I was reading a book my Amy Carmichael this week called “Gold by Moonlight”. Amy was a missionary to India in the 1800’s and gave her life to rescuing woman from temple slavery. She’s written more books than I could read as well as having penned hundreds of songs. Chapter 4 of the above is titled Snow. I am a Chicago girl first and foremost—December=Christmas=Snow. As you can imagine, there’s no dreaming of a White Christmas when you’re waking up in West Africa. Bing Crosby on the iPod has to suffice for this year. I will admit to looking up at the sky and asking God for one tiny unique snowflake to come down from the sandy sky and land on my tongue. Each time I promise to keep it our little secret, but it hasn’t happened yet. But in this Chapter, Snow, Amy writes:
And then suddenly—snow. And all our pleasant things are laid waste, or so indeed it seems, for we cannot see them anywhere, and all our newborn hopes are deep under the snow. For hopes had begun to be: a hope of healing, perhaps, if the trial be of the flesh; of a reversal of decision if it be something that lies in the power of another; or some touch on the wheel that turns our earthy affairs, if it concerns circumstances; of some break somewhere, some natural human joy, some relief, some comfort in the aching sense of loss—and now the snow has fallen and covered everything.
I read that excerpt right before New Years day and realized that nothing had more perfectly articulated what the emotional sum of the last twelve months.
Everything covered in snow.
But time continues and eventually the snow melts and gives rise to spring. Somehow we are given permission, either from ourselves, or others, to once again remember that which was sewn many months ago. There is nothing about 2016 that we need to forget, of course. There is merely a time to move forward in a healthy way, looking towards the joy of a new morning.
As I think ahead, I can only look back to the ways the Lord was already so faithful to me and to this community during the past year. Despite our great loss, the surgical service here never went without a surgeon. We took care of 46 new premature infants, all with Birth Weights less than 2 kg, with a survival rate of 89%! Our two boys, Martin and Jonathan, who are undergoing treatment for leukemia have successfully reached the 1-year mark—half way done! Our first ever HOH nursing class which began in May has retrained all of its students up to this point—a huge testament to our nursing school staff and their hours of work and dedication. The list could always go on.
|One of our sweet premies all grown up!|
I have learned over the last year that our “successes” and “losses” cannot be numbered on a tally board. Deaths vs Survival, Volunteers vs. None, Joy vs Fatigue—they are all an intricate plan that the Lord uses to refine us, grow us, and to show us and others who He is. There is no battle going forward where Satan is winning and the Lord is losing. Jesus has already vanquished sin and is the victor. Pray that we can begin to live and work in light of this beautiful picture of victory that is ever before us, the strokes of paint already laid on canvas. It is only with the choosing of the light colors alongside the dark, that makes all things visible.
As always, thank you for journeying with me. Thank you for your patience and your prayers. Please lift us up and we go into a season of both joyful and difficult anniversaries. You’re partnership in ministry here is never forgotten.