down by the river

I’m sure people must be wondering what I’m up to these days.  Such a release of big news and then quiet.  Well, the past few months have really passed quickly and my whole world has changed in such a short period of time!  Sometimes change is hard and uncomfortable, and sometimes its full of excitement and joy.  I’m a person who embraces change, so these past months have been both wonderful and challenging all at once.

I got married to Dr. Emma on April 5th, we went to the coast of Kenya for our honeymoon, came back to Uganda on a 22 hour bus ride, and moved into our new apartment with Emma’s our year old son all in a matter of two weeks.  I went from being a single missionary living in a hotel room (maid included) to being a wife, mother, and housekeeper all at once.  Not to mention still being a missionary.  Ok, and I admit I still have a maid two days a week but I can do my own housework just fine.

Needless to say, lately I’ve been spending a lot of time adjusting to my new roles and trying to remember how to cook again!  Married life is just great, my husband is a sweetheart, my son Ian is a sweetie with a stubborn side, and cooking again has had both its good and bad moments.  At least I can say I haven’t started any major fires yet.  The joys of married life and motherhood are many, and also the challenges of this new life are equally present each day.  My husband and I like to look at them as positive challenges which will bring us closer together as we overcome them.

As you can imagine, bringing two people together from different backgrounds, cultures, experiences and viewpoints sure has its interesting moments.  Thankfully, my husband isn’t your standard traditional African.  He enjoys a cup of cappuccino regularly, has exquisite but simple taste in fashion, and doesn’t leave the house without putting on his Old Spice deodorant (not that he needs it much).  I guess you could say he’s almost American, really.  Thank you Jesus.

Through all of these life events and changes, there’s one thing that’s remained constant throughout.  There’s no doubt that God has been with us.  In the busy times and in the slow times, it has been overwhelmingly evident that God’s love and our love for each other has carried us forward.  With the confidence that the Lord is ever present, we are ready to face the mountains and valleys ahead of us.

For those of you who missed our wedding (most all of you), here are some photos of our lovely day.  We got married in Jinja, Uganda under a big old tree by the Nile River.  We had a real dream team of people helping us out that day and couldn’t have pulled it off without them.  I had an amazing wedding planner, florist, makeup artist, hair stylist, personal assistant, photographer, guitar player, violin player, and pastor;many of them missionaries, and all giving their time and talents free of charge.  I was truly overwhelmed with the goodness and generosity of these sweet people.  What a blessing to have each one of them as part of our wedding memories.  We wish that everyone could have traveled from the States to be with us, but we knew that would be asking a lot!  So hopefully this year we can travel to Virginia for a visit so Emma can meet all of my family and friends that have been so loving and supportive of us from across the ocean.  Aside from his passport and entry visa, my biggest challenge will be getting this man to overcome his fear of plane crashes and disappearing flights.  Any suggestions?

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As we plan for our future, both Emma and I know that God brought us together for a reason. We are looking forward to seeing His plan for us as it is slowly revealed.  I’ve learned that the plans we make for ourselves are not the plans God has in mind.  No matter how many paths we go down on our own, the Lord always redirects us to the destination He intended for us to reach.  I look back at my life and sometimes wonder how I got here.  I wonder how a happily single career woman in Virginia with a degree in Interior Design and no desire for children ended up as a happily married missionary in Africa, wife to a Ugandan/Rwandan doctor, and mother to a breathtakingly handsome four year old.  Is this for real?

My mom recently told me she was talking to my cousin and updating her on all my new adventures, and my cousin bluntly replied “who is this lady?”  I just laughed when I heard the story and understood why she was so perplexed.  I’ve thought about it and I believe that the answer to this question about me can only be explained using one simple word: LOVE.

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The Bible says in 1 Corinthians that when you love God, you are fully known by Him.  God knows us more than we know ourselves.  God sees our hearts when we are blind to what’s inside of us.  He makes sense of our lives when we don’t even know we are confused.  I came to Uganda with a heart full of love for God and for people.  I left what was normal and comfortable to me or a new life in a faraway nation.

I surely didn’t come here looking for a husband, but God knew I needed someone to take care of me.  God knew I needed someone to love me as much as I was loving others.  I was happy here on my own (see my blog post “my peace”) but God honored the sacrifice I made for HIM by giving me a gift I didn’t know I needed.  God knew my heart more than I knew it myself.  Now I can thank Him everyday for the man that I fearlessly love.  I never even believed this kind of love existed, but now I know it’s real.  That kind of love – for God and for man- can really make you do things you never planned or imagined.

The Bible says a lot about love, most importantly it says without love we are nothing.  There are a few tried and true scriptures that people always recite at weddings to describe love.  I chose a less well-known verse that was sent to me the morning of my wedding from my dear friends Glenn and Sally, missionaries that serve God tirelessly and love each other wholeheartedly.

from Song of Solomon 8:6-7

Set me as a seal on your heart, a seal on your arm.

For love is as strong as death…

Love’s flames are fiery flames- the fiercest of all.

Mighty waters cannot extinguish love; rivers cannot sweep it away.

People say we look so happy in these wedding photos by the Nile River.  I guess there’s a joy in knowing that as long as we keep Jesus as our foundation, even if our love fell off into that big ancient river, the water would never put out the fire and the current would never carry it away.

I can just imagine God out there in a white water raft catching all of the love that’s fallen overboard into the river and lifting it back onto the banks for those people who thought their love was gone forever.  Love isn’t easy, and marriage isn’t going to be easy either, but I know that with commitment- like a seal on our hearts – the flames might flicker from time to time but with God the fire will never be extinguished.

Maegan is still the lady that people knew from before, but now love has just made her a better version of herself; and given her a new last name!  Hope you get to meet Mr. and Mrs. Gahima very soon!

 

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