Far from what I once was, but not yet what I'm going to be

Thursday, June 12, 2014

Learning and Journeying

It's been a journey, this whole process.

I've been gone exactly 44 days now and it's been the most incredible time of my life. It's amazing how 44 days can change you.

In 44 days I have loved, I have learned, I have laughed, I have cried.

44 days and I'm not the same girl that boarded the plane in Phoenix that day. My eyes have seen things, my ears have heard things, my heart has encountered and felt things I never could have imagined.

It's hard to process everything that has happened, but as I sit here in the comfort of the guesthouse on the CURE hospital grounds, I feel at peace.

The journey that is my life in Uganda began long before I boarded the plane in Phoenix. It was weeks and months of preparation for such a monumental time of my life. It seems that with every big, monumental spiritual journey I go on with The Lord, I happen to go through the dark places first. And this journey was no exception.

It was hard leading up to this trip. I was nervous, I was anxious, I was broken and hurting. But in the dark places is where the Lord's light always shines the brightest. He never fails. His love is sufficient. He is enough. He never ceases to amaze me.

I read a book while living here in Uganda. This book is called "Kisses from Katie" and it is written by a young woman named Katie Davis who left her life in America and moved to Uganda. She moved here to become a teacher for what she thought would only be a year - but turned out to be permanent. She adopted 13 precious daughters and now runs a ministry called Amazima that helps support women in her village in Jinja get back on their feet.

In her book, Katie's words spoke deeply to my heart as I was beginning my journey. She said,
"I have learned along my journey that if I really want to follow Jesus, I will go to the hard places. Being a Christ follower means being acquainted with sorrow. We must know sorrow to be able to fully appreciate joy. Joy costs pain, but the pain is worth it. After all, the murder had to take place before the resurrection.
I'll be honest: the hard places can seem unbearable. It's dark and it's scary, and even though I know God said He will never leave or forsake me, sometimes it's so dark that I just can't see Him. But then the most incredible thing happens: God takes me by the hand and walks me straight out of the hard place and into the beauty on the other side. He whispers to me to be thankful, that even this will be for His good.
It takes awhile sometimes, coming out of the dark place. Sometimes God and I come out into a desert and he has to carry me through that too. Sometimes I slip a lot on the way out and He has to keep coming back to me. Always, on the other side is something beautiful, because He has used the hard place to increase my sense of urgency and to align my desires with His. I realize that it was there that He was closest to me, even in the times when I didn't see Him. I realize that the hard places are good because it is there that I gained more wisdom, and though with wisdom comes sorrow, on the other side of sorrow is joy. And a funny thing happens when I realize this: I want to go to the hard place again. Again and again and again."

So the weeks leading up to my trip were hard. They were emotional and at times they were dark. But The Lord took me by the hand and led me out of that place. He took me on a journey across the world to a land with broken people. He showed me His heart in a way I have never before experienced. And on this journey, He has taken me out of the dark places and brought me into His light. He has brought me such joy. Because on the other side of sorrow is joy.

Let us remember that The Lord uses everything and wastes nothing. He doesn't waste pain.

I was learning these things on my way to Uganda -- and these lessons have been so essential to my everyday life.

I see children with hydrocephalus and spina bifida everyday. I see children with brain tumors. I watch as mothers hear the news that their child has cerebral palsy and cannot be treated here. 

But The Lord uses everything and wastes nothing. God doesn't waste pain. It's in the dark places that His light shines the brightest.

Here in Uganda, I have experienced life and death in ways I never had before. I woke up one morning to the loudest wailing I have ever heard. A mother had lost her 22 year old son in the night. He passed away in surgery. It was a trauma case and this particular patient came to us in very bad shape. I later found out this man was married with 6 children.

But The Lord uses everything and wastes nothing. God doesn't waste pain. It's in the dark places that His light shines the brightest.

Do not forget in the darkness what you have been promised in the light. Christ shares in our sufferings. He does not apologize for our heartache, but He shares it -- even better.

"He lifted me out of the slimy pit, out of the mud and mire; he set my feet on a rock and gave me a firm place to stand. He put a new song in my mouth, a hymn of praise to our God. Many will see and fear and put their trust in The Lord."
(Psalm 40:2,3)

I wouldn't trade my journey for anything. There has been heartache and there has been pain; but those things have brought me to where I am today. The dark places bring me closer to the one who is the Light of the world. And for that, I am forever grateful. If it takes going through the pain and the dark places to know the love of my Lord better, then take me to the pain and take me to the dark places.

The dark places allow me to relate to the brokenhearted. The dark places allow me to have insight into what sorrow and pain look like; and I have learned how to cling to the One who will never leave or forsake me. Through this journey I have learned much that I can pass on to the broken and hurting mothers and families here in Uganda.

Thank you Lord for my journey. Thank you for the struggles; thank you for the pain. You have never left my side.

"When you saw only one set of footprints, it was then I carried you."
Footprints in the Sand



  1. Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, the Father of mercies and God of all comfort, who comforts us in all our affliction, so that we may be able to comfort those who are in any affliction, with the comfort with which we ourselves are comforted by God. For as we share abundantly in Christ's sufferings, so through Christ we share abundantly in comfort too. [2 Corinthians 1:3-5, ESV]


  2. Cara you are so inspiring. I wouldn't be surprised if you became the sequel to Kisses from Katie... Kisses from Cara! Thank you for sharing your heart :)

    - Kelsey