Saturday, March 29, 2014

Reunions, Remembering and Reprieve...

For 3 hours today I forgot.

I forgot about the stress and heaviness my heart has been carrying this week.
I forgot about the headlines.
Worry seemed far from my mind.
There was no talk of war.
No talk of Russia.
There was only laughter, memories and hugs and smiles....and pizza.

I traveled with a group of friends to visit the children we brought to Colorado this last December to perform The Old Russian Shoemaker.  Their orphanage is about 4 hours from Kiev, so this was the first time we'd all been reunited since our departure in December.

What a sweet reunion it was.

The 7 kids were more than thrilled to see our team and we were tackled with hugs and kisses the moment we were found.

Sitting around a large cafe table, we reminisced about favorite America memories and even were able to FaceTime with some of our wonderful host families in Colorado.  I had brought letters from each of the host families, so those too were read and re-read and read again!  Their faces were filled with pure joy-- their happiness was contagious.

FaceTime with our sweet Kelly in Colorado!

This afternoon was so very precious.  My heart so very full.

More tears were shed upon our departure. The dearness of these children - their yearning for relationships and to be known was once again made clear.

For those 3 hours, rumors of war seemed distant from the mind. Instead in focus were sweet hugs and pleas to 'come visit again soon.'  Life suddenly seemed quite simple.

As our team loaded back into our van and waved our final goodbyes we all sat down and discussed how meaningful the time had been...all of us confirming that life for a moment had felt lighter. Funny....we all had managed to forget.

As we made the long trek back to Kiev the heaviness slowly set back in as we checked our phones and read news updates (bad mood killer, let me tell you). The weight of thousands of Russian troops surrounding the eastern borders suddenly again felt very real...probably because it is very real.

This last week has been mentally exhausting. 95% of conversations seem to focus around the potential of a Russian invasion and what could happen next. Life continues on as normal as possible, but there is a weight that everyone is living under

 I was in a group of internationals a week or so ago and we all had to pick 3 words to describe our feelings for the past two months.  I had to invent a word to accurately describe how I felt: 'yo-yo.'  Life has truly felt a bit like that---one moment up, the next down. Pause.  Repeat.

We've been living on the verge of so many 'what if' scenarios and  I'm constantly struggling to renew my mind and focus on the one hope I know to be true...the Jesus who is my peace in the midst of this storm.  It is truly a daily exercise--and I'm far from perfecting it.  Pause. Repeat.

So tonight I pause and thank God for the reprieve of today, for the chance to get my mind off of what has been bringing me down and instead focus on the children who can so quickly change my perspective and refocus my vision.  The children who remind me of why I'm here in the first place.  

And thus I return to the renewing of the mind:

"God is our refuge and strength,
    an ever-present help in trouble. 
 Therefore we will not fear, though the earth give way
    and the mountains fall into the heart of the sea, 
 though its waters roar and foam
    and the mountains quake with their surging.
There is a river whose streams make glad the city of God,
    the holy place where the Most High dwells.
God is within her, she will not fall;
    God will help her at break of day. 

 Nations are in uproar, kingdoms fall;
    he lifts his voice, the earth melts.
The Lord Almighty is with us;
    the God of Jacob is our fortress.

 Come and see what the Lord has done,
    the desolations he has brought on the earth. 

 He makes wars cease
    to the ends of the earth.
He breaks the bow and shatters the spear;
    he burns the shields with fire. 

 He says, “Be still, and know that I am God;
    I will be exalted among the nations,
    I will be exalted in the earth.” 
The Lord Almighty is with us;
    the God of Jacob is our fortress.

Psalm 46

1 comment:

Samantha F said...

Karen thanks for your lovely update and pictures. I was in the mountains when you and Julia called. I was sad that I missed your call but it did melt my heart listening to Julia! Thank you for all your amazing work and your heart. Sending our prayers! Love Sam Flood