When people ask, “What are you looking forward to about coming back to the US?,”  I usually answer with some food I miss eating, or how it will be so good to be around family and friends again.  And it’s true- I do miss those things.  But also, I am looking forward to giving my heart a rest.

My heart is being pummeled.  A constant cycle of breaking and healing.  It is exhausting and overwhelming.  Right now, I have the fan on, not because it is hot, but because I don’t want to hear the neighbor yelling, “I’ll beat you!” in Luganda.   I don’t always want to know when kids are sneaking into our gate to look through the trash.   Sometimes, I just want to be Mom.  Sometimes, I don’t want to think about what the children from my class are doing right now or if they’ve eaten today.  I don’t want to see a guy lying on the side of the road and wonder if he is sleeping or dead… and then try to decide if I should do something about it.  Some days, it is just too much to think about the young women being tricked into sex slavery, the witch doctors, and corrupt government officials.  Today is one of those days.  

Can I please just go back to worrying about what I’m going to wear to church?  Or make for dinner?    I’m not saying that America doesn’t have problems.  (I think it was easier for me to compartmentalize there though.) And I’m not even saying that Uganda’s problems are worse than America’s.  Pain is pain.  Tears are tears.  Sorrow is sorrow.  People are going through real struggles everywhere.  My eyes are just being opened to a new genre of hurt.  

Thankfully, I have been spared from pain and sorrow for most of my life.  For some reason, God chose to give me everything I’ve ever needed… and wanted, really.  Why?  Why me?  I did nothing to deserve the blessings I have.  Every good thing that I am is directly from Jesus.  He is the source of hope, joy, and goodness.  Without Him, I would be nothing.

On days like today when I just can’t make sense of things, the only thing I can do is remember that my job is to listen and obey.  That’s it.  I can’t fix everything.  I can’t fix anything!  But God can. He can use me to do whatever He wants.  And instead of thinking, “that’s all I can do…”  I should be thinking, “I am doing what I was born to do.”  

Sherry Crow
2/11/2014 07:06:25

I understand now a bit of what you are talking about. God is using your tender heart, dear daughter!

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Andrea Russell
2/11/2014 07:42:18

Having worked in the field of social work/mental health for nearly 33 years, I can so understand your feelings of having your heart pummeled. Some days/weeks are like that for me as well, especially early in my career when I took everything on and didn't know as well how to give my heart and mind a rest from caring so much. I think what is hardest for someone in your shoes is that you are in the midst of the suffering 24-7, without the luxury of evenings or weekends off that most people in the helping professions in the US have. I know that if I had been around my clients 24-7 I would not have lasted 6 months. You seem truly gifted in your ability to help, teach, and care for others. When you return to the States you will still be able to help, teach, and care for others who are in just as much need, but you will also be able to have balance and boundaries. And that saves one's sanity! Hugs to you.

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Kris Dewell
2/11/2014 14:08:18

God bless you Sarah. I can't imagine this at all. I hope you will come back in peace. You and Nick are doing great things.

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Sheila
2/11/2014 18:13:55

Sarah, it's amazing how we worry about what seems to be such needless things here. Did this student do their homework? Will their parents complain about how much homework I've given them? My students think about what they may have to eat in their lunchbox and not when their next meal will be coming . You and Nick have undertaken so much - but your mother's heart wants to help all of the children. I can only imagine what it must be like for you. Your heart is warm and welcoming, but hurts as well. God is using you for this unbelievable challenge, but He knows what you can handle. Please know how proud I am of you.

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Katie Nguyen
2/14/2014 13:19:43

Wow Sarah, this is powerful, open and raw. Thank you for sharing this with us.

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