Gaba had brought comfort. God is so faithful. Monday morning about 8:30 am David arrived at the guest house and we went to pick up Cate.  The first school we went to tour was Bunga Preparatory School.  Jamil’s countenance was somewhat apprehensive.  In August they had looked at this school’s other campus, which is actually where the boarders stay as well as P5-P7 classes are held, which he had liked.  A gentleman, named George, came up and introduced himself and let us know that he would show us the boarding area at the other campus. 
This is when I first noticed Jamil beginning to relax.  He, Jay, and Cate had looked through the windows in August, and Jamil had been pleased.  In the US, when we began talking with Jamil about returning, it was the school of his first choice.  Jamil stayed at the school to interview and take an exam, to determine his placement.  We met George during this time at the boarding campus.  Jay and I were very impressed with George and his passion for the school and the children.  He explained that his goal would be to make sure Jamil would feel comfortable.  Jamil would be paired with a leader in his class.  George would not allow others to make fun of Jamil, because of his eye.  He suggested the best beginning for this would be for Jamil, as a new student, to share his story and experience.  His parents had begun this Christian based school and he had returned to help them.  There are three matrons who live on campus and George is there.  This campus is located right down the road from Wentz Medical Clinic and Gaba Community Church (GCC). It is one of the few boarding schools that will allow the children to leave with a specified adult for the weekend.  Perfect!  George can take Jamil to GCC for the 11:30 service each Sunday and David, Cate, or one of our other extended family from there can return him to campus by Sunday evening.  The school also allows the child to be picked up on Friday and returned on Sunday evening by designated adults.  We all agreed there was no need to look at any other schools.  We had found it.  God is so good.  Later Monday evening we had a dinner meeting with most of the members of the Wentz Medical Board that Jay is now a member of.  Pastor Peter was there and had read Jay’s blog.  He asked how our day had gone.  When we shared, he said his children had gone to that school when it was only a kindergarten.  It was a great school, and he knows the people who own it very well.  He stated, “They are very good people.”  God has answered. 


As I finish this blog, Jamil is taking another exam to best determine his level in this school.  David and our family have been gathering the supplies Jamil needs to move in Monday and begin school on Tuesday. 
We will leave in a few hours for Jinja and head to Palissa district for Jamil to visit his family until Friday.  Jamil will rejoin us when we head back to Gaba.  We will have two clinics in Jinja on Thursday and Friday.  One will be at an orphanage and the other is an area that has just experienced severe flooding where a few people died.


I’m sorry for the delay of this blog, but I did get a full nights sleep after being up for 21 hours.  (It reminds me to appreciate and respect the fact that Jay stays up so often as he provides for our family and beyond.)  I know the days will still be hard and sad at times for not only this mother, but for all of us who have come to know and love Jamil.  As his mother, I want him to live. I know the Lord loves Jamil even more than I do and has a perfect plan for our son. He will remain whole and undivided!


Proverbs 3:5-6



No comments:

Post a Comment