Attention and Intention


Whew…what a year.

I look back over the last year, from my travels around the world to my next journey across the states and I am without words (well…almost without words. I have to write something on this blank page).

Last June when I returned home from Africa, I was drifting between two worlds and trying to make sense of it all. Silly me, I know. I tried to fit back into the rhythm of my life the way it was before but of course, it didn’t work. How could it? I had seen and experienced so much. I was foolish to come home and think that I could be the same. I was very excited to see my family and share all that I had seen and done but they didn’t walk that walk with me. I was an open book of emotion upon my return, feelings of joy and shame, anger and peace, gratitude and hopelessness. How could I convey all of that?

I had big plans for my family (unbeknownst to them): I was going to learn Zulu fluently, write a book about my experience to benefit their cause, raise money to return with my whole family, and even thought for a moment, “We could be missionaries.” I wanted my kids to feel the curiosity and excitement that overwhelmed me when we would roll into the care point and kids would come running. I wanted my husband to walk with me and deliver food to a family in desperate need of it. I promised myself that I would continue to fight this fight, keep the flame burning, carry them with me, keep my attention turned to them. Why would God send me there just to forget it all?

It saddened me as the big plans I had slipped through my fingers and reality resurfaced. I had a family that needed my attention, here and now, not living in the future or past in Africa. Not that I can’t have a passion for Africa, I can, I just can’t blow it into full-blown obsession and neglect everything else that I have been given. So, now I’ve not accomplished learning Zulu or going to missionary school and I’ve neglected my biggest allies and support system. I felt more and more like a failure in both places, on two continents, an intercontinental failure!

A year has passed. I have spent much of this year in, shall I say, spiritual boot camp; studying, praying, and listening. I needed balance again. I prayed. And I prayed the next day and again, and again. And God showed up over and over, giving me direction for my budding passions and peace – peace about all that I want to do in Africa and peace in knowing that He’s got it. I am a pawn and I am in play but He will tell me when and where to move. Being rooted right here and now and faithfully keeping my eyes turned to Him so that I may be intentional every day, that is all I need to do.

In a few days I will be heading back to Colorado and I’m in the process of saying good-bye to the many friends and experiences that have blessed me here in California. This is a tough week and there is a certain mourning that I must walk through. Thanks to my spiritual sabbatical, I approach the change this time with a certain sadness but with the wisdom and peace that I am a part of the ultimate strategy and certain end-game.

I am ready, eyes pointed high and heart open for direction. Oh, the places we will go…


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