It's closing in on three years since my first trip to Ethiopia.
Three years since we first met our sponsorship son through Children's HopeChest.
Three years since I became an every day mama to two kids.
And carrying love for many others in my heart every day.
How do you measure time?
I know that most value it in minutes or hours. Some even days.
A count down of sorts.
A driver's license.
I've totaled all of these things in hours, years, breaths and moments.
But the older I get, the pieces of my life that resonate most memorable
are the ones I remember having to make a big choice about.
Choosing to finish law school re-focused any day dreams of being young and
paying off student loans.
(paying that bill every month still takes my breath away.)
Choosing to love The Hero was easy.
But walking down the aisle refocused my ideas of commitment and loyalty.
Choosing to be a mother spun my thoughts on selfishness and "me time."
(Is there really any "me time" as a mommy?)
But leaving my heart in Ethiopia was never up to me.
It was always out of my control.
There is not a day I don't wake up and ache for a different time zone.
Feeling as though I've arrived home.
Three years ago, I knew I was there for a reason.
More than just to be a mother.
More than just to write a few blog posts about our trip across the ocean.
I had read all the good Christian literature about how to respond to the fatherless and abject poverty.
But it wasn't until I had been and seen for myself that I learned
true love is nothing if not acted upon.
It is not a feeling. It's a force.
The Angel and The Dinosaur were toddlers when we landed back in Oklahoma.
I struggled to explain to our family and friends about the wrestling of poverty and pure beauty.
I worried I might never find the words.
I finally settled that I wouldn't.
But I kept writing those sponsorship letters.
I kept remembering the boy who walked to a cesspool he called a river to get water.
Where cows and humans relieved themselves next to women bathing clothes and children.
I couldn't return to my life and act like I didn't know.
Every plastic water bottle felt heavier in my hand.
Each hot shower more of a luxury.
And a washing mechanism for our clothes and dishes; well that was just greedy.
I wanted to tell everyone I met his story.
So that maybe an avalanche of love could change it all.
I wrote his story for children.
Because that's how Jesus says we are to come to Him.
It's the purest form of ourselves.
The most honest and true parts.
I found an amazing artist who slashed his rates to walk this boy's story with me.
We went through re-writes and re-dos and rewinds.
I knew I wanted the proceeds to benefit water projects.
A well in his honor.
No publisher really seemed to agree.
Because of the intensity of the illustrations and the size of the pages,
few printers were willing to touch it.
So I did exactly what the enemy wants us to do when we're trying to start an avalanche:
I let life get in the way.
For 18 months, the project was stagnant.
About six months ago, I found a printer in Tennessee who agreed to print it.
Just like one you would buy in a book store.
But I would have to print 1000 of them.
Did you see the zeros after the 1?
I threw up in my mouth when they sent me the estimate to print it.
Could I really do this?
So I it did it again:
I put the estimate under my desk
and focused on soccer games, home work and advocating for some really amazing causes.
And I let life get in the way.
No one really calls me out like The Hero.
It's probably one of the main reasons I married him.
During a cleaning session a few weeks ago, he found the artwork for the book.
"You should have done this a year ago"
was all he said.
I contacted the printer last week.
Checked that the estimate was still correct.
And today, I came home to this envelope on my porch.
The print proofs.
The urge to throw up has been present all night long.
I still haven't opened them.
It has set on the table like a guest who needs to be introduced.
The Hero is at the station or he would have ripped it open.
I think there was a reason Jesus was always saying things like
"Do not be afraid" or "Fear not."
It seems to be the biggest issue in my life.
Being afraid of the unknown, risks, or the biggest F word of all....
But then I'm reminded that fear is a choice.
And tonight, I am choosing that for the sake of building a water well
in the name of someone I love,
I will not be afraid.
Hold onto your shorts.
You're probably going to get really tired of hearing about this project
in the coming weeks.
Let's start an avalanche.