As I sit in the Airport heading to California right now I am reflecting on how hard this past few days have been. To be honest, the last 5 months have been really rough. If you read my last blog post which I wrote in the Fall, this one will make more sense. If you haven’t, now would be a good time to pause and read it before this. Life as a full-time, in the field “Missionary” isn’t just playing with kids and taking cute photos and hanging out with American teams that come on short term trips. There is a lot of responsibility that comes along with being the only American on the ground here in Haiti. I have a lot of jobs and I enjoy most every one of them. It is so fun and the most rewarding job you will find. I have felt more valuable and used by God since I have been living in Haiti than I have ever felt before. Having to depend on God all day, everyday for literally everything while being here is such an awesome challenge and a blessing. God shows up when you need him and you ask. Here in Haiti you need him CONSTANTLY just to survive.
Though this has been my favorite job that I have had yet, there are a lot of everyday things that many people aren’t aware of or don’t completely understand. Even those that have been here for a short time. Living without consistency can be very taxing on an American girl from Southern California. Will I have electricity all day today? Is the food I’m eating safe? Will the road be clear to drive where I need to go today? Will my internet function long enough to talk to my family on Skype? Will I remember my Creole enough to speak to the Haitians I need to today? Will I have water pressure or need to shower with a cup? There are many questions every day that go along with normal functions here, not to mention all of the other factors of being in full-time ministry. Satan is never happy when we are happy, and if we are doing God’s work full-time, he is not happy EVER. We become a huge target for him to come after day in and day out with any frustration or turbulence he could possible throw at us.
And then…..being alone. Have you ever been single and moved far away from friends and family and felt isolation like you’ve never experienced before? It’s rough. Compile that on top of not having many of your day to day American luxuries like hot showers, clean faucet water, working vehicles or paved roads….and it’s a tough place to be. It’s taken me a long time to meet people here in Haiti. Part of that has been my lack of independence and ability to drive myself many places. Other factors are being busy with my position, but also just not knowing how to go about meeting people. Though my directors have been great for me with transitioning down here, they have never lived here full-time. Because of that, there will always be a certain amount of disconnect and they weren’t able to prepare me enough or completely understand life here to set me up with the tools I need to live a fulfilled life here. I am lucky in that, once I realized I have needed certain things, they are awesome and understanding and willing to help me. The problem is, when you know you’re unhappy but you don’t know the solution, you don’t ask. At least, I don’t. I have always been an independent self-sufficient person that could figure most things out. This has been a whole unknown world for me down here though.
As you read in my last post, this Fall tested my loneliness and independence on another level. I won’t repeat the reasons why, but I found myself in a place I have never been before. It was dark. I pray I never have to go through that again. In that darkness, in searching for a way out of that lonely desperate place, I messed up. I made a wrong choice one night that I cannot take back.
I am now 5 months pregnant. I found this out while I was in the US for the Holidays with my family and to say that this has been a rough time is an under statement. Not only did I make a mistake while in such a desperate time for me, but I have had to face my family, my directors and board of my organization, but also all of the amazing supporters of my ministry. I immediately felt horrified at how disappointed they must be in me and how could I make such a awful mistake. How could I screw up this bad after having such amazing, prayerful and financial support from the most loving people that believed in me. To be honest I struggled with God on some levels also. How could he let this happen? Why didn’t he just answer my prayers and comfort me? He knew I was struggling so why did he let satan come in and try to fill that void for me? Why did he ever trust me to come here if he knew this was going to happen?
Remember what I said in the beginning of this post. God shows up. As soon as this happened, I was blessed to have time with my American pastor here and confess and pray with him about my situation. The hurt, the shame, the disappointment in myself and what I’m capable of when I’m being tested. This was a month before I found out I was pregnant. I am so blessed that God allowed that time for me to heal. To know and fully understand that God’s grace covers ALL of our sins. To know that being a Missionary doesn’t mean you’re not human. It doesn’t put you in a bubble away from satan and his tactics to kill and destroy….it propels you towards them. My pastor had wise words and precious prayers for me that day and I am so blessed by that. A few weeks later when I found out I was pregnant, he was the first that I told and he gave me biblical words of wisdom again. I was able to hear that I wasn’t being “punished” and that God may be filling a void that I didn’t even know I had. The next few weeks were full of tears, a lot of tears, and an overwhelming amount of Grace. There’s no doubt that there is disappointment from people. But even more than that, God has shown up in the words, faces and hugs from people in my life. Some are close friends, family, and supporters, and some from people I don’t know well at all. I have had encouragement and perspective when I need it. I wish I could explain how incredible of a feeling it is see God use the people in my life to support me during this time. It has not been easy, but I am blessed beyond belief. Even through the tears, God has given me his peace that passes all understanding.
I read a devotional that my Momma sent me and it said this; “God’s love for us is a full-awareness love. An ‘I know exactly what it’s going to cost Me to love this girl’ kind of love. God looks at your ugliest life moments and says, ‘I love you anyway.’ You live at the intersection of being fully known and fully loved. You live under the umbrella of a love you cannot lose. Rest in that love. Let it set you free to be all who God made you to be.” This situation does not disqualify me from my ministry or the plan God has for my life. It’s changed the direction I thought it was going, but it doesn’t cancel it out. Nothing surprises God. He knew from day one that this would be my journey and I am allowing him to continue to guide it.
On August 3rd, or thereabouts, I will give birth to a little girl. I pray for her everyday. I pray that she is healthy and she grows up to know Christ. I pray that God guides me in every step of raising her. I pray that God sends me a God-fearing, loving man to be my husband and to be her Father. I know that God has something incredible planned for her little life and that he has all along. “It was You [God] who created my inward parts; You knit me together in my mother’s womb. I will praise You because I have been remarkably and wonderfully made. Your works are wonderful, and I know this very well. My bones were not hidden from You when I was made in secret, when I was formed in the depths of the earth. Your eyes saw me when I was formless; all my days were written in Your book and planned before a single one of them began” (Psalm 139:13-16).
I am heading home now to be with my family through the remainder of my pregnancy and childbirth. I will miss Haiti more than I can ever describe. Saying goodbye to my Haiti family and kids this week has been heart wrenching to say the least. I pray that God will be bring me back with my little girl. I don’t know if that will be soon or far off from now. He knows the plan and I will wait on him to lead me. I am going to continue to work for World Wide Village from my computer in California. There is still a lot for me to do from there, and my heart is still with them and Haiti. I am praying for God’s financial guidance and provision while I work for WWV from home.
Thank you. You will hear from me again soon as this new journey continues, but thank you for being part of this journey with me. Thank you for your prayers and support. Thank you for your grace and understanding and encouraging words. Thank you.
There has been a ton of questions thrown at me during this time. If you have some, I have provided some frequently asked ones to help.
Q- Will the Father be involved? A- No. He is Haitian and we are not in a relationship and we decided that I will do this on my own and I am happy with that. Q- How long will you be in the states? A- I have no idea. I would love to bring my baby girl and move right back after she is a few months old, but I don’t pretend to know what having a newborn will be like. It also worries me to move back to Haiti alone again, especially with a baby. God has it under control and I am keeping him in control of what the next phase of our lives will look like. Q- Where are you going to live? A- My parents are loving and gracious and are letting me live with them in LA while I finish my pregnancy and have the baby. I will see what the future holds past that. Q- How involved will you stay with World Wide Village? A- They have shown me grace and want me to stay part of their organization and I want to as well. Like I said, I can do a lot of my position from my computer so I will do as much as possible and pray for provision as I volunteer with them. Q- What will you name your little Girl? A- Shekinah Ann Foster. When I went on a mission’s trip 13 years ago, I met a little girl named Shekinah Glory that became my sidekick that week. She had such an impact on me that trip and I have said since then that if I ever had a little girl, I would name her after her. Besides, can you get any better than a word that means the dwelling place of God’s divine presence?? :-)