The thoughts of a woman trying to live simply yet abundantly, contentedly yet expectantly, wisely yet adventurously... all for His glory.


so it's been 10 months...

Have I lost my voice? Where are all the deep thoughts, the meaningful reflections, the heartfelt inquiries? I came home from West Africa 10 months ago and have not blogged since then. Not once. In fact, I left you, dear few and faithful blog readers, in Niger which is colossally unfair of me. Since then I returned to the ship in Togo, sailed to South Africa, traveled for two weeks in South Africa, flew home via Paris, and then spent two weeks in Seattle and another two in Rochester before settling in to a new life in Houston. I went to Hawaii for a family Thanksgiving, Mexico with my Minnesota girlfriends, and am currently in Minnesota about to embark on a canoeing adventure in the Boundary Waters. All of that to say, I can't possibly catch up on all that's happened between now and then, and I'm sorry about that. I'm sorry I left you hanging in Niger waiting for the conclusion of two intense weeks of VVF surgery.

My heart has not been up to blogging, I guess.

I've been home in the states now for 10 months, and I am still grappling with all of the changes that have happened. I suppose I'm mostly over the reverse culture shock, except there's this part of me that misses being in West Africa. Each day that passes lessens the grief a little. I've thought about it-- a lot-- and I can find no other word but grief for this ache that I'm living with on a daily basis. I find myself wondering what's happening at the fistula clinic in Niger  and what's going on at the fistula hospital in Freetown Sierra Leone that my friend Sarah helps run. I wonder how things are going on the ship, how the nurses are doing, how lives are being changed. I miss being in the thick of things. I keep thinking about what my role would have been had I returned to the ship this year.

I write this not because I feel the need for sympathy, but because some part of me simply needed to admit this publicly.

I don't imagine that my emotions would stand up to the light of scrutiny. Perhaps I miss feeling important, feeling needed, part of changing lives. It's heady stuff, doing the kind of work that Mercy Ships and the Worldwide Fistula Fund does. It could easily become addicting, feeling important, feeling useful to God as if he can't quite get things done without me. Which is of course laughable, but there you have it.

So here I am. I live with my parents in Houston and work full-time as a nurse at a community hospital a few minutes' drive away. I'm starting my master's degree in nursing this fall at the University of Texas in Houston. I commute 45 minutes each way to a wonderful church downtown although I have not yet made any friends or become connected there. I've fostered some really positive work relationships with coworkers. I've had cause to be thankful numerous times over for the blessing of being able to spend more time with my parents as they go through their own transitions in life.

And still, I ache.

I have no idea what the future holds, other than I'll be done with graduate school by next Christmas and be a family nurse practitioner (FNP). I keep hoping that I'll receive a clear call from God for whatever happens next, but so far he seems to give me only just enough grace for right now in this moment. It's so typical of me to want to run ahead of Him. I'm forever looking ahead to the next thing, all the while missing the very thing he has directly in front of me. I feel His whispering in my heart: slow down. Breathe deeply. Rest in me, in my presence, in my love for you, in the knowledge that all is well and all will be well. 

Flower from a flame tree or tulip tree- I forget the name- in Hawaii.